With the enormously  complex national and global post-September 11 political scenario, Malaysians whether in politics, mass media or the civil society urgently need greater political maturity and sophistication to face a new and dangerous era


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Monday): Malaysians have entered into a new and dangerous era  in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, which unleashed  forces with far-reaching but indeterminate  consequences not only in world politics but on every country in the globe.

With an  enormously  complex national and international post-September 11 political scenario which has still to be fully unravelled and understood, Malaysians whether in politics, mass media or the civil society urgently need greater political maturity and sophistication to deal with the new and dangerous times.

The events of the past 15 weeks, and in particular in the past fortnight, have shown that there is a serious lack of the greater political maturity and sophistication urgently needed if Malaysians are to successfully negotiate the new shoals and rapids on the Malaysian political scene created by the  catastrophic events of September 11.

For instance, on December 12, 2001, in my speech to the the  LSE  Malaysia Club 2001-2002 at the  London School of Economics and Political Science,  I had made a most frank and pertinent analysis of the effects and consequences  of the September 11 terrorist carnage on Malaysian politics, suggesting the formation of a secular front to defend the 44-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive Malaysia.

I said DAP is prepared to co-operate with  KeAdilan, PRM and other political forces, including progressive Islamic movements,  to defend the Merdeka Constitution principle of  a democratic, secular, multi-religious and progressive Malaysia with Islam as the official religion to strengthen the hard centre of political and religious moderates in the country.

Instead of focussing national attention and debate on whether there is merit in the proposal for the mobilisation of national energies and forces 44 years after the 1957 Merdeka Constitution for the defence of the fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a secular state, there seemed to be more  interest in digressing attention to the question as to whether the DAP was trying to destroy the Barisan Alternative - although on  my return to Malaysia, I explained in a media statement  on December 16 that ďI was not suggesting that KeAdilan, for instance, should break  off its relationships with PAS and follow the DAPís footsteps and  pull out of the Barisan Alternative tooĒ.

Instead of focussing attention on the greatest constitutional and nation-building crisis facing the 44-year nation as to whether Malaysia should continue as a secular state with Islam as the official religion or whether the secular principle should be jettisoned and Malaysia transformed into an Islamic state, there was greater interest as to whether the  DAP is facing its worst party  crisis in the DAPís 35-year history - when there is no basis for such speculation whatsoever.

If Malaysians continue to miss the wood for the trees, and focus on non-essentials and even synthetic issues and miss the substantive and momentous questions being decided, then we have only ourselves to blame if we failed to grasp the opportunities to bring about a paradigm shift in Malaysian politics to allow for the flowering of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

It is both unfortunate and unworthy to suggest that the DAP is trying to wreck and destroy the Barisan Alternative, which had never entered into the mind of any DAP leader.

DAPís position after our pull-out from the Barisan Alternative on September 22, 2001, had always been clear, constant and consistent, that we are still prepared to co-operate with PAS, KeAdilan and PRM on national issues of common concern  - just as DAP is prepared on similar terms to co-operate with the Barisan Nasional component parties - in areas such as the restoration of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia.

Let me reiterate what I had said publicly, that the secular front that I had proposed in my London speech was never meant to be anti any political party, not even PAS or UMNO, as it was for the cause of defending the 44-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of a secular Malaysia.

If PAS or UMNO are prepared to defend and uphold the fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of the 1957 Merdeka Constitution of Malaysia as a secular state with Islam as the official religion, there is nothing to stop them from being part of such a secular front - but I would probably cause more offence if I had mentioned PAS in the context of a national movement to defend and uphold a secular Malaysia.

Instead of focussing on non-issues like whether the DAP is trying to destroy the Barisan Alternative or whether the DAP has been plunged into its worst party crisis in 35 years, Malaysians should focus on whether Malaysia is facing the biggest constitutional and nation-building crisis in the nationís 44-year history, compounded by the fact that Malaysians are blissfully unaware of such a constitutional crisis as to whether Malaysia should forever  remain a secular state or should now  become an Islamic State, and whether there is merit in the proposal for the creation of a nation-wide movement to rally and unite forces in our political and civil society to  defend the 44-year fundamental constitutional principle of Malaysia as a secular state.

(24/12/2001)



*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman