Keng Yaik – Are you senile and in dotage to believe that Malaysia was already an Islamic State when she achieved independence 46 years ago?
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Tuesday): I must ask the Gerakan President and the Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik whether he is senile to believe that Malaysia was already an Islamic State when she achieved independence in 1957 46 years go?
This is because no sober or rational person would make such a ridiculous claim advanced by Keng Yaik at the Gerakan Ipoh Timur Division Opening Dinner in Ipoh on Sunday.
Has Keng Yaik already suffered from dotage to forget that twenty years ago, on 8th February 1983, at the grand Barisan Nasional dinner on the occasion of the 80th birthday of Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman gave what was his “legacy” speech reminding Barisan Nasional leaders and Malaysians “Not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State” – which he had given full support and was the front-page headline of all language newspapers the next morning?
Has Keng Yaik forgotten that four days after Tunku’s injunction that plural Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic State, the third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, on the occasion of his 61st birthday, publicly supported Tunku’s call reiterating that Malaysia was set up “as a secular state with Islam as the official religion” as enshrined in the Constitution.
If Keng Yaik has forgotten these two important episodes, I have the newspaper cuttings of the events of 20 years ago, and I am prepared to show them to him, to jog his memory to recall the fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone on which this nation was founded, as agreed by the major communities in the “social contract” on achieving independence and entrenched in the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukungeara 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!
Has Keng Yaik forgotten all the speeches and statements made by him and other Gerakan leaders in the three decades before the “929 Declaration” – where the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad arbitrarily, unilaterally and unconstitutionally declared at the Gerakan National Delegates Conference on Sept. 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic State – that Malaysia was never conceived to be an Islamic State?
Keng Yaii’s argument that Malaysia is an Islamic State as 55% of the population are Muslims is most ridiculous.
If so, then Indonesia, which has the world’s most number of Muslims numbering 203 million comprising 88 per cent of its population, should be an Islamic State. But is Keng Yaik aware that Indonesia is not an Islamic State but a secular republic, with Islamic scholars in Indonesia declaring “Islam Yes, Islamic State No!”?
Turkey’s 67 million population has an even higher concentration of Muslims – 99.8 per cent, but it is not an Islamic State but constitutionally declared as a secular state.
If Keng Yaik has decided go “eat” his own words and those of Gerakan leaders of the past three decades that Malaysia is a secular and not an Islamic State, he should be honest and just admit that he has changed his stand to suit the “929 Declaration” of Mahathir that Malaysia is an Islamic State, and not try to distort the fundamental character of the 46-year constitution of Malaysia by making the ridiculous claim that Malaysia had been an Islamic State on achieving independence and do a grave disservice and injustice to the first three Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn who had consistently held that Malaysia is not an Islamic state.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman