Tunku would have been in the fore-front spearheading the "No to 929 Campaign" with Hussein Onn as his second-in-command to defend the fundamental constitutional principle of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion if both are still alive today
- Perak DAP Tunku Centennial forum
by Lim Kit Siang
may seem inapposite that we should be gathered here tonight to remember
Tunku Abdul Rahman on the centennial birthday of Bapa Malaysia and the first
Prime Minister of Malaysia, when there are so many pressing concerns in the
country, whether it be the post-Saddam world after the Iraq war or the new
killer SARS virus outbreak which is causing such a global havoc with the
relentless increase of the daily death toll.
But the issues which we are focusing tonight on Tunku's centennial will be staying on with us, affecting not only our future and rights but those of our children and children's children, and that of the whole nation, for decades and generations to come.
It is strange that it is the DAP which is organizing tonight's Tunku centennial when it should have been organized by the government. The DAP seems to be the only one in the country to remember Tunku.
The government would have
completely forgotten about the Tunku's birthday centenary on Feburary 8 this
year if the DAP had not issued a public reminder in January, leading to a
hastily cobbled-up programme of government programmes not so much in the
spirit of initiating a series of nation-wide activities to give meaningful
commemoration on the occasion of Tunku's centennial, but just to avoid the
accusation that it had forgotten about Bapa Malaysia's birthday centenary.
Pos Malaysia was instructed to issue a commemorative postage stamp but with
such short notice, it could not get the Tunku's commemorative postage stamp
out until a month after the anniversary proper in early March.
Tonight, I will like to focus on what the present and future generations can and should learn from Tunku. I asked myself what Tunku would be doing if he is alive and still with us today.
I have no doubt that if Tunku is still with us today, he would have been in the fore-front spearheading the "No to 929 Campaign" with Hussein Onn as his second-in-command - if the third Prime Minister is also alive today - to defend the fundamental constitutional principle of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion.
Both Tunku and Hussein Onn would have understood the far-reaching import and peril of the "929 Declaration" by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in unilaterally, arbitrarily and unconstitutionally declaring at the Gerakan national delegates' conference on Sept. 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic state, going against everything both had fought and stood for in the founding of Malaya in 1957 and Malaysia in 1963.
Both Tunku and Hussein Onn would not only have understood, but would have spoken out publicly to forewarn Malaysians against giving endorsement, whether explicit or tacit, to the "929 Declaration" in the next general election by urging them not to fall victim to the false choice of deciding between PAS' version of an "extremist" Islamic state and Mahathir's version of a "moderate" Islamic state - when the real choice must be to defend the 46-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO.
Once Malaysians in the next general election extend even tacit support to the "929 Declaration" by giving the Barisan Nasional an overwhelming landslide victory, Malaysia would embark on the road of an Islamic State with far-reaching constitutional, legal, political, economic, educational, social and religious consequences.
Once Malaysians, whether knowingly or unknowingly, accept that Malaysia is an Islamic state, even of the "moderate" variety presently advocated by Mahathir, non-Muslims would have disenfranchised themselves and forfeited a fundamental citizenship right - for they would have removed themselves from the important decision-making process in the evolution in Malaysia as an Islamic state which, by its definition, can only be decided by Muslims in Malaysia!
But we do not have Tunku or Hussein Onn to sound the alarm about the peril of Mahathir's "929 Declaration". This should be serious food for thought not only for the forum tonight, but for all Malaysians.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman