The Cabinet at its meeting next Wednesday should reaffirm the secular basis of the Malaysian Constitution and the multi-religious character of the nation by repudiating Abdul Hamid’s statement implying that the Malaysian government can declare a jihad or holy war, as Malaysia does not have an Islamic government nor is the nation an Islamic state although the Constitution provides for Islam as the official religion. Parliament should also follow suit.
Abdul Hamid’s statement highlights the danger of the blind and unthinking support given by the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to the declaration by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the Gerakan national delegates conference on Sept. 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic state under UMNO rule - and this is why MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP Central Committees and congresses should revoke the decision of the Barisan Nasional supreme council endorsing such a stand which negates the fundamental constitutional principle and cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic and secular nation in the past 44 years.
I can understand that Abdul Hamid made the statement that only a government of a country can declare a jihad in response to the PAS call for a jihad over the United States-led military attacks in Afghanistan and to urge the people not to answer the PAS call, but the implication that the Malaysian government can declare a jihad is completely unacceptable at it violates the secular basis of the Constitution and the pluralistic characteristics of the nation.
As Abdul Hamid made such a misconceived and misguided claim after a dialogue with a MCA youth delegation and several Chinese youth groups on the Islamic state issue, I hope the MCA Youth leaders had made clear to Abdul Hamid their opposition and objections not only on this issue, but also to declaring Malaysia as an Islamic state - and they they had not given blind and unthinking support like their MCA President.
In this connection, PAS leaders should reconsider its declaration of a “jihad” over the US-led military attacks in Afghanistan and the giving of the go-ahead for its members to fight alongside the Talibans forces.
In the pre-recorded video aired on Al-Jazeera television, al-Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith praised the suicide hijackers who perpetrated the terrorist mass murders in New York and Washington on September 11, threatened that “the storm of airplanes will not stop” and called for a jihad, as it is a religious duty of every Muslim.
In 1998, Osama bin Laden issued a fatwa in which he stated that it was permitted to kill both Americans and British citizens as well as military personnel from those countries because of their support for the state of Israel.
Islamic experts have given six reasons why the
September 11 terrorist attacks cannot be regaded as acts of jihad
according to Islamic law, viz:
It is not for non-Muslims to address the issue as to the criteria for Muslims to declare jihad, but it is clearly the right of non-Muslim Malaysians to be concerned about any declaration of jihad directly affecting the nation as it will have far-reaching political, economic and nation-building repercussions on the people made up of diverse races, cultures and religions.
PAS has condemned the US-led airstrikes in Afghanistan but its leaders should seriously reconsider their declaration of a “jihad” and the giving of the go-ahead for its members to fight alongside the Talibans forces as it will not only have far-reaching political, economic and nation-building impact, it will drastically alter the political landscape in the country.