Parliament next week should schedule a special debate on the issue of Islamic State as  the voices of all Malaysians are entitled to  be heard and  not just those of  UMNO and PAS on whether Malaysia should remain a secular state or become an Islamic state ala-UMNO or ala-PAS


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya,  Monday): At the Gerakan Annual Delegatesí Conference on Saturday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad declared that under UMNO,  Malaysia is already an Islamic State.

In response,  PAS President Datuk Fadzil Noor challenged Mahathir to officially proclaim Malaysia as an Islamic state in Parliament  so as to enable all Members of Parliament to take part in question and answer sessions or debate on the issue.

Parliament, which reconvenes on Monday, 8th October 2001, should schedule a special debate on the issue of Islamic State as the voices of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs or territory, are entitled to be heard and not just those of UMNO and PAS  on the  vital issue whether Malaysia should remain a secular state or become an Islamic state ala-UMNO or ala-PAS.

With Mahathirís  reiteration at the Gerakan Delegatesí Conference of what he had first declared at the UMNO General Assembly in June, that Malaysia is already an Islamic State under UMNO rule, the question as to whether Mahathir makes an official statement in Parliament ceases to be an issue or of importance, as Mahathirís declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state is immediately subject to public debate, including the  Parliamentary process of question and answer and debate.

Whether Malaysia becomes an Islamic state ala-UMNO, ala-PAS or remains a secular state as intended by the framers of the Merdeka Constitution 1957 cannot be the sole concern of UMNO and PAS, or Muslim Malaysians only, but the right and concern of all political parties and all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, political affiliation or territory.

A full-fledged Parliamentary debate on the issue is important as the advocates of  Malaysia as an Islamic state ala-UMNO or ala-PAS should be fully aware   of the strong aspirations of Malaysians who want the country to remain a democratic, secular, morality-based nation as envisaged in the Merdeka Constitution.

At the special parliamentary debate on the Islamic state issue,  MCA and Gerakan leaders can also explain why they had given unthinking support to the concept of Malaysia as an Islamic state ala-UMNO, recklessly ignoring the long-term and far-reaching consequences to the Malaysian nation-building process by such compromises undermining secularism and democracy.

Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, in  particular, owes the nation a proper explanation as to why he had campaigned in the Sarawak state general elections calling on Sarawakians to reject an Islamic state by voting against the Opposition (maligning and distorting the DAPís consistent stand  opposing an Islamic State for Malaysia) and yet, one week later, he could applaud and support Malaysia becoming an Islamic State ala-UMNO when this was announced by Mahathir  at the Gerakan Delegates Conference itself!

(1/10/2001)



*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman