KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 — Deputy Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin attempted today to drive a wedge between Pakatan Rakyat parties by criticising Pas vice-president Datuk Husam Musa’s apparent U-turn on hudud.
Raising the temperature on the hudud debate, he said Husam was bowing to the intimidation of the DAP when he admitted it would be difficult for Pas to implement strict Islamic law without the agreement of its partners in the PR alliance.
In a public debate last Saturday, Husam had said in response to a question from Khairy that Pas would implement hudud, the strict Islamic code which prescribes amputation, stoning and whipping as punishment for criminal offences, if the party won federal power.
Husam’s comments came under fire from Pas’s partners PKR and DAP. Lim Kit Siang, the veteran DAP leader, pointed out that hudud was not part of PR’s policy.
The barrage of criticisms from PKR and DAP caused Husam to apparently backtrack in saying the implementation of hudud would be postponed until all parties agreed to it.
Writing in his rembau.net blog today, Khairy said Husam, whom he described as “appearing to be brave and in high spirits” during the campaign, was now “listlessly bowing down to the intimidation of DAP”.
“It has not even been two days since Datuk Husam loudly guaranteed his supporters that hudud will be implemented if Pakatan Rakyat took federal power.
“And now he has surrendered.”
Husam’s comments appear to have given Barisan Nasional parties an opening to exploit just weeks before the crucial Kuala Terengganu by-election, which the ruling coalition hopes to win to hold off the tide and momentum of a resurgent opposition.
Speaking to The Malaysian Insider earlier, Khairy denied he had backed the implementation of hudud during his debate with Husam.
Khairy, who has in recent weeks been campaigning on a more inclusive agenda in the race for the top job in his party’s Youth wing, was quoted by The Star as saying he supported the implementation of hudud, in what would have certainly damaged his reputation among more moderate Muslims and non-Muslims.
The Star later retracted the report.