Gerakan leadership  has failed its self-proclaimed role as “keeper of the Barisan Nasional conscience” when it supported the undemocratic and  unconstitutional “929 Declaration” and for two years dared not seek the mandate of the Gerakan delegates for such  support

Media Conference Statement
when launching the DAP’s 46th National Day Celebrations and the “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign in Jelutong parliamentary constituency
Lim Kit Siang

(PenangTuesday): The Gerakan 32nd National Delegates Conference in Kuala Lumpur last weekend was  a great political letdown  as the leadership dared not touch on  the most important issue – its political  inconsistency and betrayal of the founding principles of the nation and the party  in supporting the “929 Declaration” after three decades of opposing the establishment of an   Islamic State in Malaysia.

The  Gerakan 32nd National Delegates Conference is the third annual conference where the Gerakan leadership dared not openly seek the mandate of the Gerakan delegates for full support for the undemocratic, arbitrary and unconstitutional “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State, as  the Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership know  that they are guilty of a great political wrong and moral  cowardice in supporting the “929 Declaration”.

In fact, a few days before the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad made the unilateral, arbitrary and unconstitutional “929 Declaration” that Malaysia was an Islamic State at the Gerakan National Delegates Conference on Sept. 29, 2001, Gerakan leaders were publicly denouncing  the concept of an Islamic State in the Sarawak state general elections campaign as most dangerous and totally unacceptable  for plural Malaysia, while  falsely accusing the DAP for  supporting and helping PAS to bring about the establishment of an Islamic State.

Gerakan leaders have always prided themselves as the “conscience” of the Barisan Nasional.  For the past two years, Keng Yaik could not  explain why the Gerakan leaders had failed to play their self-proclaimed  role as the “keeper of the Barisan Nasional conscience” by reminding the Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional leadership that the “929 Declaration” runs counter to the “social contract” reached by the forefathers of the major communities on attaining national independence, the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, the 1970 Rukunegara  and the public call by Bapa Malaysia and the  first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman at his 80th birthday dinner hosted by Barisan Nasional on February 8, 1983  to all Barisan Nasional leaders and Malaysians  “not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State”? 

The total silence of Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership  at their national delegates conference last weekend, as well as at  the two previous national delegates’ conference, on their unprincipled support for the “929 Declaration” is most deafening–  the strongest proof that they have no good or sound reason whatsoever except for sheer political expediency and opportunism.

It is 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 of  Malaysia as 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 have had  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.

If Keng Yaik still 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 or his predecessor Gerakan President, Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu to advise him.

Keng Yaik would want Malaysians to forget about the “929 Declaration” until he is no more Gerakan President and Cabinet Minister – just as he answered on Sunday  “We will cross the bridge when we come to it” when asked whether UPSR mathematics and science from 2008 would be fully conducted in the English language following the introduction of the 2-4-3 formula for the teaching of mathematics and science in English from Std. One in Chinese primary schools, knowing he would not be around in 2008 to “cross the bridge”.

The DAP’s “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign in conjunction with the 46th National Day Celebrations is to focus the people  on the far-reaching implications of the “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State NOW  and not wait until five, ten or twenty years, when Keng Yaik is no more around in the political arena and it is too late to cry over spilt milk.

As a serious, honest and responsible political party which prides itself as the “Keeper of the moral conscience of the Barisan Nasional”, Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership owe the Malaysian people of all races and religions a full and  frank explanation as to why they had deviated from the founding principles of the nation and party  that Malaysia is a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State!

They should explain why they are not prepared to take an honest, principled and consistent stand to defend  Malaysia’s secular order as provided in the “social contract”, the Merdeka Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement and the Rukunegara  and to oppose any advocacy  of  an Islamic state, whether from PAS, UMNO or whatever quarter.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman