Hadi has agreed that the proposed kharaj would not be imposed on non-Muslims against their wishes

Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala Terengganu,  Wednesday): DAP leaders had a good and productive two-hour meeting with the Terengganu Mentri Besar, Haji Hadi Ahmad Awang and senior State Exco members.

Members of the DAP delegation include DAP National Vice Chairmen, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, MP, and Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General Kerk Kim Hock, MP, National Organizing Secretary, Tan Kok Wai, MP, National Treasurer, Fung Kui Lun, MP, National Publicity Secretary, Ronnie Liu and International/NGO Affairs Secretary Teresa Kok, MP.  Senior Terengganu Exco members present at the meeting include Mustapha Ali, Harun Taib,  Wan Abdul Muttalib Embong and Abu Bakar Chik.

In our meeting, we discussed the national political scenario as well as the state political development, and the following are some of the  outcome of our discussion on  several state and local issues:

Kharaj tax:  Hadi agreed that the kharaj tax would not be imposed on non-Muslims against their wishes.  The proposed kharaj tax is still at the proposal stage under the responsibility of Harun Taib.  In the state government study, there would be the fullest consultation with the non-Muslim communities as well as with the Barisan Alternative Leaders' Consultative Council, and non-Muslims would be given the choice to decide whether to opt for the kharaj proposal - just as non-Muslim civil servants would be given the choice as to whether they want to avail themselves of the interest-free government loans introduced by the PAS government.

Respect for non-Muslim rights and sensitivities  Hadi gave an assurance that the Terengganu state government would fully respect the rights and sensitivities of non-Muslims and that the same principle of having the fullest public consultation and not imposing against the wishes of non-Muslims  would apply not only to kharaj but to all other proposals which could be perceived as affecting the rights and sensitivities of other races and religions.

New temples and churches  The applications by the Kuala Terengganu Buddhist Association, Kuala Terengganu Catholic Church and the Terengganu Prebysterian Church for renovation or new building/church would be given positive consideration by Hadi.  The applications were submitted to the previous UMNO state government but no approval had been given. Hadi said that the applications had not come to him yet but he would give them positive consideration when they come before him. I would suggest that the three religious organisations should immediately pursue the matter with the new PAS state government and the DAP is prepared to help if they should face any difficulties.

Chinese State Assemblyman  Hadi said the state government is considering the proposal of an amendment to the State Constitution to appoint nominated Chinese State Assemblyman, and the matter is being studied by Tun Salleh Abas.

Chinese Municipal and District Councillors  The State Government will reserve seats for Chinese in the Municipal and District Councillors. Two seats have been reserved for Chinese in the Kuala Terengganu Municipal Council.

Ban on rearing and slaughter of pigs lifted Hadi announced that the state government is lifting the ban on the rearing and slaughter of pigs imposed by the previous UMNO state government for the past ten years.

Fair allocation of development projects, low-cost housing, hawker license/stalls   In response to the DAP, Hadi gave an assurance that the PAS state government would observe the principle of justice and  be fair in the allocation of development projects, low-cost housing and hawker license/stalls, based on  need and that there would be no discrimination whether because of race or cronyism as practiced by the previous UMNO state government.

Support for Chinese primary schools   Hadi promised that the PAS state government would consider the DAP proposal that it be the first state government in the country to support Chinese primary schools with a fixed and regular grant.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman