Mahathir’s assurance of “Assimilation No, Integration Yes” is the strongest evidence that the “929 declaration” can be stopped if Malaysians speak loud and clear in next general election to uphold Tunku’s nation-building formula of a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state
Media Conference Statement
- when launching the DAP’s 46th National Day Celebrations and the “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign in Air Itam
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): Speaking at the Gerakan 32nd National Delegates Conference yesterday, the Prime Minister gave the strongest evidence that the arbitrary and unconstitutional “929 Declaration” that Malaysia was an Islamic state could be stopped if Malaysians speak loud and clear in the next general election to uphold Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman’s nation-building formula of a democratic, secular, multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.
Mahathir said the architect of national unity was the country’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman and repeated his message that the people should uphold and enhance the Tunku’s nation-building formula.
He said that the Barisan Nasional government was not keen on assimilation in a plural Malaysia and was interested in their integration.
He said: "And I am happy that at the end of my career this has happened. Those of Malay origin will retain their characteristics, their religion, language and culture... Malaysians of Chinese origin will maintain their culture, language and religion and similarly the Indians and people in Sabah and Sarawak ...will maintain their characteristics, religion and identity."
Mahathir said these differences should not be an obstacle for the citizens of this country to work together and integrate as Malaysians.(Bernama)
DAP commends Mahathir for having abandoned the assimilation policy in favour of integration as the basis of nation-building in plural Malaysia and for the courage of publicly admitting such a change of mind and policy about a decade ago.
DAP can feel proud that we had succeeded against great odds to stop and change the Malaysian nation-building policy from one of assimilation to that of integration, after the DAP had fought many battles and campaigns from the sixties to the eighties like the "No to One Language, One Culture, One Religion" campaign highlighted by the Kepayang by-election in Ipoh in 1983 and the "Save Bukit China Campaign" 1984.
The success to face up to the nation’s first nation-building test to reject assimilation and establish integration as the basis of nation-building in plural Malaysia should serve as an inspiration that in the second great nation-building test, defenders of Tunku’s nation-building formula of a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state can also triumph.
However, unlike the “Assimilation No, Integration Yes” campaign, the “No to Islamic State” campaign does not have the luxury of time. The DAP fought at least five general elections spanning two decades before we could succeed in our “Assimilation No, Integration Yes” objective and getting the Prime Minister himself to publicly admit that assimilation was not a viable option for plural Malaysia.
In contrast, the “No to Islamic State” campaign has only a few months left until the next general election to put a halt to all plans and efforts to implement the “929 Declaration” of Malaysia as an Islamic State – which will be a tectonic and irreversible shift of the nation-building process totally against the “social contract” reached by the forefathers of the major communities on attaining national independence, the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukunegara.
Malaysians have been asked to uphold and enhance the Tunku’s nation-building formula, but Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik seems to have forgotten Tunku’s stand when he should know what would have been the Tunku’s response to the question as to whether Bapa Malaysia would support the “929 Declaration” of Malaysia as an Islamic State.
Surely, Keng Yaik had not forgotten the historic speech by Tunku at his 80th birthday dinner on 8th February 1983 hosted by the Barisan Nasional, where Bapa Malaysia advised all Barisan Nasional leaders “not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State”?
There will be irresponsible leaders and voices who will try to resort to the politics of fear and falsehoods, by claiming that the “Yes to Islam as the official religion, No to Islamic State” call is aimed at pitting Muslims against non-Muslims, when this will the greatest disservice to the first three Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein, who by words and deeds dedicated themselves to the creation of a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state and the majority of Muslims in the country who do not support Malaysia becoming an Islamic state.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman