DAP CEC has decided not to take Mahathir to court for his “929 declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic state at this stage 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

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(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.

But 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.

In 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.

The 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.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman