This was why I said in my speech at the LSE Malaysia Club 2001-2002 at the London School of Economics and Political Science last Wednesday that the DAP was prepared to form a new secular Opposition Front with KeAdilan, PRM and other political forces, including progressive Islamic forces, to strengthen the hard centre of political and religious moderates in the country to defend the 1957 Merdeka Constitution principle of a democratic, secular, multi-religious and progressive Malaysia with Islam as the official religion.
PAS youth leader, Mahfuz Omar has rejected the proposal, saying that if there is another coalition besides the Alternative Front, it would paint a negative image that the opposition was disunited.
In the first place, let me say that just because PAS Youth thinks it could dictate to PKN and PRM, it should not think it could dictate to DAP.
Secondly, the issue of the defence of the 44-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and mult-religious state with Islam as the official religion is a question which does not just concern the DAP or the opposition, but all political parties and all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.
This is why I applaud the Penang MCA veteran leader and former Socialist Front chief, Lim Kean Siew, for boldly and frankly declaring that the MCA leadership had committed a “colossal mistake” in endorsing the declaration by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the Gerakan national assembly on Sept. 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic state as Malaysia had always been conceived by our forefathers in the Merdeka social contract as a secular state.
At present, Kean Siew is only one of the close to one million MCA members who has the courage of conviction to publicly protest against the MCA leadership’s abandonment of the Merdeka social contract of Malaysia as a secular state. I hope he is not the only lone MCA member with principle and conscience who is prepared to speak up when the MCA leadership had gone terribly wrong on a fundamental nation-building issue as jettisoning the secular basis of the Constitution, which will affect the political, economic, educational, cultural, religious, legal and citizenship rights not only of the present generation but future generations as well.
For the defence of the 44-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and multi-religious state, DAP is prepared to co-operate not only with secularists in the Barisan Alternative but also secularists in the Barisan Nasional. The question is whether the secularists in the Barisan Nasional and Barisan Alternative dare to stand up and be counted.