(Penang, Wednesday): At
an Aliran talk in March this year, former Gerakan Member of Parliament for
Nibong Tebal and former Gerakan national vice president, Datuk Dominic
Puthucheary said categorically
that the September 29 (929) declaration by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the Gerakan national delegates conference last
year that Malaysia was an Islamic state was made purely on the basis of
political power and was “not constitutional, not legal”.
was perfectly right in his public judgement
and I commend him for it. But
what struck me when I read the Aliran report of Dominic’s speech was why no
single Gerakan or MCA leader, Minister, Member of Parliament or State Assembly
member had dared to publicly state
in the past seven months what the
overwhelming majority of them must have believed deep in their hearts - that
Mahathir’s unilateral 929 declaration that Malaysia was an Islamic state was
unlawful, unconstitutional, undemocratic and represented a tectonic shift in the 44-year fundamental
constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a
democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive Malaysia with
Islam as the official religion but not as an Islamic state.
thought that struck me was whether Dominic would have been so frank and
forthright in pronouncing
Mahathir’s 929 declaration of Malaysia as an Islamic state as illegal and
unconstitutional if he was still a sitting
Barisan Nasional MP as well as Gerakan national vice president or whether he
would have kept his silence? I
don’t think he would have acted very differently
from the present batch of Gerakan and MCA MPs and leaders - who have all gone
against their conscience and given their open or tacit support to the unlawful
and unconstitutional 929 declaration.
the circumstances, with the history of
Barisan Nasional replete with Gerakan,
MCA and even UMNO MPs dutifully
toeing the party line who dared not
speak their minds freely and courageously according
to their conscience about what is right or wrong, legal or illegal,
constitutional or unconstitutional, how can the people of Malaysia really
entrust their future and those of generations-to-come to such political
have been most intrigued by the speech by the Penang Chief Minister and Gerakan
national vice president, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon on Sunday, blaming the DAP for
Mahathir’s 929 declaration and Gerakan’s support for the 929 declaration.
am sure that if Tsu Koon is not the
Penang Chief Minister and Gerakan national vice president, he would have fully
and publicly agreed with his
former party colleague Dominic Puthucheary that Mahathir’s 929 declaration
that Malaysia was an Islamic state was made purely on the basis of political
power and was “not constitutional, not legal”.
because he is the Penang Chief Minister and Gerakan national vice president, Tsu
Koon has to support the 929
declaration although he knows that it is illegal and unconstitutional.
is for the people to judge whether what Tsu Koon had done is right or wrong,
honest or dishonest - but it downright irresponsible and unacceptable for him to
try to make the DAP the scapegoat by
blaming the DAP for being responsible for Mahathir’s 929 declaration and
Gerakan’s support for the 929 declaration - on the ground that the DAP had
swung the Malay heartland in favour of PAS causing it to win 27 Parliamentary
seats in the last general election.
Tsu Koon has the courage to support the 929 declaration, then let him have the
courage to justify his decision - and not to falsely blame the DAP for forcing
him to support the 929 declaration. As
far as the DAP is concerned, we want Tsu Koon to be the first Barisan Nasional
leader to stand up courageously by his conscience to state publicly
that the 929 declaration is undemocratic, illegal and
unconstitutional - made totally without consultation or prior agreement of the
other Barisan Nasional component parties.
and MCA MPs and leaders can try to turn over a new leaf after they had left or
lost their power and office, but the people of Malaysia would not have a second
chance to undo the disastrous mistake of giving full endorsement to the 929
declaration in the next general election - as this would be taken as a national
mandate to give legitimacy to the unconstitutional 929 declaration and
embark Malaysia on the largely irreversible
road of an Islamic state.
is why the DAP has launched the people’s awareness campaign to call on the
people of Penang to lead Malaysians to say “No to 911” and “No to
929” to save the country from terrorism and extremism
of any form as well as to preserve
the Merdeka Constitution and 1957 “social
contract” that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant
and progressive nation with Islam
as the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state.