ALOR SETAR: The Federal Government has never rejected the implementation of hudud, the Prime Minister said.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, however, there were "loopholes and shortcomings" that must be addressed before such a law can be implemented in Malaysia.
"There is a vast difference between rejecting the law and not implementing it," he said at the closing of a religious programme at Dewan Seri Mentaloon here yesterday.
He said many restraints and issues must be scrutinised and tackled first before hudud could be implemented without affecting its objectives.
"That's why we need ulama among the mujtahid (Islamic scholars competent in interpreting syariah by ijtihad or independent reasoning) to scrutinise and to exercise ijtihad so that justice can be served."
While the Government lauded calls by any quarter to implement hudud in Malaysia, Najib said it must also take into consideration other aspects in practising the true teachings of Islam.
He said both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities must be ready for its implementation.
"We have to ensure that the Muslim community is mentally ready and fully understands the law.
"The same goes for the non-Muslim community.
"They must be given the opportunity to understand the Islamic law clearly and comprehensively so there will be no misunderstandings about the teachings of Islam.
"The Government is also committed to implementing the principles of Maqasid Syariah in the national administration system (to meet the foundations of the faith, life, lineage, intellect and property).
"As a Samawi (Abrahamic) religion, syariat (law) and aqidah (faith) are the main thrusts of Islam.
"The syariat is Allah's guide to mankind in facing social and political challenges, as well as in discharging our duties as Allah's humble khalifah (stewards) on earth. This includes the controversial hudud law," he added.
In an immediate response in Kuala Lumpur, MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the party's stand was to uphold the Federal Constitution for a progressive multi-ethnic and religious Malaysian society,
He reiterated that this was the vision of the nation's forefathers for harmony.
"We will not do anything or support any move that is against the constitution and detrimental to our country."
Liow said it was important to preserve Malaysia's harmonious multi-ethnic and multi-religious society and the way the country has been governed since independence.
Earlier yesterday, Gerakan Youth gave PAS notice that it would consider taking legal action against the opposition party if it tabled a Private Member's Bill on hudud in Parliament.
"This is not about religion. This is about upholding the principles of the Federal Constitution," Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang told reporters after submitting the notice to PAS Youth assistant secretary Yusapiza Yaacob at the PAS headquarters.
Tan said they were deciding whether to apply for an order prohibiting the tabling of the proposed Bill or trying to challenge the Bill, should it be tabled and passed in Parliament.
He said the implementation of hudud would result in two sets of criminal laws and could lead to a constitutional crisis.
PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang plans to table the Private Member's Bill, possibly in June when the Dewan Rakyat reconvenes.