Putrajaya should not only have a Putrajaya mosque but also places of worship of other religions, like a Christian church and Buddhist and Hindu temples, to give concrete meaning to Malaysia’s multi-religious character and the first principle of Rukunegara on “Belief in God”
- DAP 37th anniversary anniversary dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
(Batu Gajah, Wednesday): The 46-year “social contract” agreed by the forefathers of the major communities in the founding of the nation at its independence, and reaffirmed in the negotiations with the people of Sabah and Sarawak in the formation of Malaysia, entrenched in the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukunegara is that Malaysia is a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO.
For this reason, Putrajaya, the new administrative capital, should not only have a very impressive Putrajaya mosque, with a 116m tall minaret designed after the Sheikh Oman Mosque in Baghdad and can accommodate 15,000 people, it should also have places of worship of other religions, like a Christian church and Buddhist and Hindu temples, to give concrete meaning to Malaysia’s multi-religious character and the first principle of Rukunegara on “Belief in God”.
Is the Government under the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, prepared to announce its agreement to the construction of non-Muslim places of worship in Putrajaya?
I am very concerned that the majority of Malaysians do not realize that the next general election will be the most important of the 11 general elections in the nation’s history, affecting the rights of the present and future generations of Malaysians, as at stake is the 46-year “social contract” which had formed the basis of Malaysian nation-building since Merdeka in 1957 – that Malaysia is a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO.
The window of opportunity to defend the 46-year “social contract” is closing and closing fast and what is left is only a matter of months before Malaysia embarks on the irreversible road of an Islamic State – starting with the “moderate” Islamic State of UMNO but which will immediately be confronted with the continuing PAS challenge and competition to deepen the characteristics and credentials of its “Islamic State” to progressively approximate the PAS model.
The civil society, whether human rights groups, NGOs, Chinese organizations, the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikkhism (MCCBCHS), should be in the forefront of a national movement to defend the 46-year social contract which is facing the critical test of de-recognition and de-legitimization in the next general election.
If the Barisan Nasional wins a landslide victory in the next general election, it would be regarded and used as a national mandate to abandon the 46-year “social contract” and to embark Malaysia on the irreversible road of an Islamic State ala-“929 Declaration”, starting with a “one state with two systems” formula before reaching “one-state, one-system” of a full Islamic State.
After such a landslide Barisan Nasional victory in the next general election, Malaysians who still remain true and loyal to the Merdeka “social contract” of a secular and multi-religious Malaysia with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State would be told that the 46-year “social contract” had become history, replaced by a new social compact of Malaysia as an Islamic State.
Malaysians must give serious thought as to whether in the next general election they are prepared to see the derecognition and delegitimization of the 46-year “social contract”, consigning it to the dustbin of history.
The defenders of the 46-year “social contract” face great and insuperable odds – they are not only in a race against time; face widespread ignorance, indifference or apathy among the people; they also run the risk of being maligned as being anti-Malay and anti-Islam when the opposition to an Islamic State stems from an opposition to any religious state in plural Malaysia, whether it be Islamic State, Christian State, Hindu State or Buddhist State and not anti-religion, least of all anti-Islam.
In the early decades of Malaysian nationhood, there were Malay leaders like the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn who were honest, principled and courageous to publicly declare and defend the Merdeka “social contract” of Malaysia as a secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.
Such outspoken Malay leaders have virtually disappeared from the political scene although the majority of Muslims in Malaysia privately do not support Malaysia becoming an Islamic state.
The recent speech by former Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at the 12th Malaysian Law Conference that Malaysian nation-building is at the “crossroad in our history” should be serious food for thought for all Malaysians who have the interests of future generations at heart – in particular the civil society, whether human rights groups, NGOs, Chinese organizations or the MCCBCHS.
Tengku Razaleigh paid tribute to nation’s “founding fathers and our past leaders” for the “vision, strength and singleness of purpose in defending the principle of the social contract enshrined in our Constitution” and said that the “new development is negative in nature” and “run counters to what our past leaders have striven to build all these years”.
Tengku Razaleigh posed a most pertinent question:
“We have to decide whether we continue to build our nation according to its original plan, or to allow a new architect to build a ‘twin tower’ on a foundation that was meant only to support a single and solitary structure since this nation was born”.
Clearly dismayed by people “talking openly of their desire to make Malaysia a state with a dual system”, he said:
“What might have once appeared as a strange and peculiar suggestion has now become a political manifesto able to garner some measure of public support. I have no wish to speculate as to the outcome of any future elections. It will be sad indeed if this ‘one state with two systems’ ideology were to continue to have followings, even those in power today may make the necessary ‘political adjustments’ in order to continue receiving the electoral support to remain in office.”
It is clear that Tengku Razaleigh was not just referring to PAS which wants to establish an Islamic State in Malaysia, but also the followers of the “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State, with MCA and Gerakan apologists claiming that Malaysia is “one state with two systems”. This may be why the first political leader to respond to Razaleigh’s speech was the MCA Deputy President Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy who claimed that Malaysia was already a “one state with two systems” nation and “non-Muslims have already accepted it as a way of life”. (Sun 13.12.03)
Malaysia is indeed at the crossroads and the next general election to be held in a matter of months will decide whether to defend, reaffirm and uphold the 46-year “social contract” or to allow it to be de-recognised, de-legitimised and abandoned to give credibility to a new claim that the 1957 “Social Contract” was no more and had been replaced by a new social compact of Malaysia as an Islamic State.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman