Call on Malaysians, both Muslims and non-Muslims, to follow closely the 10th OIC Summit as it would affect their rights and interests in future
- DAP Muar anniversary dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
(Muar, Sunday): Malaysians, both Muslims and non-Muslims, should follow closely the 10th Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit currently being held in Putrajaya as it would affect their rights and interests in future.
It is wrong and a mistake for non-Muslim Malaysians to adopt the attitude that the OIC Summit has nothing to do with them, as all Malaysian citizens, regardless of religion, have a right and duty not only to follow closely its proceedings but to have an input and to participate in Malaysia’s various stands at the OIC Summit for the simple reason that it would affect their rights and those of future generations.
Two weeks ago, during the winding-up of the policy debate on the 2004 Budget in Parliament on Monday (29.9.03), the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Brig.Jen. Datuk Abdul Hamid bin Haji Zainal Abidin claimed that Malaysia’s hosting of the OIC Summit is both a proof as well as world recognition that Malaysia is an Islamic State.
Hamid is gravely mistaken as Malaysia’s hosting of the OIC Summit cannot transform Malaysia from a secular state with Islam as the official religion into an Islamic State as OIC is not an organization of Islamic States.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had publicly acknowledged the the OIC is not a gathering of Islamic States in his keynote address at a symposium on “The Islamic World and Global Co-operation: Preparing for the 21st Century” organized by the Institute of Islamic Understanding of Malaysia-Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in Petaling Jaya on April 25, 1997, where he said:
“Let me start by looking at the Islamic World itself. There are at the moment not less than 56 countries which are members of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). Not all these countries have Muslim majorities and fewer still officially accept Islam as the state religion.”
In fact, the number of Islamic States in the OIC are a tiny minority as the overwhelming majority of the 57 member nations in OIC are secular and not Islamic States. The majority of the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world live in secular states and not in Islamic states.
In the OIC, there are many member countries which have populations with overwhelming Muslim majorities but which are secular and not Islamic states like Indonesia with 88% Muslim population of 203 million Muslims and Turkey with 99.8% Muslim population with 67 million people.
OIC has also members which can never be Islamic states because of their Muslim-minority population, and countries with 20 per cent or less Muslims in their population include Cameroon, Mozambique and Suriname (20%), Uganda (16%), Guyana (15%), Togo (12%) and Gabon (1%)
If countries with Muslim population ranging from 1% to 20% are also members of the OIC, how could any country claim that hosting an OIC summit or membership of OIC makes it an Islamic State?
In fact, former communist and atheist Russia has expressed interest in joining the OIC and Malaysia has expressed its support – and this is why the Russian President V. Putin is coming on Thursday to attend the OIC Summit in Putrajaya.
As OIC is not an organization of Islamic States, and Malaysia is not an Islamic State, Hamid’s claims that Malaysia’s hosting of OIC Summit is both proof as well as international recognition that Malaysia is an Islamic State are groundless and unfounded.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman