PAS Islamic State blueprint has highlighted the fact the next general election will be decision-time for Malaysians to make the critical choice from three options with far-reaching future consequences – PAS Islamic state, UMNO Islamic state or uphold 46-year Merdeka Constitution that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): The Islamic State blueprint of PAS as reported by Singapore Straits Times and Malaysiakini in the last two days has highlighted the fact that the next general election will be decision-time for Malaysians to make the critical choice from three options with far-reaching consequences for future generations – PAS Islamic state according to its blueprint, UMNO Islamic State according to the “929 Declaration” of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad or uphold the 46-year Merdeka Constitution and spelt out unequivocally and unambiguously by Bapa Malaysia and first Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State, i.e. the nutshell of the DAP’s “No to 929” campaign.
Although the PAS Islamic State blueprint has not been officially announced, its main features as reported are:
One is reminded of the Shariah law passed by North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan earlier this month which has raised fears from both Muslim and non-Muslim Pakistanis of a Talibanisation of Pakistan, although the six-party Islamic coalition, the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), which passed the Islamic law gave assurance that the Islamic law would not apply to non-Muslims.
It has been reported that even before the passage of the Shariah Bill, the hard-line MMA government had begun cracking down on what it considers un-Islamic activities. Several movie houses had been shut and the remainder had been forced to paint over posters of women in Western clothes. Earlier, the authorities banned male coaches from training female athletes in the province and barred men from watching women’s sports events. In addition, they have called for compulsory reading of the Quran in schools and passed a resolution that only women doctors should carry out medical tests on female patients.
There had been negative reactions to the NWFP Shariah law from the Pakistani civil society, moderate Muslim groups and non-Muslims, like the Christian community, a typical reaction being the one from Father Jacob Dogra of the Catholic Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, which covers the whole province: “We are in God’s hands. We are very concerned; we never imagined that the bill would be approved by the legislative council.” (http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=36662)
The PAS Islamic State blueprint will reinforce the image that UMNO’s Islamic State is more moderate, progressive and modern in terms of social tolerance whatever the latter’s defects and flaws, particularly in the areas of democracy, human rights and good governance.
Of late, thinking Malaysians have been very concerned by the effects of the intensification in the competition between UMNO and PAS to out-Islam and even out-Islamic State each other even before the next general election, which explains the increase in the incidents of social intolerance as evidenced by the following:
In the next general election, a critical decision will have to be taken on the future of nation-building for Malaysia, whether Malaysians want to uphold the 46-year Merdeka Constitution of Tunku Abdul Rahman that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state, or Malaysia embark on the road of an Islamic state, whether UMNO or PAS.
In Malaysia today, DAP is the only political party whether in government or in Opposition standing clearly and unequivocally for the upholding of the 46-year Merdeka Constitution of Tunku Abdul Rahman that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State and to defend the democratic, secular and multi-religious basis of the Malaysian nation – which are the very prerequisites for Malaysia’s success in the highly competitive global arena in the information age.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman