By Siti Nur Sarah Mohd Khir
25 October 2013
Crime, particularly violent crimes are indiscriminate – they have no consideration or special allowances for any man, woman or child, race or religion, so much so that any of us can be a victim of a crime at any time.
Not even Mike (not his real name), the burly owner of a company that provides security services for entertainment outlets, is spared.
One day while walking to his car from a restaurant, a snatch thief appeared from nowhere, and from his blind side, reached and snagged the heavy gold chain from his neck with such violent force that he fell.
Winded and angry, Mike gets up on his feet, gave chase but loses the snatch thief when he jumped on a motorcycle and got away with an accomplice.
“It’s as if they were trained to do this,” said Mike, a Sikh in his late 30s.
According to police statistics released by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), cases of violent crime increased from 14,811 to 15,098 over January to June last in 2012 alone.
Of this figure, robbery (including gang robbery) with firearms also increased, from 69 cases to 74.
Murders rose from 291 cases in the first six months of 2012 to 322 cases in 2013.
As far as Mike is concerned, it is time for Malaysians to consider a new kind of crime deterrent. An Islamic deterrent.
Mike is talking about introducing Hudud – a punitive set of legal rules to deter crime that is part of the Islamic Shariah.
Although Mike admits that he has only a basic knowledge of Hudud but he believes it is the only solution to combat the rampant outbreak of crime, having been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years.
“There’s just too much crime nowadays, especially in my line of work, I have seen quite a lot.
“I seriously feel that the current criminal law isn’t doing much to deter these criminals from doing crime. We need tougher, more punitive laws like Hudud.
“Believe or not, I am a big guy and yet I too can be a victim of snatch theft. What’s worse is that the incident happened while I was with six of my friends.
“They just couldn’t react because it happened so fast,” said Mike, recalling the incident.
According to Mike, he feels the punitive nature of the legal rules in Hudud will stop people from even thinking of committing crime, which will greatly reduce the number of criminal activity in the country.
“If anyone dares to steal, just cut off their hands – only then members of society will truly feel safe.
But what about the non-Muslims?
Will they accept Hudud just like Mike?
He said that educating the non-Muslims about Hudud should be the first agenda if the law is to be implemented.
“Through disseminating correct information, educating people on of the merits of Hudud, on how it can greatly deter would-be criminals from committing crime, it can work in this country.”
Mike, who has two teenage daughters, also said that apart from Hudud, it is also important for parents to control and monitor the movement of their children.
He added that the parents themselves must have the necessary knowledge and understanding to nurture and instil the right attitude and moral values in their children.
“I’ve seen fathers and parental guardians that accompany their underage kids to clubs. What kind of parenting is that?” he questions.
“Enforcement must come from both the authorities and the parents. The parents must be aware of the whereabouts of their children, especially after 10pm,” said Mike, when interviewed by Malaysian Digest.
Is Hudud relevant in Malaysia?
Hudud (means “limit” or “restriction”) laws are a set of laws under the purview of the Islamic Shariah law.
In Islamic law or Shariah, Hudud usually refers to the class of punishments that are fixed for certain crimes that are considered to be "claims of God."
They include theft, fornication and adultery (Zina), consumption of alcohol or other intoxicants, and apostasy.
Shariah refers to Sharia law in Islamic religious law and deals with exclusively Islamic laws, having jurisdiction upon every Muslim in Malaysia.
The dual-system of law in Malaysia is provided for in Article 121(1A) of the Constitution of Malaysia.
When the Islamic party of Malaysia (PAS) fielded the idea of implementing Hudud, most Malaysians rejected it saying that it was only to gain political mileage and also that the current government already has elements of punitive laws within the Federal Constitution’s existing Shariah system.
Malaysia’s influential Islamic scholar, Dr Asri Zainal Abidin said Hudud is only a mechanism to combat certain crimes.
“The impression that the Islamic state is always on the hunt for criminals to punish is a wrongly held perception by those who lacks understanding of Islam, said Asri in his Minda Tajhid blog.
Asri said there many crimes that are not covered under the Hudud laws.
“The first part of sins that are under the purview of Hudud are ‘private’ sins, that is, transgressions that are damaging to the life of the perpetrator alone, such as adultery and alcohol consumption.
The other is sins that are damaging to society at large, like robbery, rape, theft, treason and others, Asri explains.
Recently however, there is a neighbouring Malay majority country that introduced Hudud as part of its laws.
In October, the Sultan of Brunei introduced tough Sharia-law punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, hailing what he called a "historic" step toward Islamic orthodoxy for his country.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah -- one of the world's wealthiest men -- said a new Sharia Penal Code in the works for years was officially introduced on Tuesday in the tiny, oil-flush sultanate and would be phased in beginning in six months.
Based on individual cases, punishments could include stoning to death for adultery, severing of limbs for theft, and flogging for violations ranging from abortion to alcohol consumption, according to a copy of the code.
The code however applies only to Muslims.
"By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled," the Sultan, 67, said in a speech announcing the new law.