Liow pointed out that it is an “unfair situation” for Umno, as the Malay party cannot openly voice its reservations against implementing the orthodox religious law.
“All of us understand the background of this issue... hudud is under the Quran and they cannot oppose to it... but the implementation will cause a lot of problem,” Liow told reporters.
“Who raised this bill? It was PAS. Therefore, they are the ones who should understand the sensitivity of the people of this country.
“It is a trap laid out by PAS, I would say,” he added.
MCA has mounted a signature campaign to stop PAS from tabling two private member's bills to push for the Islamic criminal justice system to be implemented in Kelantan.
Following Kelantan's announcement on the matter, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had never rejected hudud and that Malaysia is not a secular state.
“The root of the problem is PAS, because this is not a government bill,” said Liow, adding that MCA would put its foot down if it was the BN government that was pushing to implement hudud.
“Umno understands this and that is why it is not coming from them,” he said.
In 1993, the PAS state government passed the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II, allowing it to impose the strict Islamic penal code in the state. But implementation stonewalled.
PAS is now looking for parliamentary approval to implement hudud. It plans to put forward two private members’ bills in parliament.
One seeks approval for unconventional punishments, some of which are for offences already covered in the Penal code. The other seeks to empower Shariah courts to mete out the unconventional punishments.
According to the Shariah Courts (Criminal) Jurisdiction Act 1965, the Islamic court cannot sentence offenders to more than three years in jail or fine them more than RM 5,000. It also cannot sentence offenders to be whipped more than six times.
In Islamic jurisprudence, hudud covers crimes such as theft, robbery, adultery, rape and sodomy.
Punishments for the crimes are severe, including amputation, flogging and death by stoning.