I appreciated the kind words of Azizah in her address, when she expressed her sadness at DAP's pull-out from Barisan Alternative.
She said:"Kita dukacita kerana muafakat yang terjalin dalam BA tergugat dengan pengunduran DAP dari pakatan. Sepertimana yang saya nyatakan, sumbangan dan pengorbanan pimpinan DAP khususnya Sdr. Lim Kit Siang tetap kita hargai dan keAdilan akan terus menjalinkan kerjasama rapat dengan DAP. Dan semoga muafakat asal BA dapat ditegakkan semula dengan penyertaan DAP."
I had no hesitation when Azizah invited me to attend a joint media conference after the opening of the KeAdilan Assembly, together with her as well as the PAS National Vice President, Datuk Mustapha Ali and PRM President, Dr. Syed Husin Ali, and answered questions from reporters on the DAP's presence at the KeAdilan Assembly.
At the media conference, I stressed that the DAP had pulled out of Barisan Alternative because of our irreconcilable differences with PAS over the latter’s Islamic State objective, but DAP is prepared to co-operate with Barisan Alternative and even with Barisan Nasional on common issues for the good of the nation and country.
I must confess that I was taken back when I was asked, after the media conference and before leaving the Assembly hall, by some members of the press for my response to the speech by the KeAdilan Wanita chief, Hajjah Fuziah Salleh, at the KeAdilan Wanita assembly yesterday where she said that DAP members disaffected about the DAP pull-out from the BA would defect to join KeAdilan. I said I did not know of any such statement or defection but DAP is a democratic party and anyone is entitled to leave the DAP.
I had since then checked and obtained verification that Fuziah had indeed in her address at the opening of the Wanita KeAdilan assembly yesterday called for the engineering and orchestration of en masse defection of DAP members to KeAdilan. Speaking on DAP's pullout of BA, Fuziah said:
"Isu DAP keluar parti jangan melemahkan kita. Malah harus dilihat sebagai peluang untuk menarik lebih ramai ahli dari kalangan mereka-mereka yang kecewa dari tindakan ini."
Now the mystery as to why DAP Wanita leaders were not invited to the
opening of the Wanita KeAdilan assembly although they received invitations
from Wanita KeAdilan to the opening of the third KeAdilan annual
assembly by Azizah has been resolved, as the KeAdilan Wanita chief
did not want her announcement of the KeAdilan strategy to engineer
and orchestrate the en mass defection of DAP members to made in the presence
of DAP Wanita leaders.
KeAdilan is at liberty to embark on a strategy to engineer and orchestrate the defection en masse of DAP members but it must decide whether it wants to be friend or foe of DAP as such a strategy is clearly a most unfriendly and hostile act.
DAP is a democratic party and anyone is free to leave it and join Keadilan. Now that the DAP is no more in the BA, there is no need for KeAdilan to respect the DAP's feelings and sensitivities and we in the DAP accept this reality. But KeAdilan leaders should know that this is not going to create the conditions for close and friendly relations between the two parties.
It would appear that the greatest task assigned to the former DAP members and leaders who have joined KeAdilan is to engineer and orchestrate the defection of DAP members en masse over to KeAdilan, by “working” on their old comrades in the DAP in the various branches in the country - and we have received reports of such activities in states like Perak and Penang. It is very sad that this appears to be the only chore the former DAP leaders and members now in KeAdilan are capable and qualified to do.
I would have thought that with their political experience and insights acquired in the DAP, they would be able to assist KeAdilan leaders to realise the importance of the sea-change in Malaysian politics and to focus on the importance of taking a clear and unambiguous stand on the issue of Islamic state, especially after the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had declared that Malaysia is already an Islamic State at the Gerakan annual delegates conference on September 29.
The stage seems to have been set that in the next general elections, most likely to be held in 2003, the voters will go to the poll believing that their primary task is to decide whether it is the UMNO or PAS concept of Islamic State that is to prevail in Malaysia.
DAP wants Malaysians to get out of this political trap and mindset, for the issue to be decided by Malaysians is not what type of an Islamic state Malaysia should become, whether Islamic state ala-UMNO or ala-PAS, but whether Malaysia should jettison its 44-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive Malaysia and to reject an Islamic State for Malaysia.
I would have thought that the former DAP elements in KeAdilan would have risen up to their foremost challenge in KeAdilan to convince their new party to stand with the DAP to reject both the Islamic state of PAS and UMNO and to defend the democratic, secular and multi-religious basis of Malaysian nation-building, not for the sake of DAP but to preserve and promote a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive Malaysia for future generations.
I would also advise PRM leaders, including the PRM President, Dr. Syed Husin Ali, to stop DAP-bashing, blaming the DAP for weakening the BA by our pull-out and strengthening the Barisan Nasional, when they know that it was PAS’ violation of the BA common manifesto to uphold the fundamental features of the Malaysian Constitution - which would mean no Islamic State - which was the cause of the BA rupture.
DAP had expected sympathy and support from PRM leaders in our taking a clear stand against the PAS’ espousal of an Islamic state, and although PRM had disappointed Malaysians about its commitment towards a secular Malaysia, DAP does not expect a DAP-bashing by the PRM national leaders. PRM national leaders who understandably are afraid of PAS-bashing should stop their baseless DAP-bashing or they must be fully responsible for a full opposition disarray in the country.