by Erna Mahyuni
NOVEMBER 23 — 2016 has become the year for opening Pandora's Box, it seems. From Brexit to Trump, people are disrupting the status quo seeking change for the sake of it... even if it is to their own detriment.
It is quaint to believe that humanity can make decisions based on the greater good. In reality, however, we are motivated by our basest urges with fear winning the battle over rational thought.
Another person who seems hell-bent on building his own private kingdom of heaven on Earth is Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang with his tabling of his purported amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
I find it alarming, this sick obsession with barbaric punishments as apparently God-prescribed. Too many Malaysians think that God wants his people to chop off limbs, stone and whip criminals to both prevent crime and earn God's blessing.
Theology is not worth debating here; my perspective is simply from a stance of common sense and simple mercy. Punitive measures do not work to stop crime; Saudi Arabia for all its supposed adherence to God's law has not stopped crime. It has just ensured the weakest and most vulnerable suffer even more.
Rape victims are not given justice in Saudi; instead they are persecuted and their aggressors often let off without so much as a slap on the wrist. Women are treated as nothing more than property ― with no right to independence and freedom of movement.
I do not wish to comment on the debate of supposed Arabisation in the country, but what is clear is that people like Hadi are making themselves out to be the envoys of God.
For non-Muslims to say that any change to the Shariah code will not affect them is an act of self-delusion.
It is no secret that Hadi's dearest wish is for Shariah law to apply not just to Muslims but to non-Muslims as well. He sees it as the perfect alternative to the civil laws of our land, thinking them more just and of course, blessed.
For all his pontificating, it is rather easy to disprove his notion that Shariah for all would usher in a safer, more moral society. All you need to do is look over at Saudi, Iran and now, Acheh to see that none of it is true. Instead, purportedly Islamic countries are not at all prosperous or crime-free.
Look at Saudi and its flailing economy, now that oil is no longer black gold. The heady days of high petroleum prices are over and they are never coming back. What has punitive laws that include disfigurement and inhumane treatment brought Saudi? Nothing good, nothing good at all.
I am no enemy of religion; but I will oppose torture disguised as justice and sick fascination with pain masked as piety.
Whatever flaws the current legal system has, at least at its core it tries to protect the innocent but Hadi's vision will see even the innocent living in fear.