Compulsory daily doa selamat recitation for non-Muslim pupils at Convent Lebuh Light national primary school – such insensitivities will not be so easily resolved after the next general election
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Wednesday): Penang State Exco Member on Economic, Education and Human Resources Development Datuk Dr. Toh Kin Woon is to be commended for intervening in the controversy over the compulsory daily doa selamat recitation for non-Muslim pupils at the Convent Lebuh Light national primary school in Penang although he would concede that the approach of the coming general election has a major bearing on its temporary resolution.
However, after the next general election, if the “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic state is seen as having received popular endorsement as in a landslide Barisan Nasional victory, then such insensitivities will not be so easily addressed or resolved, and even Dr. Toh in such a situation might not be able to do much, whatever his personal beliefs and inclinations.
There are forces at work stronger and more powerful than individuals or political parties, which explain why there have recently been a spate of insensitive and intolerant incidents which would have been unthinkable whether in the early years of Independence or even before the “929 Declaration” by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that Malaysia is an Islamic State at the Gerakan national delegates’ conference on Sept. 29, 2001, such as:
Before the next general election, it is possible to get these insensitive regulations and measures rescinded or modified – but it will be a completely different ball-game if the “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State can claim national electoral endorsement in the next polls.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman