In the past few days, we read the startling statements by MCA and Gerakan leaders declaring that Malaysia had always been an Islamic state in the past 44 years since Independence in 1957.
It would appear that the MCA and Gerakan leaders had been politically asleep for the past four decades, only to wake up on Sept. 29, 2001 to realise that Malaysia had always been an Islamic state - something they had known nothing about before.
MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders should explain to the people as to when they realise that Malaysia is an Islamic state - is it before or after Mahathir had announced that Malaysia is an Islamic state under UMNO rule on Sept. 29, 2001?
Until that date, the leaders of the other Barisan Nasional parties had denounced proposals for an Islamic State and defamed the DAP for allegedly supporting PAS to establish an Islamic state.
For instance, in his speech at the Wanita MCA annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur in August, the MCA Secretary-General Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh declared that there could be no compromise between an Islamic state and the secular state advocated by MCA, and he announced that the MCA would sett up a special unit to explain to the Chinese community the “threat” of an Islamic state and the damage that an Islamic state can have on a multi-religious society”
But in two short months, the MCA had compromised its commitment to a secular state and expressed full support to UMNO’s Islamic state!
In fact, the 2001 MCA Annual General Meeting on August 3, 2001 - a day after the infamous “chair-throwing” of the MCA Youth general assembly - unanimously passed a resolution lambasting PAS and called on the nation and people to oppose an Islamic state, but the first to jettison the 2001 MCA AGM resolution rejecting an Islamic state is none other than the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik - who has been converted to become the strongest advocate for an Islamic state, though ala-UMNO!
Is the MCA prepared to summon an emergency AGM to censure the MCA President for going against the AGM mandate or revoke its resolution of August 3 so that the MCA President can legitimately perform a political somersault to support UMNO’s Islamic state?
In the recently-concluded Sarawak state general elections, Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik called on the Sarawak voters to reject the DAP by falsely and maliciously alleging that the DAP supports an Islamic state, but two days after the Sarawak state general elections, he did a volte-face and became another convert to Islamic state after Mahathir’s declaration!
The least Liong Sik and Keng Yaik should do before they “eat” all the words of their opposition to an Islamic state is to explain how Malaysia suddenly became an Islamic state after they had claimed that it is a secular state for 44 years!
From recent events, it is clear that the DAP is the only political party in the country which is principled and consistent in standing steadfast on the fundamental constitutional principle and cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic secular nation - clearly declared by Bapa Malaysia and first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman and supported by the constitutional documents in the country.
The defence of the 44-year-old constitutional principle of a secular Malaysia is not anti-Islam and DAP is prepared to work with progressive Islamic forces in Malaysia to expand the space for justice, democracy and pluralism in the country in the 21st century.