(Petaling Jaya, Monday): In Bruas yesterday, the Gerakan President and Minister for Primary Industries, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, called on DAP members to unite and dissuade me from co-operating with PAS to forge Opposition co-operation so that PAS cannot succeed in its objective to establish an Islamic state.
Keng Yaik said that I should not insist in changing a democratic secular Malaysia into a closed, autocratic Islamic state as this is most dangerous with unforeseen consequences.
Keng Yaik is being downright irresponsible and mischievious, especially as he knows that the DAP’s position on Islamic State had always been clear, unambiguous and consistent.
I do not know whether Keng Yaik has himself lost confidence in the future of Barisan Nasional or whether he is just indulging in another one of his outrageous mindless outbursts, this time about the DAP supporting PAS to establish an Islamic state. What is significant is that Keng Yaik’s latest outburst was given prominence in the local media, whether in the print or on-line edition.
Keng Yaik should clarify whether his latest outburst is because he has lost confidence in the ability of the Barisan Nasional to be returned to power in the next general election, arising from two scenarios:
Firstly, that Barisan Nasional could lose power in the next general election and that the combined Opposition could win a simple majority to topple the Barisan Nasional from power, i.e. the Opposition collectively winning at least 97 out of the 193 parliamentary seats as to deny the BN a simple majority.
Secondly, that PAS on its might win two-thirds of 193 Parliamentary seats - i.e. at least 129 seats - in the next general election, so that it could singly amend the Malaysian Constitution to establish an Islamic State. This is because even if PAS wins 97 seats on its own to secure a simple majority, it would not have the two-thirds majority to amend the constitution to establish an Islamic state. The question of PAS winning one-third, let alone two-thirds, majority of the Parliamentary seats in the next election cannot arise when PAS will not be fielding as many as 97 Parliamentary candidates in the next election.
If Keng Yaik claims that he has not lost confidence in the ability of Barisan Nasional to be returned to power in the next election, then his outburst in Bruas yesterday, alleging that the DAP is helping PAS to establish an Islamic state, is another wild and irresponsible outburst which has characterised Keng Yaik’s special brand of politics.
Gerakan was one of the parties which joined hands with PAS to form the Barisan Nasional in 1974. If working and co-operating with PAS means supporting the Islamic state concept of PAS, then Gerakan had supported PAS’ Islamic State concept as far back as 25 years ago!
DAP disagrees with PAS on the question of its objective of an Islamic State, but we believe that as Malaysian political parties, we can work together to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and break the mould of Barisan Nasional political hegemony in the past four decades which had so blatantly subverted the important national institutions in the country, whether it be the supremacy of Parliament, the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law, an impartial Attorney-General, a neutral civil service, a free press and a vibrant civil society.
Keng Yaik and other Barisan Nasional leaders have started their campaign to frighten and stampede Malaysian voters into believing that the next election is to decide whether Malaysia is to become an Islamic state, even giving the impression that PAS could on its own win a simple majority to form a government or even to command two-thirds Parliamentary majority to amend the Malaysian Constitution.
In actual fact, what Keng Yaik is trying to do is to exploit the people’s fear of an Islamic State to deflect public focus on the real issue in the next election, to take the first important step to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance for all Malaysians.
The concerns of Malaysians who disagree with the establishment of an Islamic State are genuine and legitimate - and this is why DAP has made our disagreement with PAS on the Islamic state issue clear and unmistakable - but it is not in the interest of Malaysians or nation-building to allow Keng Yaik and his kind to exploit the people’s valid and legitimate concerns about the Islamic State issue to frustrate popular demands for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.