DAP will like to know when the MCCBCHS took the decision to pledge its support for the Barisan Nasional, whether it was an unanimous decision, who were the representatives of the various religions who were represented at the meeting which took the fateful decision and why such a decision was taken without consultation with the Barisan Alternative parties or at least with the DAP when we had worked closely in the past to defend and uphold the constitutional freedom of religion in Malaysia.
In his statement announcing MCCBCHS support for Barisan Nasional, MCCBCHS
general secretary R. Thiagaraja said:
"It should not attempt to impose a one-religion law on the other races. This is a dangerous attempt which will break the unity of our people."
Has the MCCBCHS such short memory as to have forgotten that the DAP was the only political party in the seventies and eighties which flew the standard of a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia, opposing not only a one-religion, but a one-language and one-culture Malaysia?
Let me remind Thiagaraja that one reason for my second detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) during the Operation Lalang mass arrests in October 1987 and 19-month incarceration was because of the DAPís firm and uncompromising stand against a one-religion Malaysia.
When I was detained for the second time under the ISA during Operation Lalang 1987, I was served with ten "allegations of fact" to justify my detention for posing a threat to national security.
Three of these so-called "facts of allegation" relate to my opposition to a "one-language, one-culture, one-religion" Malaysia and my defence of the freedom of religion of non-Muslim Malaysians - in particular my taking up of the case of an underaged Chinese girl in Kelantan who was forced to embrace the Islamic faith without parental consent or knowledge.
I find it most galling that after sacrificing my personal liberty in the defence of freedom of religion, I should now be accused by the MCCBCHS of threatening freedom of religion and supporting a one-religion law and Malaysia.
DAP will want in particular to discuss with the MCCBCHS the proposal by its President, A. Vaithilingam as reported in the local press today that DAP "break out" of the Barisan Alternative and dissociate from PAS. We would like to know firstly, whether this is the official stand of the MCCBCHS and secondly, the reasons for the MCCBCHS to arrive at such a political recommendation.
We would also want to know whether the private memberís bill of PAS Deputy President Hadi Awang on "Control and Restriction of Propagation of Non-Muslim Religions (Federal Territories) 1999" in the last Parliamentary meeting was an important factor in the MCCBCHS stand to pledge support for the Barisan Nasional.
If so, we would want to ask the MCCBCHS why it again has such short memory as to forget that in 1988, DAP was the only party whose State Assemblymen opposed and voted against the passage of "The Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Muslim Religions Enactment" in the various UMNO-controlled states such as Perak, Selangor, Johore, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Kedah - which were fully by the MCA and Gerakan State Assemblymen throughout the country!
At that time, did MCCBCHS make a public call on MCA and Gerakan to "break away" from Barisan Nasional, or at least to call on the people to vote against Barisan Nasional - in the same way that the MCCBCHS is urging Malaysians to vote the Barisan Nasional on Nov. 29?
It would appear that the personal sacrifices of DAP leaders, who went to jail and suffer political persecution as well as the DAPís consistent and principled stand to oppose "The Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Muslim Religions Enactment" in the various states now count for nothing to MCCBCHS, which does not mind if the DAP is decimated as a result of its unfair public position.
DAP will like to find out from MCCBCHS why it has been convinced by the fraudulent propaganda line of MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik that a vote for DAP is a vote for PAS and Islamic State when it should be particularly vigilant in an election which is already the "dirtiest" in the nationís history on the first two days of the election campaign.
The MCCBCHS stand could result in the following outcome in the tenth general election on Monday: Barisan Nasional swept back to power with a landslide victory in full command of more than two-thirds parliamentary majority, PAS the leading opposition party in Parliament with 20 - 25 MPs while the DAP wiped out from Parliament for the first time in three decades, or at most having one or two MPs.
In our dialogue, DAP wants to find out from the MCCBCHS whether it thinks such a outcome on Mondayís polls is the best safeguard for freedom of religion in Malaysia!
The MCCBCHS should immediately rescind its pledge to support Barisan Nasional in the general election before irreparable damage is done to itself as well as to freedom of religion in Malaysia.
Let me encapsulate for the MCCBCHS the DAPís stand on the Islamic
state as follows:
"We are realistic enough to know that we cannot ask PAS to abandon its founding party principle of an Islamic state, just as PAS must be realistic enough to know that it cannot ask the DAP to abandon our founding party principle that Malaysia shall forever be a secular democratic society.
"While PAS leaders remain committed ideologically to an Islamic state, PAS leaders will also have to realise that in a plural society like Malaysia, with the diversity of races, religions, languages and cultures, an Islamic state is not a practical proposition."
DAP will like to know from the MCCBCHS where the DAP has gone wrong with regard to our above position on the Islamic State.
It is very peculiar that two days ago, Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik made the forecast that the DAP would pull out of the Barisan Alternative in the last minute of the election campaign.
This line was immediately echoed by the Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon yesterday, who denounced such a last-minute DAP pull-out from the Barisan Alternative as most "unprincipled".
What political game are Keng Yaik and Tsu Koon playing? I hope Keng Yaik and Tsu Koonís "political game" has nothing to do with the statement by Vaithilingam yesterday.
It is clear that there would be an intense attack on the DAP for co-operating with PAS in the Barisan Alternative, and to demand that the DAP "break out" of the front - and yet what frightens Keng Yaik and Tsu Koon most would be any last-minute DAP pull-out from the Barisan Alternative.
The question of DAPís pull-out from the Barisan Alternative does not arise. DAP is co-operating with PAS, KeADILan and PRM to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and not to create an Islamic state or introduce hudud laws.