In his statement yesterday, Chan "urged the Chinese community not to be taken in by the DAPís action to protray PAS as an acceptable political party in a plural society" and said that "the DAP was doing an injustice to the community as PAS was an extremist and conservative party bent on setting up an Islamic state".
I sympathise with the plight Chan had been placed in the MCA but this can be no excuse for his distorting my speeches and statements to strengthen his party position.
The DAPís position had always been clear and consistent and I had reiterated
this at the Malacca PAS forum on Sunday, where I said:
"This will depend on whether Barisan Alternative can succeed in laying to rest the two spectres which the Barisan Nasional had tried to frighten Malaysian voters in the recent general elections, that on the one hand, that DAP is anti-Malay and anti-Islam which wants to see the destruction of Islam while on the other hand, that PAS is extremist and fanatical and wants to end the religious, cultural and political rights and freedoms of the non-Muslims in Malaysia.
"If the Barisan Alternative can lay these spectres to rest and project in particular that the Political Islam represented by PAS is an Islam of tolerance and justice which is fully compatible with tolerance, democracy, open and accountable government and cultural pluralism, then its future is a bright and optimistic one.
"But time is not on its side and the Barisan Alternative must learn, and learn fast, the lessons of the last general election.
"The Barisan Alternative will have to debunk, in the shortest possible time, the baseless fears of the non-Malays that DAPís co-operation with PAS would lead to the denial of their cultural and religious rights and freedoms.
"It will also have to allay their legitimate concerns and objections to an Islamic state, not because they are anti-Islam but because they will not be able to exercise their full citizenship rights in such a system of governance and their belief that a theocratic state, whether Islamic, Buddhist, Christian or Hindu would be inappropriate for a plural society like MalaysiaÖ
"Even if by the next general election, and this is a big IF, the Barisan Alternative succeeds in debunking the baseless fears of all the non-Malays about the erosion of their cultural and religious rights as no eating of pork, no temples, no churches, no Chinese schools, pretty women cannot find work, the Barisan Alternative cannot be assured that it would be on safe and secure ground to win non-Malay electoral support.
"By the next election, the Barisan Alternative and in particular the DAP must be able to counter a new set of political attacks by the Barisan Nasional, in particular its non-Malay component parties, painting PAS as representing a political Islam which is obscurantist, extremist, fanatical, oppressive against women and minorities, incompatible with democracy, human rights, political tolerance and cultural pluralism"
The DAP will never be like the MCA in Barisan Nasional, fully supporting UMNOís nation-building objective of assimilation, leaving the DAP to defend the principle of integration in a multi-racial Malaysia with many DAP leaders paying a heavy price for their convictions either through detention without trial under the Internal Security Act or other forms of political persecution.
The DAP stand that Malaysia shall remain forever a secular democratic Malaysia is a fundamental founding principle of the party which cannot and will not be compromised in the way that MCA was prepared to compromise the principle of national integration until rescued by the DAP..
Although the DAP and PAS are in the Barisan Alternative and are bound by our common election manifesto "Towards A Just Malaysia", this does not mean that both parties see eye to eye on all issues which are not covered by the manifesto.
A good case is the proposal by the Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat to have separate restaurants for Muslims and non-Muslims, which will not be conducive to the nation-building process for plural Malaysia.
DAP will raise these differences with PAS in the Barisan Alternative to try to reach greater understanding going beyond the common election manifesto "Towards a Just Malaysia" so that the Barisan Alternative could be supported by even more Malaysians.