By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 — Senior PAS lawmaker Nasharudin Mat Isa today defended calling Karpal Singh “anti-Islam”, saying he is ready to meet the DAP chairman in court to resolve their dispute in a case that is seen to test the ties between the two Pakatan Rakyat (PR) allies ahead of crucial elections due soon.
Karpal, a veteran lawyer, had said yesterday that he will sue the former PAS deputy president for defamation over the latter’s “highly irresponsible and mischievous” remarks, stressing that he has “never spoken against Islam” and respects Islam “as the official religion of the country”.
“I maintain my stand that Karpal Singh is anti-Islam and am ready to meet him in court,” Nasharudin (picture) today told The Malaysian Insider in a text message today.
“I was taught in PAS that Islamic teachings cover every aspects of life. In it is faith, laws and morals.
“Rejecting part of Islam means rejecting Islam,” the Bachok MP said, referring to Karpal’s opposition to the implementation of hudud, the Islamic penal code.
Karpal has repeatedly said that the Islamic penal law cannot be enforced in the country as “hudud can only be applied in an Islamic state” while Malaysia remained a secular country.
The DAP veteran said he hoped Nasharudin would “understand the difference between Islam (as a religion) and Islamic state”.
“Our constitution provides for a secular state, and in Malaysia it is secular law which applies. You must have an Islamic state before we can have hudud law,” Karpal had said.
“I’m not saying PAS is wrong, but we cannot apply hudud because ours is a secular state. Our law doesn’t allow it,” he added.
Umno and its Utusan Malaysia newspaper have in the past week accused the DAP of being “kafir harbi”, or belligerent infidels, declaring it “haram” or forbidden for Muslims to support the secular PR party.
Karpal is seen as a lightning rod for Umno attacks because of his strong opposition to hudud.
Last Thursday, Nasharudin said that “Karpal Singh is not only against hudud but also against Islam”, adding that as a lawyer, Karpal should know that the implementation of the Islamic penal code required high standards of proof.
“For some offences, proof beyond any shadow of doubt is required. But he (Karpal) rejects all this just because it is an Islamic law,” Nasharudin said.
Kelantan PAS today reportedly withdrew its support for Nasharudin to contest in the upcoming general election.
The discontent in PAS against Nasharudin grew this week following his remarks calling for the party to leave the PR opposition pact if the DAP continues to oppose hudud. The news was broadcast on TV3’s prime time news slot Buletin Utama earlier this week. His comment is seen to run counter to the party’s official stand made by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and carried by Harakah this week.
Hadi had written an article to explain how the Islamist party could co-operate with the secular DAP despite their different political ideologies as they shared a common aim.
The DAP may be opposed to hudud but Umno has rejected the Islamic penal code, Hadi said, as he defended his PR ally that had come under relentless attacks from rival leaders and religious hawks in the run-up to crucial national polls.
“In reality, this term ‘hudud’ has returned and been made an electoral issue by Umno to create conflict among the people, without feeling responsibility towards Islam’s pure guidance,” the PAS president said in the article.
He noted that the DAP has been portrayed as a party opposed to hudud by the mainstream media controlled by the BN government, when it was Umno — the ruling coalition’s mainstay — that has rejected the enforcement of the Islamic penal code.
In his article titled “Hudud: DAP Menentang, Umno Menolaknya (Hudud: DAP Opposes, Umno Rejects)”, Hadi said that there were no issues with PAS working with the secular party even though the DAP has repeatedly stated that it will not brook the creation of an Islamic state or support the enforcement of the religious criminal code that prescribes, among others, the amputation of hands for theft.