Lim Keng Yaik should explain why Gerakan has become the most important Barisan Nasional platform to convince the people that Malaysia is an Islamic State, going against Tunku’s nation-building formula and the fundamental principle in the “‘social contract”, the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukunegara of Malaysia as a secular nation with Islam as official religion
- at the 46th National Day Celebrations themed “Defend Secular Malaysia” at the Bukit Bendera parliamentary constituency
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Wednesday): Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik should explain why Gerakan has become the most important Barisan Nasional platform to convince the people that Malaysia is an Islamic State, going against Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman’s nation-building formula and the fundamental principle in the “‘social contract”, the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukunegara of Malaysia as a secular nation with Islam as the official religion.
It was at the Gerakan National Delegates Conference two years ago on 29th September 2001 that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad made the unilateral, arbitrary and unconstitutional “929 Declaration” that Malaysia was an Islamic state – although for 20 years from 1981-2001, he had fully endorsed the stand of the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn that Malaysia was conceived as a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.
What was even more shocking was that the unconstitutional and undemocratic “929 Declaration” was immediately given full support by Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership, although it violated not only the 46-year social compact reached by the major communities on the fundamental constitutional principle that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State, it also betrayed the 1968 founding Gerakan principle of Malaysia as a secular and not an Islamic state.
As a result, Keng Yaik has also distorted the meaning of the 1970 Rukunegara and the Vision 2020 proclaimed in 1991, giving them a totally different meaning as the ideological basis, rationale and justification for the unilateral, undemocratic and unconstitutional “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State. Can Keng Yaik explain how 11 years after its proclamation, the 30-year Vision 2020 in mid-stream suddenly became an Islamic State Vision 2020 to the Gerakan leadership?
Last month, the Gerakan 32nd National Delegates Conference was again the important Barisan Nasional forum to win national endorsement for the “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic state when Mahathir said that it was because the world recognized Malaysia as an Islamic State that Malaysia was asked to host the 10th Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in October on Oct. 16-18.
This is wrong and most misleading, as there is no pre-condition for a country hosting an OIC Summit to be an Islamic state. The OIC Summit also does not make the host country an Islamic State, just as Senegal’s hosting of the 6th OIC Summit in Dakar in December 1991 had not affected its constitutional position as a “secular republic” despite having 94 per cent Senegalese belonging to the Muslim faith.
Many OIC countries, like Turkey, Mali, Indonesia, Guinea, Niger and Saddam’s Iraq, had organized important OIC conferences but this had not affected their status as a secular state and not an Islamic state.
If leadership role in the OIC makes the country concerned an Islamic State, then Malaysia would have already become an Islamic State in 1971 when Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman became the first OIC Secretary-General. But this was not the case, as Tunku publicly called on the Barisan Nasional leaders and Malaysians at his 80th birthday celebrations dinner on 8th February 1983 “not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State”.
Just as Tunku’s becoming the first Secretary-General of OIC did not make Malaysia an Islamic State, similarly Malaysia’s hosting of the 10th OIC Summit next month will not make Malaysia an Islamic State. Whether Malaysia is an Islamic State does not depend on international recognition or membership of OIC, but whether the Malaysian people want it to become an Islamic State and whether it is compatible with the Constitution.
What is most significant is that the Charter of the OIC adopted in 1972 made no mention whatsoever of an Islamic State.
In the OIC, there 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 people 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 populations, and countries with Muslims 20 per cent or less in their populations 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 qualifies it to be an Islamic State?
The majority of the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world live in secular states and not in Islamic states. In fact, the majority of the 57 OIC nations are not Islamic states.
Who said this? None other than Mahathir himself. This is from the opening paragraph of Mahathir’s 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:
“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.”
If Keng Yaik cannot explain why Gerakan has become the Barisan Nasional vanguard to get national acceptance and endorsement for the undemocratic and unconstitutional “929 Declaration” which violates the fundamental nation-building principles and the very founding principles of Gerakan, then Gerakan officials at different levels, the Gerakan delegates and ordinary members should requisition an emergency Gerakan National Delegates Conference to demand the withdrawal of Gerakan support for the “929 Declaration” and reaffirm Tunku’s nation-building formula of a secular Malaysia with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman