(Penang, Sunday): In response to the challenge by the Prime
Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad last year when
announcing the UMNO position that
Malaysia was an Islamic State, PAS President, Datuk Fadzil Noor announced at the
48th PAS Annual General Assembly in Kota Baru on Friday
seven principles of the PAS model of an Islamic State - civil
society (madani), equality (Al-Musaawah), sovereignty of law based on Shariah
law, justice (Al Adalah), meritocracy (As-Solahiyah), welfare state, and
innovative and dynamic government – which would involve amendments to the
current law and the Malaysian Constitution.
Fadzil said PAS’
memorandum entitled “The Model of Islamic Government in the 21st
Century” is in the final process of completion and would be made public before
the next general election.
PAS spiritual leader and Kelantan Mentri Besar,
Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Mat had described Mahathir’s declaration that Malaysia is
an Islamic state as a “drama” though he admitted that it was a new challenge
to PAS in wanting to spread its influence among the Muslims in the country.
After Mahathir had announced Malaysia as an
Islamic State, the government sent a delegation headed by Tan Sri Harun Hashim,
former Federal Court judge, a
professor at the International Islamic University Malaysia and Deputy Suhakam
Chairman on a tour of four Middle
Eastern countries to study various aspects of the syariah law and its
implementation, viz the United Arab
Emirates, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Last month, we saw the fruit of this tour when Harun made two startling statements:
competition between PAS and UMNO to establish an Islamic State is
the greatest threat in 44 years to the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and
“social contract” of Malaysia as a democratic, secular, multi-religious,
tolerant and progressive nation with Islam as the official religion but not an
I had warned after the November 30, 1999 general
election that Malaysia was set for a very uncertain and perilous future.
I had said a day after the 1999 general
UMNO losing two state governments and 27 Parliamentary seats to PAS, and with
many seats won by UMNO with very small majorities, UMNO will be under great
pressure to respond to the PAS challenge and to try to win back the Malay
heartland by competing with PAS on the Islamic terrain with Islamisation
the DAP marginalised in Parliament and Malaysian politics as a result of
yesterday’s polls, and with MCA, Gerakan and MIC never able to exercise
any check and balance on UMNO political hegemony, Malaysia is headed for a
very uncertain and perilous future.”
worst fears have been confirmed, for UMNO has not just entered into the Islamic
terrain to compete with PAS on Islamisation policies, but has gone all the way
to compete with PAS as to whose Islamic State concept has more legitimacy
- which willy-nilly, has the double and seemingly contradictory effect of
hardening each party’s position and narrowing
the gap between the them on the Islamic state issue.
DAP’s position on Islamic state is clear and unequivocal, as well as why the
DAP decided to leave the Barisan Alternative – as PAS had gone beyond the
Barisan Alternative common manifesto for a Just Malaysia to restore justice,
freedom, democracy and good governance to advocate an Islamic State which
is not compatible with
parliamentary democracy and power-sharing in a plural society, human rights and
individual freedoms, women’s rights and social tolerance,
making it quite impossible
to convince voters that a vote for BA is not a vote for an Islamic State.
is why Mahathir has decided on the political gambit of exploiting the world-wide
September 11 phobia to stampede non-Muslim Malaysians into supporting his
declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state
by making a choice between what is generally regarded as an extremist
form of Islamic state as advocated by PAS and the moderate Islamic state
represented by UMNO.
is a great political fallacy, for the critical issue before
Malaysians is not to choose between the Islamic State of PAS and the Islamic State of UMNO, but whether Malaysians want to
jettison the 44-year 1957 Merdeka Constitution and “social contract” of our
forefathers from the major communities and reaffirmed by the peoples of Sabah
and Sarawak that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant
and progressive nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic
state or embark Malaysia on the irreversible
road of an Islamic state, whether ala-UMNO or ala-PAS.
the Malaysian voters, and in particular the non-Muslims, believe in the next
general election expected in less than 12 months that the decision they have to
make is to choose between the
Islamic State of PAS and the
Islamic State of UMNO, the overwhelming majority would vote for the latter.
this will be a great mistake – for the choice before Malaysians is not whose
Islamic state to support, UMNO or PAS, but whether the 1957 Merdeka Constitution
and “social contract” that
Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state should be
preserved or abandoned. This is why
the DAP has launched the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957”
people’s awareness campaign in Penang early last month for voters to
say loud and clear that they neither want PAS’ Islamic State nor UMNO’s
Islamic State but wish to preserve
the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and
“social contract” of Malaysia as a democratic, morality-based,
multi-religious, tolerant and progressive nation.
the DAP and PAS have fundamental differences over the Islamic State issue, this
should not prevent the DAP from co-operating with Barisan Alternative for the
elusive goal to break the political hegemony of the Barisan Nasional by
depriving its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in Malaysian
Barisan Alternative leaders may claim, the possibility of the Barisan Nasional
being toppled in the next general election is even slimmer than in the 1999
general election – especially in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist
attacks in the United States which had been a boon for incumbent governments
the elusive goal of denying the Barisan Nasional of its two-thirds parliamentary
majority is still within reach, provided there is
Opposition co-operation on
the basis of an electoral understanding to avoid split Opposition votes.
such an electoral understanding, the goal of breaking the political hegemony of
the Barisan Nasional by depriving its two-thirds parliamentary majority will
remain equally elusive in the next general election.
stark choice before the people of Malaysia in the next general election is not
whether to topple the Barisan Nasional government – which might be feasible in
the general election after next in 2008 – but to create political history by
attaining the elusive goal to deny its two-thirds majority, which is only
possible if an Opposition electoral understanding could be reached
to ensure a one-to-one fight between the Barisan Nasional and the
Opposition in all the constituencies in the country.
DAP had right from the beginning since our
pull-out from the Barisan Alternative on September 22 last year
made clear our preparedness for an electoral understanding with the
Barisan Alternative in pursuit of the elusive goal of breaking the
political hegemony and two-thirds parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional
– and we are ready to immediately start discussions towards this end.