The Star yesterday and Sin Chew Jit Poh today reported that PAS President, Datuk Fadzil Noor had rejected the DAP proposal for an all-party roundtable conference to reach a national consensus representing the common stand of all political parties in the country on the September 11 terrorist attacks and the US miltiary actions in Afghanistan.
Fadzil Noor claimed that it was too late for political parties to make a joint stand as the US attack started more than a week ago and that PAS is not a party that will respond only after half the world had made its decision.
PAS is not the only political party in the country which had made a stand on the US air strikes in Afghanistan immediately after it was launched on October 7, but the point at issue is that no national consensus representing all Malaysian political parties, whether in Barisan Nasional, Barisan Alternative or DAP, on these momentous events had ever been attempted.
Although the “US attack started more than a week ago” and “half the world had made its decision”, the DAP proposal for an all-party roundtable conference is still very pertinent and timely as the mass murderers who perpetrated the September 11 heinous crimes against humanity are still at large while millions of innocent Afghan peoples are subject to the double fatal jeopardy of US aerial bombardments and the looming humanitarian catastrophe of mass starvation with the approach of winter.
Going by Fadzil Noor’s logic, there would be no point whatsoever for any conferences, whether national or international, on the September 11 terrorist attacks and US air strikes and military operations in Afghanistan, including the special session of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Foreign Ministers held in Doha, Qatar last Wednesday or the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit in Shanghai where the question of terrorism will dominate all other issues. This clearly cannot be the case, unless Malaysia wants to go isolationist and opt out of the international process.
Nobody would be surprised if the summary dismissal of the DAP proposal for an all-party roundtable conference had come from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad or UMNO because of their arrogance of power, but for it to come from Fadzil and PAS is most unexpected and even inexplicable.
Fadzil should not allow PAS’ declaration of jihad and approval for its members to fight alongside the Taliban forces to stand in the way of supporting the DAP proposal for an all-party roundtable conference for a national consensus on September 11 terrorist attacks and US military operations in Afghanistan.
In fact, it should be the occasion for PAS to take full account of the shock, alarm and consternation felt by Malaysians, not only non-Muslims but also Muslims, of its declaration of a jihad over the US airstrikes in Afghanistan and the giving of the go-ahead for its members to fight alongside the Taliban forces, as well as the demand that the government provide arms and logistical support for Malaysians to wage the holy war alongside the Talibans in Afghanistan.
While non-Muslims do not want to interfere with the Islamic teachings and interpretation of jihad, it is the fundamental citizenship 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.
DAP stands by its call for an all-party roundtable conference to achieve a national consensus on the September 11 terrorist attacks and the US-led military operations in Afghanistan.
If such an all-party national consensus could have been reached, the Prime Minister will be on the strongest possible wicket when he attends the APEC Summit in Shanghai as he will be speaking with the mandate of all political parties, whether Barisan Nasional, Barisan Alternative or DAP and all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, when he addresses the other APEC leaders on the new global crisis in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 mass carnage.
In fact, it would be even better if the Prime Minister could be accompanied by an all-party delegation to the APEC Summit, including Fadzil and leaders of other Opposition parties, to demonstrate that Malaysia speaks with one voice against terrorism, whether it be from Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda who perpetrated the mass murders in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11 or the indiscriminate US airstrikes in Afghanistan since October 7 raining terror and slaughter on innocent Afghans - and urging that the Malaysian national consensus form the basis of the APEC Declaration on these issues.
DAP had proposed a five-point national consensus on the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks and the US-led airstrikes in Afghanistan, namely:
DAP is open and prepared to hear the reasons for PAS’ objection to any of these five elements for a national consensus. If the Opposition parties could not reach agreement for a consensus on the September 11 terrorist attacks and the US airstrikes in Afghanistan, then there is no hope that it would be possible to secure a national consensus binding all political parties, binding the Barisan Nasional, Barisan Alternative and DAP!
It is sad that the proposal for an all-party national consensus should be dashed not by the Barisan Nasional but by PAS.