Keng Yaik should remember Tunku’s injunction 20 years ago to all Barisan Nasional leaders “not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state” and ask the Gerakan national delegates conference this weekend to retract the “929 Declaration” which arbitrarily and unconstitutionally declared that Malaysia was an Islamic state
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Tuesday): Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik bragged yesterday that if Karpal Singh and I re-contest in Penang in the next general election, Gerakan will “get rid of them”, accusing us of “consorting with the devil (PAS)”. (Nanyang)
Why this sudden oratorical pyrotechnics by Keng Yaik against Karpal and myself when the general election will only be called after Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has taken over as Prime Minister from Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who will step down in October?
The reason is quite simple. Keng Yaik is staging his pyrotechnics for the benefit of the Gerakan National Delegates Conference this weekend as, like “a thief with a guilty conscience”, he wants to distract attention from the fact that it was at the Gerakan national delegates conference two years ago on Sept. 29, 2001 that the unilateral, arbitrary and unconstitutional “929 Declaration” that Malaysia was an Islamic State was made by Mahathir with Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership being the first to give swift and opportunistic support.
It is coming to two years since Gerakan provided the platform and became the first Barisan Nasional component party to give Mahathir and UMNO the full endorsement to make a tectonic shift in nation-building by deviating from the 1957 “social contract” of the major communities and the fundamental Merdeka Constitutional principle that Malaysia shall be a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.
In these two years, Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership should have ample time to realize the far-reaching implications of the “929 Declaration” and the grave error of their betrayal of Gerakan’s own founding principle for over three decades that Malaysia was established as a secular and not an Islamic state.
Instead of trying to distract attention from the Gerakan’s opportunistic and unprincipled support for the “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State by making personal attacks on Karpal and myself, Keng Yaik should be honest with the Malaysian people and explain in his presidential speech at the Gerakan delegates conference why he had led Gerakan to betray the fundamental founding principles of the nation since 1957 and Gerakan since 1968.
If Keng Yaik has doubts as to whether the 1968 founding Gerakan principle stands for a secular Malaysia and not an Islamic state, he should invite the founding President of Gerakan, Professor Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas, to the Gerakan National Delegates Conference this weekend to give a full exposition.
Keng Yaik was being doubly opportunistic and irresponsible when he persists in his lies that the DAP had supported the Islamic State objective of PAS.
The DAP’s stand on the Islamic state issue had always been constant, consistent and principled in the past 37 years, whether before, during or after the DAP’s participation in the Barisan Alternative.
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 “No Islamic State” formula for the BA, 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:
The PAS leadership were prepared to accept Points 3 and 4 but not Points 1, 2 and 5.
From the full endorsement given by Keng Yaik and the Gerakan to the “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic state, it would appear that Gerakan would not be able to accept all the five points of the DAP’s “No Islamic State” formula – with suitable modifications in Points 3 and 4 where all reference to Barisan Alternative is substituted by reference to Barisan Nasional.
Keng Yaik should not only explain why he had led Gerakan to betray the “social contract” and founding principles of the Merdeka Constitution of 1957 and the founding principles of the Gerakan in 1968, he should also explain why he had forgotten the injunction specifically given to him and all other Barisan Nasional leaders by Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman at the latter’s 80th birthday grand dinner specially hosted by the Barisan Nasional on Feb. 8, 1983 “not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state”.
For the 2003 Gerakan National Deleages Conference this weekend, Keng Yaik should remember Tunku’s injunction 20 years ago to all Barisan Nasional leaders “not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state” and ask the Gerakan national delegates conference to retract the “929 Declaration” which arbitrarily and unconstitutionally declared that Malaysia was an Islamic state by returning to the founding principles of the 46-year Merdeka Constitution and 33-year Gerakan.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman