The President of the Malaysian Association of Muslim Scholars, Datuk Abdul Halim Abd Kadir, is an unusually reckless man. After the Federal Court’s decision on Indira Gandhi’s case, he told the police that religious sectarian violence may erupt if they did not stop pursuing Indira’s fugitive ex-husband, who abducted their youngest daughter nine years ago.
In other words, he had the gall to warn the police not to follow the court’s decision, or violence would ensue. Here is someone who neither respects, nor is willing to abide by, the decision of our highest court. In fact, he is willing to let his followers commit violence if the police disregard his warning. This is not conduct becoming of any Muslim, let alone those who call themselves “scholars”.
I am encouraged by the statement from the Prime Minister that not everyone will be satisfied with a decision on this matter, implying that he is happy with the outcome of the case that has rocked this country for so many years. Finally, our judges have offered us a solution which all peace-loving Malaysians should respect. It will also allow the Prime Minister to reintroduce Section 88A to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, which was abandoned during the last Parliament sitting.
Now it’s time for his Deputy, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Home Minister and in charge of the police, to assert his authority and support the judiciary by making sure the court’s decision is adhered to. A lawless country is the last thing we need during this challenging time. Zahid is known for his close relationship with the “Islamic elements” and NGOs in the country, and he must prevail over them to accept the court’s decision.
Those Muslim scholars can find all sorts of reasons and excuses to disagree with the decision, but to openly defy the court order is unacceptable. Zahid must say so and say it now. The police must not be allowed to be threatened by any groups, including religious groups. Law and order are at stake here so this issue must be dealt with promptly. Anyway, a Number Two aspiring to be Number One must be willing to show a firm hand in a time of crisis, so this is a good opportunity for him to show his mettle.