Just as Mahathir would object to be described as a “thief of a Prime Minister” he should not devalue political discourse by using offensive language like describing the co-operation between DAP and PAS in Barisan Alternative as “partnership between two thieves”

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad shoud not devalue political discourse by using offensive language like describing the co-operation between DAP and PAS in the Barisan Alternative as “partnership between two thieves”, just as he would object to be described as a “thief of a Prime Minister”!

In using such offensive language, is Mahathir suggesting that all politicians and political parties are “thieves”, thus making him a “thief of a Prime Minister”?

Or is he suggesting that only opposition political parties are “thieves”, and if so, does that make UMNO, which is so desperately trying to woo PAS for “Malay unity talks”, a “thief” too?

Mahathir said that DAP and PAS are incompatible as they have different ideologies.

The challenge facing the DAP, PAS, Keadilan and PRM before the 1999 general election was whether the four opposition parties, despite their incompatible ideologies, could come together to form an united front on commonly-agreed principles based on the restoration of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

As I said in my speech at the Gerak seminar on human rights at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on February 21, 1999 in the run-up to the formation of Barisan Alternative, which was attended by  leaders of  PAS and Muslim NGOs including PAS President Fadil Nor, the DAP had always been  consistent in its  stand on the Islamic State -  that it is inappropriate and unsuitable for a plural society like Malaysia with a diversity of races, religions, cultures and languages.

In my speech I said:

“There is a view that it is ignorance or bias which is the cause for non-Muslims unable to accept the objective of an Islamic state.  This is not the case and PAS leaders must understand the reasons for such views, among them, the inability of non-Muslims to exercise their full citizenship rights in an Islamic state, the place of women and hukum hudud.”

On the proposal for an electoral alliance or opposition arrangement against the Barisan Nasional as the Barisan Alternative had not been formed yet,   I said:

“We must respect each other’s political positions: PAS’ goal of an Islamic state and DAP’s stand that an Islamic state is unsuitable and inappropriate for multi-religious Malaysia.

“We can only begin to talk about an electoral arrangement and alliance involving both DAP and PAS if we agree as a starting basis that the battle for the next general election is not about an Islamic state, but how to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.”

PAS leaders have however changed the basic rationale and ground-rules for the formation of the Barisan Alternative, when they reiterated publicly that the top priority of a PAS-led Federal Government will be to establish an Islamic State, in utter disregard of the Barisan Alternative Manifesto “Towards a Just and Democratic Malaysia” and the opposition of the other Barisan Alternative component parties to an Islamic State.

This is not just a matter between PAS and DAP, or PAS and the other component parties in the Barisan Alternative, but also a matter between PAS and the Malaysian electorate, both Muslim and non-Muslim Malaysians who do not support the Islamic State proposal of PAS and this is why PAS leaders should spell out the political, legal and constitutional implications of its Islamic State stand.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman