DAP’s proposed five-point “No Islamic State”position for Barisan Alternative which was not accepted by PAS and which led to DAP’s departure from the opposition front

opening of the Johore Karaoke Open Contest organised by Minyak Beku DAP Branch
Lim Kit Siang

(Batu PahatSunday): Today’s press carried the Bernama report headlined PAS Changes Strategy In Facing Next General Election” which said: 

“KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 (Bernama) -- PAS will no longer promise voters the implementation of the Hudud (Islamic Penal Code) laws and the setting up of an Islamic State in the next general elections, according to its acting president, Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang.

”In his mandate on the party's election strategy, entitled 'Formulas For Success', Abdul Hadi states that this huge sacrifice has to be made to avoid creating a massive rift among the partners of the opposition pact, styled as the Barisan Alternatif.

”Hadi states that at the national level, PAS has to support provisions on Islam as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and as practised at the Federal level.

”The document, dated Jan 18, was distributed to the party's top leaders throughout the country over the past few months.

”In the mandate, however, Abdul Hadi states that in two States -- Kelantan and Terengganu -- PAS will maintain its manifesto on its intention to set up an Islamic administration to serve as the role model to the other States.

”Abdul Hadi states that in Kelantan and Terengganu, PAS' image should be portrayed as a party which does not need to be propped up by the other opposition partners.

”According to the document, PAS at the Federal level was discussing with Kedah PAS and Perlis PAS to adopt a similar approach.

”In that way, the DAP will also be saved from attacks by its political opponents for colluding with PAS in setting up an Islamic State.

”Abdul Hadi wants to ensure that the approaches adopted by PAS do not undermine the DAP for as long as PAS' ambition is met.”

DAP leaders are as surprised as anyone at this Bernama report, which was reported by all language newspapers, for two reassons: 

  • The Bernama report is completely misleading as the DAP does not have any pact with PAS after the DAP had pulled out of the Barisan Alternative in September 2001; and
  • This is the first time any DAP leader had  heard of such a “Hadi mandate” dated January 18 to allegedly change its strategy on the issue of Islamic state.

Before any comment can be made on the alleged “Hadi mandate”, it must be established whether the Bernama report is correct and true and not a concocted report.

While we wait for clarification on the veracity of  the Bernama report on the “Hadi mandate”, what can be stated is that the DAP’s stand on the Islamic state issue had always been constant, consistent and principled in the past 37 years. 

The DAP helped to establish the Barisan Alternative (BA)  with PAS, Keadilan and Parti Rakyat Malaysia in 1999 with the sole objective to crush the political hegemony of the Barisan Nasional and end its unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority to advance the objectives as spelt out in the 1999 general election BA common manifesto “Towards A Just Malaysia” which had nothing to do with PAS’ objective of an Islamic State. 

Immediately after the 1999 general election, DAP had wanted the BA to address the people’s concerns about the Islamic State issue but we found no support from the other BA component parties despite persistent attempts by the DAP in 2000.  As a result, DAP decided to engage PAS in direct discussion on the issue in 2001, where we proposed a five-point position for Barisan Alternative on the Islamic State issue. 

When talks broke down between the DAP and PAS leaders on the DAP’s five-point formula for the  BA position on the Islamic State issue, DAP was left with no choice but to pull out of the opposition front. 

The DAP’s five-point ”No Islamic State” proposal for the BA position were: 

  • That the 1999 BA Manifesto “Towards A Just Malaysia”, while respecting the different ideological positions of component parties, binds every party during the duration of the BA to a commitment to uphold and respect the fundamental principles and basic structures of the Malaysian Constitution and to give  the  assurance that there would be no radical change to the Malaysian Constitution such as for the establishment of an Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu  or Christian state. Any effort by any component party to pursue the establishment of an Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu  or Christian state will be against the BA Manifesto.
  • A clear reiteration that under the BA Manifesto, a vote for BA is a vote for democracy, justice and good governance and not a vote for an Islamic State  and PAS agrees that in the duration of the BA, PAS would at all levels of the party join forces with other BA parties to strive for A Just Malaysia and not for an Islamic State
  • BA Presidential Council to be given prior notice of any proposed enactment or measure in the Kelantan and Terengganu state governments which could impinge on the sensitivities of the different religions, communities and political parties to allow for fullest consultation and agreement.
  • A special BA committee to be set up to ensure that controversial or sensitive pronouncements or statements affecting religious and other rights which are against the BA manifesto are only made after prior consultation and to deal with cases of infraction.
  • Although PAS is committed to the objective of an Islamic State,  it accepts the fact that in a plural society like Malaysia, the establishment of an Islamic State is not suitable  or practicable.



* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman