Abdullah should uphold and reaffirm the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a secular multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): In the past two days, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had referred to the Merdeka “social contract” solemnly agreed to by the major communities as the foundation basis of the nation on the attainment of Independence in 1957.
At the Bukit Jalil National Stadium dinner jointly organized by MCA, Gerakan, SUPP, SAPP, LDP, the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia and the association representing seven major clans on Saturday, Abdullah gave an assurance that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government will continue to uphold the spirit of consensus which had been practised all this while to ensure that the policies and programmes adopted are for the benefit of all ethnic groups in the country.
At the Mesra Ria Aidilfitri Johor 2003 celebrations in Johore Bahru yesterday, Abdullah said the BN government had been practising power-sharing right from the start as it had proven to be the best formula.
He said: “Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun Sambanthan realized that in order for the country to progress and attain independence from the British, the people must unite and avoid misunderstandings. If there had been any misunderstanding or fight at that time, the British would have practiced the divide-and-rule policy. They would not have granted independence to us.”
Although Abdullah had harkened back to the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” of the major communities which laid the foundation basis for the nation in 1957, which was reaffirmed in the negoations with the people of Sabah and Sarawak in the establishment of Malaysia in 1963, it should be matter of grave concern that there had been the unilateral, arbitrary and unconstitutional attempt to alter the fundamental terms of the national consensus and the Merdeka “social contract” as in the “929 Declaration” of the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the Gerakan National Delegates Conference on Sept. 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic State.
Abdullah should uphold and reaffirm the 46-year national consensus and Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a secular multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State so as to ensure that he is not referring to a completely different “national consensus” and Merdeka “social contract” as that agreed by the major communities, their leaders as well as the first three Prime Ministers of the country, viz. Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman