If Mahathir's declaration is only for the ears of the Malays, then why was the proclamation made at the Gerakan national assembly on Sept. 29, 2001, and given full endorsement by the emergency meeting of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council the following week - with MCA and Gerakan leaders competing with each other to assure the Malaysian Chinese and non-Muslims that they need not fear any adverse consequences from such a declaration?
It would appear that Abdullah's statement that Mahathir's declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state is only for the ears of the Malays is not known or understood even by the other Barisan Nasional component party leaders like the MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik - or they would not be making a host of silly statements about it.
Abdullah's statement that the declaration would not involve any amendment of the Federal Constitution, laws, and policies, and the Chinese should not be worried about the Islamic state as advocated by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) is simply not satisfactory or assuring at all - especially as the declaration has emboldened elements in UMNO to publicly declare in government documents and on government websites that the final objective of the Malaysian nation-building policy is to establish an Islamic state, even if it must involve amendments to the Constitution, laws and policies.
Abdullah and UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders should realise that it is just not the Chinese or Indians or non-Malays, but also the majority of the moderate Muslims in Malaysia, who are very disturbed and concerned about the lurch towards an Islamic state as represented by Mahathir's Sept. 29 declaration.
UMNO should not allow PAS to dictate its political agenda to the extent of unilaterally and arbitrarily jettisoning the 44-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and multi-religious Malaysia. Instead, Malaysia should show the world the example of a modern, progressive and tolerant version of Islam where all its citizens, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs, could feel fully comfortable and at ease, compatible with democracy, political pluralism, human rights, women rights, social tolerance, development and modern progress.
I am glad that Abdullah has conceded that there is no such thing as a "standard Islamic state in the world " - in fact, the term Islamic state does not even appear in the Quran and Sunnah.
Malaysia should return to the status quo ante September 29, with Mahathir withdrawing the declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state and reaffirming the government's continued commitment to the 44-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and multi-religious Malaysia.