The DAP has never closed the door for dialogue with any other political party, group or person on issues of concern and importance to the future of the nation and people.
What I said in my written statement yesterday was that in the past 21 months, the DAP had taken the initiative to organise two inter-political, inter-religious and inter-civilisational public dialogues featuring the PAS spiritual leader and Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat to break the shackles of the past of inter-racial, inter-religious and inter-cultural suspicion and distrust, but that the DAP had stopped organising these dialogues as we found that Nik Aziz had not addressed the issues as to whether the political Islam represented by PAS is compatible with democracy, pluralism, human rights, cultural diversity, women’s rights, social tolerance, development and modernity.
PAS Deputy President and Terengganu Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said in Kuala Terengganu yesterday that Pas accepted the reality that the country had to be governed based on the concept of multi-racial society within a democratic framework.
He said that in history, Islamic governments had ruled when the Muslim community was in the minority, and when the Islamic government first governed Egypt the Muslims represented only five per cent of the population until the people eventually accepted the rule. For this reason, not only DAP, but UMNO, MCA and MIC need not worry.
PAS leaders should realise that these statements and explanations can only heighten rather than lessen concerns about PAS’ Islamic State concept, firstly because PAS is asking for a “blank cheque” from the diverse communities to trust in its Islamic State concept, and secondly, in using historic examples which are neither apt nor acceptable, especially as the historical examples of Islamic rule were the result of conquest which are completely different from the modern political developments of nation-building and democracy.
The inappropriate and unacceptable nature of the historical example is highlighted by the simple question as to whether, setting political reality aside, PAS’ Islamic State concept will uphold the principle that every Malaysian, regardless of race or religion, will be able to hold the highest offices of government, including the Prime Minister or whether its represents a position which is a step backward from the existing provision in the Malaysian Constitution.
The pertinent issue, therefore, is whether, in the final analysis, the PAS’ Islamic State concept postulates a system of governance of Muslims over non-Muslims rather than of Malaysians over Malaysians which is a fundamental Constitutional guarantee entrenched in Article 8 on equality of all persons before the law and forbidding discrimination against citizens on ground of religion or any other consideration - thus requiring repeal of Article 8 for the establishment of PAS’ Islamic State.