(Penang, Friday): The DAP Central Executive Committee, after a long and in-depth deliberation,
decided not to take the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to court
at this stage for his “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is a fundamentalist
Islamic State as the most urgent task at hand is to make Malaysians understand its
far-reaching implications for future generations from such a tectonic shift in
nation-building in plural Malaysia.
Yesterday, in his UMNO Presidential speech, Mahathir reiterated his
announcement in Parliament on Monday that Malaysia is not a moderate Islamic
state but a fundamentalist Islamic state.
In his speech, Mahathir also said that the debate on Malaysia as an Islamic
state need not go on as there is no necessity to amend the Constitution to make
Malaysia an Islamic state.
Mahathir cannot be more wrong. There is not only a vital need to debate
whether Malaysia is an Islamic state, as this is completely at variance with the
1957 Merdeka Constitution, the “social contract” of the major communities
and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement 1963 that Malaysia is a democratic, secular and
multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic
state; but also to pose questions
as to when Malaysia became an Islamic state, and what type of an Islamic state
Malaysia aspires to be.
In October last year, Mahathir told
the Associated Chinese Chamber of
Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCI) that it was all right for the Chinese
to think that Malaysia is a secular country.
MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling
Liong Sik was even more creative. Inventing the new-fangled oxymoron of “secular Islamic
state” to describe Malaysia – which all UMNO leaders made a point to
distance themselves – Liong Sik said it was solely a matter of
interpretation whether Malaysia is
an Islamic or secular state, as “Many things can be called by more than one
name … a rose in English is a rose, in Mandarin it is mei-kwei,
in Malay bunga mawar and in Tamil roja but
they all mean the same thing”.
Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim
Keng Yaik simply endorsed Mahathir’s assertion that the Chinese may not know
that have been living in Malaysia for more than
44 years ago in an Islamic state, except that Keng Yaik did not explain
why he himself did not know about this important political, legal and
constitutional “reality” although he had been a Cabinet Minister for two
decades - as a week before
Mahathir’s “929 Declaration”, Keng Yaik was leading the Gerakan campaign
in the Sarawak state general election denouncing an Islamic state and falsely
accused the DAP of conspiring with PAS to establish an Islamic state.
it was not only Keng Yaik who did not know until Mahathir’s “929
Declaration” that Malaysia was supposed to be an Islamic state for the past
44 years since Independence, the
first three Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun
Razak and Tun Hussein Onn as well as the founding fathers of MCA like Tun Tan
Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin, Tun H.S. Lee and Too Joo Hing never knew nor
approved Malaya and subsequently
Malaysia becoming an Islamic state.
fact, no framers of the Federal Constitution ever knew that 44 years ago,
they were drafting a constitution for an Islamic State for Malaysia
– which was why the Reid Constitution Commission Report 1957, the Alliance
Government White Paper on the Reid Commission Report 1957, the Cobbold
Commission Report 1963 all made clear reference to Malaysia’s indisputable
position as a secular state with Islam as the official religion.
most pressing issue at hand is not to be caught in a game of semantics in a
court case over Mahathir’s “929 Declaration” at this stage but to make
Malaysians understand the far-reaching implications of jettisoning the 1957
Merdeka Constitution, the “social contract” and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement
of a secular state with Islam as
the official religion and to embark on the road towards
a full-fledged fundamentalist Islamic State.