(Sibu, Tuesday): In the last national general election in November 1999, MCA, Gerakan and SUPP were very successful in using the Islamic-state scare tactics in frightening the Chinese and non-Malay voters into believing that a vote for the DAP was a vote for PAS and a vote for an Islamic state where there would be no pork, alcohol, temples, Chinese and Tamil schools and no lipsticks or jobs for women.
The Islamic-state scare propaganda and tactics of the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP were so successful that DAP suffered the worst electoral setback among the Barisan Alternative parties in the last general election and both Karpal Singh and I were voted out of Parliament.
The people of Sarawak should be more discerning about the Islamic-state scare progapanda which would be deployed by the SUPP in the impending state general election, for although this is one of the reasons why the Sarawak DAP has exercised its political autonomy to opt out of the Sarawak Barisan Alternative, the SUPP would continue with its Islamic-state scare tactics against the DAP on the ground that the DAP is still in the Barisan Alternative at the national level.
Before the last national general election, DAP joined with PAS, Keadilan and Parti Rakyat to form an Opposition alliance not to establish an Islamic State but to break the political hegemony of UMNO and Barisan Nasional to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia.
DAP leaders have always made it very clear, not only at public meetings but in our discussions with PAS leaders, that the DAP cannot support an Islamic state as it would be against our founding principles that Malaysia shall forever be a democratic and secular nation.
There are three important reasons why the voters of Sarawak should not fall victim to the Islamic-state scare tactics of SUPP in the state general election:
a.. DAP's position -DAP's opposition to an Islamic state not because the DAP is anti-Islam but because of our belief that for a multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia, a democratic and secular system of governance is the only viable form of government, and for the similar reason, the DAP is equally opposed to any proposal to establish a Christian state, Hindu state or Buddhist state.
b.. Constitutional protection - The Malaysian Constitution does not
allow an Islamic State to be established and it needs to be first
amended which requires a two-thirds parliamentary majority.
PAS will not have two-thirds of the MPs in Parliament of at least 129 MPs
to be able to amend the Constitution on its own to establish an Islamic
State. In the 1999 general election, the total number of PAS candidates
did not even constitute one-third of the parliamentary seats, and even
if all the PAS candidates had won, they would not come to one-third
let alone two-thirds of the parliamentary seats.
c.. Political realities - Malaysia is not Iran, Iraq or the Middle Eastern countries where the populations are predominantly Muslim in the region of 95 per cent or above, but a multi-racial and multi-religious society. One hundred per cent of the non-Malays and non-Muslims would not support an Islamic state and I dare say that the majority of the Muslims in the country would also not support an Islamic state.
DAP fully understands the concerns and fears of the people about an Islamic State as the DAP had right from its establishment 35 years ago taken a clear and unequivocal stand that Malaysia shall forever remain a democratic and secular nation.
While concerns and fears about an Islamic state are legitimate, the people of Sarawak should not fall victim to the Islamic-scare tactics of SUPP and the Barisan Nasional in order to allow them to continue to trample on democracy and misuse public funds to benefit a few at the expense of the many to indulge in their follies and crimes of building expensive "white elephants" in the name of development.