This will be the second in the DAP series of inter-political, inter-religious and inter-civilisational dialogues to promote greater understanding and to bring together different communities subscribing to different spiritual faiths, religious ways of life and political ideologies to work for the common good of the country and people.
The first was held in Kuala Lumpur on January 22, 2000 with the topic "PAS Terengganu Government - Towards A Just Malaysia", which featured Terengganu PAS Mentri Besar, Haji Hadi Ahmad Awang and four senior state executive councillors, Mustapha Ali (Economic Development, Petroleum and Industry), Harun Taib (Education, Dakwah and Syariah Implementation), Wan Abdul Muttalib Embong (Local Government and Housing) and former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas (Special Tasks & Hisbah).
The January inter-religious and inter-civilisational dialogue was very well attended and received, although participants felt that there were not enough time for a fuller dialogue with the speakers.
For this reason, the second inter-religious and inter-civilisational dialogue would use a new format, with Nik Aziz giving a keynote address and the Kelantan Mentri Besar would then be joined by three senior leaders of the PAS Kelantan State Government in a panel for a question-and-answer session with the participants.
The three senior PAS Kelantan State Government leaders who have agreed
to join in the panel as discussants are Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar, Haji
Abdul Halim bin Abdul Rahman, the Kelantan State Assembly Speaker, Hj.
Wan Abdul Rahim bin Wan Abdullah and State Exco member (Social Development,
Community Relations, Health and Environment), Hj. Anuar Tan bin Abdullah.
Over the decades, the DAP had been smeared as a "chauvinist" Chinese party which is anti-Malay and anti-Islam, while PAS was labelled as an extremist Islamic party out to deprive non-Muslims and non-Malays of their fundamental rights.
In the last general election of Nov. 29, 1999, the Chinese voters swung against the DAP and the Barisan Alternative because they fell prey to MCA and Gerakan propaganda that a vote for DAP is a vote for PAS and an Islamic state, where there would be no pork, no alcohol, no temples, no Chinese schools, beautiful women would not be able to find jobs and that there would be the chopping of hands and feet.
Malaysians who have visited Kelantan would know that these are falsehoods and lies, as pork is displayed and sold openly in Kota Bahru, the biggest sleeping Buddha is to be found in Tumpat, Kelantan and there is a Chinese Independent Secondary School in the state.
In the next five years, the debunking of lies, falsehoods and baseless fears about DAP and PAS must be regarded as the first nation-building challenge in the new millennium to break the shackles of the past to build a new Malaysia based on justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
The expected landslide victory of the Islamic reformers in the Iranian parliamentary election should be of great interest and bearing on the second inter-religious and inter-civilisational dialogue "Islam and A Just Malaysia" in Kuala Lumpur on 3rd March 2000.
Iranians yearning for more social and political freedoms are having a commanding lead in the election for the 290 parliamentary seats in Iran, and the election result is expected to be a continuation of the reformist wave sweeping Iran since the May 1997 election of President Mohammad Khatami, who want to change Iranís image as a fundamentalist nation.