UMNO MPs who tried to stop Chong Eng from raising the issue of the “secular Islamic state” in Parliament should apologise for their unparliamentary conduct as they acted no better than Bung Moktar Radin who had the dishonour of being  the first to use  the four-letter F-word in the 42-year history of Parliament

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): UMNO MPs who tried to stop DAP MP for Bukit Mertajam, Chong Eng from raising the issue of the “secular Islamic state” as advanced by MCA in Parliament on Wednesday  should apologise for their unparliamentary conduct as they acted no better than the Barisan Nasional MP for Kinabatangan  Datuk Bung Moktar Radin who had the dishonour of being the  first to use  the four-letter F-word in the 42-year history of Parliament.

UMNO MPs, including the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Noh Omar, the MP for Sri  Gading, Datuk Mohamad Aziz, MP for Tampin  Shahziman Abu Mansor, MP for Tebrau Datuk Mohd. Ali Hassan and the MP for Parit Sulong Ruhanie Ahmad should explain why a non-Muslim MP cannot raise and discuss the issue of Islamic State in Parliament, especially as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has declared that Malaysia is already an Islamic state and his declaration was fully endorsed by  the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik at the Barisan Nasional Surpeme Council (as well as the 100% support of the MCA Youth leader, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat)!

Are these UMNO MPs of the view that non-Muslim Malaysians only have the right to agree or disagree with the proposal to establish an Islamic state in Malaysia, but no right to discuss or debate  its merit, pertinence or  suitability to multi-racial, multi-religious Malaysia and as to whether it is compatible with democracy, pluralism, human rights, economic justice or modern progress?

These UMNO MPs should realise that as the establishment of an Islamic state, whether ala-UMNO or ala-PAS, would affect the rights and position of the non-Muslim Malaysians and have  far-reaching political, economic, legal and nation-building implications for the country and people, it is the fundamental  citizenship right of every non-Muslim Malaysian to have his or her views heard on the issue - and Parliament is the best forum for the ventilation of such views.

It is understandable for some UMNO MPs to feel outraged by the term “secular Islamic state”, if they believe that the terms “secular” and “Islamic” are totally incompatible and irreconcilable.

However, this is a term which is not used by the DAP but by the MCA to explain why Liong Sik had fully supported Mahathir’s declaration at the Gerakan national delegates’ conference on Sept. 29 that Malaysia is already an Islamic state under UMNO rule - trying to distinguish it from  PAS objeectives by claiming that the Mahathir model is  a “secular Islamic state”.

This is why  MCA Vice President and Housing Minister, Datuk Ong Ka Ting could say that despite the MCA President’s endorsement of Mahathir’s declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state, “nothing has changed - Malaysia is still a multi-religious and multi-cultural society with secular and constitutional laws”. (The Star 8.10.2001) and a Gerakan national leader could claim that “the concept of an Islamic state in Malaysia has been accepted by all Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties since the country obtained Independence” (The Sun 8.10.2001).

If UMNO MPs think it is sacrilegious for anyone to describe Mahathir’s Islamic state as a  “secular Islamic state”, then it is for the UMNO MPs to stand up in Parliament to correct the MCA and Gerakan leaders from continuing to mislead the people.

I hope the UMNO MPs will take full advantage of the policy debate on the 2002 Budget which begins in Parliament  next Monday to give a lesson to MCA and Gerakan leaders and MPs so that they will never again  use the term “secular Islamic state” to describe UMNO’s Islamic state instead of trying to shut up Chong Eng from  exercising her parliamentary and citizenship right to raise and debate the subject.

Coming to  Bung Moktar - it is not enough for him to apologise for besmirching  the 42-year dignity and decorum of Parliament by using  the four-letter F-word in very unrepentant circumstances and manner.  An example must be made of such atrocious and completely unacceptable parliamentary behaviour, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should agree that a motion should be presented in Parliament to punish Bung Moktar for using the four-letter K-word in Parliament.

Bung Moktar’s apology should be taken into consideration as a factor for mitigation purposes but it cannot absolve him from punishment  for having committed such a gross, indecent and disgraceful conduct as using the  four-letter K-word in the august House of Parliament.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman