(Johore Bahru, Thursday):
While national attention is
currently focused on the 2003 Budget tomorrow, in particular as to whether there
will be increase or decrease of taxes, two events of the past two days will have
greater far-reaching consequences for the future of the nation, viz:
DAP National Publicity Secretary Ronnie Liu has just given us an account of the opening of the Selangor State Government’s “Understanding Malaysia as an Islamic State” seminar where he pointedly asked Mahathir during the short dialogue session about his “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State as a violation of the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the social contract and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement fundamental principle that Malaysia is a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State – whether UMNO Islamic State or PAS Islamic State.
Mahathir avoided giving a direct answer to Ronnie Liu’s specific question, only claiming that his “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State has the support of the majority of Malaysians as it does not involve any change of the Constitution or the status quo and “is only opposed by Lim Kit Siang who is politically bankrupt”.
At present, Mahathir’s “929 Declaration” is an unilateral and arbitrary declaration by one person, however exalted his position as Prime Minister, but which is still without the authority of Parliament, the mandate of the people and against the Merdeka Constitution, the social contract and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.
But who can guarantee that there will be no follow-up implementation measures to give Malaysia the fuller trappings of an Islamic State once the Barisan Nasional wins a landslide victory in the next general election which it could claim as the necessary national mandate and full endorsement of Mahathir’s “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State?
Although Mahathir says that his “929 Declaration” does not involve any change of the Constitution, who can guarantee that after a landslide Barisan Nasional victory in the next general election which will be trumpeted as an overwhelming national mandate for the “929 Declaration”, there will be no proposals to amend the Constitution to bring it fully in line with the “929 Declaration”?
In fact, even before the Barisan Nasional can claim a national mandate in support of the “929 Declaration”, there are already proposals for Constitutional amendments to “dispel any doubts that Malaysia is an Islamic State” by amending Article 4 of the Constitution to declare that the Quran and the Sunnah are the sources of the law of the Federation.
After the “929 Declaration” by Mahathir at the Gerakan national assembly on Sept. 29 last year, one official government publication made this important point about the “final objective” to establish an Islamic State in Malaysia:
“Dengan menerima negara ini sebagai sebuah negara Islam bukan bermakna ianya telah selesai segala tuntutannya. Kesempurnaannya perlu kepada pengisian daripada kita, sama juga seorang Muslim yang diakui sebagai Muslim selepas mengucap dua kalimah syahadah bukan bermakna Muslimnya sudah sempurna, kesempurnaan Islamnya bergantung kepada proses peningkatan ilmu & penghayatan Islam pada dirinya.”
The Selangor State Government seminar on “Understanding Malaysia as an Islamic State” is one of the initial steps towards the final objective to give Malaysia the fuller trappings of an Islamic State after the “929 Declaration”, which will be an unending spiral in the relentless rivalry and competition between UMNO and PAS not only to out-Islam but also out-Islamic State each other.
This trend can be clearly discerned from one of the 12 papers presented at the Selangor State Government seminar. On “Malaysia as an Islamic State: A Political Analysis”, Prof. Dr. Abdul Rashid Moten of the Department of Political Science, International Islamic University Malaysia gave the following conclusion:
“Judged by the above principles, it would seem that Malaysia fulfils the requirement of an Islamic State…It cannot be denied that Malaysia’s ‘Islamic State’ status did not measure up to the requirements as rigidly specified by the earlier Ulama. This would simply mean that there is ample room for improvement.”
Except that after the next general election, in giving Malaysia the fuller trappings of an Islamic state in line with the “929 Declaration”, non-Muslims in Malaysia will have no say whatsoever for the simple reason that they will have no part in policy-making in an Islamic State – whether Islamic State ala-UMNO or Islamic State ala-PAS.
The reduction of non-Muslims to second citizenship in an Islamic State is the logical and unavoidable result of the ideological definition of an Islamic State, which has been publicly admitted by the Acting PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who recently conceded that a non-Muslim could have a say in policy-making on general issues such as housing and transportation but not on substantive nation-building issues.
The establishment of an Islamic state – whether UMNO Islamic State or PAS Islamic State – will be going against the very grain of the fundamental constitutional principles enshrined in the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the social contract and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, and this is why the DAP has launched the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” People’s Awareness Campaign to ensure that Malaysia does not deviate from the nation-building cornerstones agreed by the nation’s founding fathers from the major communities and reaffirmed repeatedly by the first three Prime Ministers of Malaysia – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn that Malaysia is a secular nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.