I want to meet Keng Yaik with necessary documentary evidence to prove that he is completely wrong in claiming in Ipoh last Sunday that Malaysia was already an Islamic State when she achieved independence in 1957
- DAP Bukit Mertajam Dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
(Bukit Mertajam, Saturday): I had a shock of my life when I read the speech by the Gerakan President and the Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik in Ipoh last Sunday that Malaysia was already an Islamic State 46 years ago when she achieved independence in 1957.
I have no doubt that if the question had been asked in the first 44 years of Malaysian nationhood from 1957 to 2001 whether Malaysia was an Islamic State on achieving Merdeka, 100 per cent of all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans or Kadazans; whether Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs; and regardless of whether members of UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC or any other Barisan Nasional party or in Opposition, whether DAP, PAS or Parti Rakyat, the answer would have been a clear and unequivocal “No”! There would not be a single sane person who would have answered “Yes”.
Keng Yaik may have his reasons for his sudden and strange idea that Malaysia had always been an Islamic State since Independence in 1957 but he cannot unilaterally and arbitrarily re-write the constitution or the history of Malaysian nation-building.
Similarly, the “929 Declaration” by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the Gerakan National Delegates Conference on Sept. 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic State flies in the face of the 46-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone agreed by the major communities in the “social contract” on the nation’s attainment of independence, written into the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukunegara that Malaysia was conceived as a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO.
Just as Keng Yaik cannot single-handedly rewrite history to claim that Malaysia had always been an Islamic State since Independence in 1957, Mahathir cannot unilaterally, arbitrarily and unconstitutionally alter the constitutional principle that Malaysia is a secular nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.
Recently, Barisan Nasional leaders have found a new reason as to why Malaysia is an Islamic State – hosting the 10th Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in Putrajaya in the past week, claiming that the Islamic states of the world have recognized Malaysia’s status as an Islamic state.
Keng Yaik and other Gerakan and Barisan Nasional leaders should read MASSA (which is a UMNO-controlled weekly magazine) and other current publications to learn the fact that OIC is not an organization of Islamic states and Malaysia cannot therefore claim to be an Islamic State as host of the just-concluded 10th OIC Summit
This is what one article in the latest issue of MASSA (11 – 17 Oktober 2003) entitled “Kaya Miskin Negara OIC” said:
“Walaupun banyak negara OIC menjadikan Islam sebagai agama rasmi atau disenaraikan sebagai negara-negara Islam, ada juga beberapa negara yang merupakan negara secular, walaupun Islam menjadi agama dominant.
“Contohnya Mali, di mana antara 90 hingga 95 peratus daripada 11.6 juta penduduknya adalah beragama Islam, dan Niger dengan 80 peratus daripada 11.5 juta penduduknya adalah umat Islam.
“Guinea, salah sebuah negara Afrika yang kedudukan politiknya paling stabil, juga disenaraikan sebagai negara secular walaupun 85 peratus daripada 9.3 juta penduduknya adalah umat islam. Turki yang 99 peratus daripada 68 juta penduduknya beragama Islam, juga merupakan negara secular, bersama dengan Indonesia dan Iraq. Semasa pemerintahan Saddam Hussein kira-kira 97 peratus daripada 25 juta penduduk Iraq adalah beragama Islam.”
Mahathir 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, made the same admission when 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.”
Malaysia’s hosting of the OIC Summit therefore cannot transform Malaysia from a secular state with Islam as the official religion into an Islamic State, as the OIC is not an organization of Islamic States.
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 1.3 billion Muslims in the world live in secular states and not in Islamic states.
OIC has also members which can never be Islamic states because of their Muslim-minority populations, and countries with Muslims 20 per cent or less of their populations include Cameroon, Mozambique and Suriname (20%), Uganda (16%), Guyana (15%), Togo (12%) and Gabon (1%)
I am prepared to meet Keng Yaik with necessary documentary evidence to prove that he is completely wrong in claiming in Ipoh on Sunday that Malaysia was already an Islamic State when she achieved independence in 1957. I am prepared to listen to Keng Yaik and whatever proof in his possession to substantiate his ludicrous stand that Malaysia had been an Islamic State since Independence.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman