Call on Mahathir to keep faith with the non-Malay non-Muslim voters and to give a public pledge that UMNO would not compete with PAS to introduce greater  Islamisation policies detrimental to a democratic secular Malaysia


Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Penang,  Wednesday): The Barisan Nasional election victory keeping its two-thirds parliamentary majority winning 148 out of 193 seats had not boosted market confidence, as reflected by the drop in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Composite Index  at the end of trading yesterday, falling  11.25 points, or 1.5%, to 734.66.

Paradoxically, what the non-Malays and in particular the Chinese voters feared most - Islamic State or greater Islamisation policies - have been brought even nearer as a result of Mondayís general election result, with the DAPís devastating defeat and marginalisation in Parliament and Malaysian  politics.

About a month ago, I had warned that if  the MCA/Gerakan "trump card" on Islamic State succeeds in confusing, misleading and scaring the voters to reject the DAP, resulting in a very weakened DAP in Parliament and the State Assemblies, it might  create a self-fulfilling scenario of bringing Islamic State closer.

As I had expressed my concern at the time, by succumbing to the MCA/Gerakanís Islamic State "trump card", the Chinese voters have created a bi-polar power structure in Malaysia - a much stronger PAS dominating on the opposition with UMNO-controlled Barisan Nasional in Government.

If the Chinese had not succumbed to the MCA/Gerakanís politics of fear and falsehoods in making them believe that a vote for DAP is a vote for PAS and an Islamic State, the opposition benches in Parliament will be filled by not only a stronger PAS, but also a stronger DAP, a stronger Keadilan and with MPs from  PRM - breaking not only the Barisan Nasional political hegemony and two-thirds majority but also laying a new Malaysian politics less dominated by race and religion but by issues of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

Such a historic possibility has been lost. Instead, we have now the new bi-polar political reality, with on the one side an opposition dominated by  PAS, whose ideology is Islamic,  and on the other, a ruling Barisan Nasional dominated by  UMNO, whose ideology is racial.

In such a Parliament where both poles of power are Muslim-based,  UMNO will not be able to desist from increasing Islamisation policies in its competition for influence among Muslims who dominate 75% of the parliamentary constituencies in the country - without any moderating influence from the DAP, KeADILan and PRM as nobody believes that MCA, Gerakan and MIC can depart from their traditional subservience to UMNO to stand up and stop such a trend.

The abysmal failure of the UMNO campaign  spearheaded by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to recapture Kelantan from PAS; the  fall of Terengganu where PAS victory is so overwhelming that  even Umno veteran Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Wan Ahmad, Terengganu's Mentri Besar for the past 25 years, was toppled in his state constituency of Chukai and UMNO lost all the eight parliamentary seats in the state; the strong PAS showing in Kedah where it won more parliamentary seats than UMNO;  the emergence of PAS as the dominant Opposition in Parliament with 27 seats and the near capture by PAS of another ten parliamentary seats losing by tiny majorities, have only sparked off an intense battle between UMNO and PAS for the hearts and minds of the Malays in the Malay heartland.

Non-Malays have reason to be very worried that  by succumbing to the MCA/Gerakan Islamic state "trump card" to marginalise the DAP in Parliament and Malaysian politics, they are in fact bringing closer greater Islamisation policies they had wanted to avoid.

I call on Mahathir to keep faith with the non-Malay non-Muslim voters and to give a public pledge that UMNO  would not compete with PAS to introduce greater Islamisation policies detrimental to a democratic secular Malaysia.

(1/12/99)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP Secretary-General