Tuesday’s MCA Presidential Council should take policy decision to withdraw support for “929 Declaration” and reaffirm support for 46-year Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a secular democracy with Islam as official religion but not an Islamic State
- at the DAP 2004 General Election Post-Election Conference of DAP MPs, State Assemblymen and candidates
by Lim Kit Siang
(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): DAP’s Kinta Valley mission in the 2004 general election to create a bridgehead to defend and uphold the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO, is beginning to have far-reaching effects following its endorsement by the people of Kinta Valley with DAP victory in Ipoh Timor, Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah parliamentary constituencies and seven state assembly seats in Perak State.
I had stressed during the short 7 ½ day election campaign that the DAP decision to make Perak the second front-line state after Penang was prompted by the failure of the DAP’s earlier “No to 929 Campaign” to make Malaysian voters aware by the time Parliament was dissolved that the 2004 general election was a great and critical nation-building test to decide whether the Merdeka “social contract” was to live on as a national charter or be abandoned and thrown into the dustbin of history, paving the way for Malaysia to embark on the road of an Islamic State.
The DAP Kinta Valley mission was conceived to ensure that despite the failure of the “No to 929” campaign to create nation-wide public awareness about the importance of the 2004 general election to preserve the Merdeka “social contract”, a bridgehead must be created in the Kinta Valley to send out the loud and unmistakable message that any landslide Barisan Nasional election victory as a result of the Abdullah factor could not be used later as a mandate for the abandonment of the “social contract” to embark Malaysia on the road of an Islamic State.
I always believed that it is not only non-Malays who will oppose the abandonment of the Merdeka “social contract” if they are aware of the facts of the political situation, the majority of Malays and Muslims also do not want Malaysia to become an Islamic State.
However, political conditions have altered considerably in the past two decades inhibiting moderate Malay and Muslim leaders from emulating the examples of Bapa Malaysia and first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, second Prime Minister, Tun Razak and third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn from speaking out publicly to defend the Merdeka “social contract’ and to remind Malaysians that Malaysia was never conceived to be an Islamic State.
With the competition between UMNO and PAS intensifying in the past five years to out-Islamise and out-Islamic State each other to win the electoral support of the Malay heartland, the 2004 general election ran the risk of being used as a mandate to justify the abandonment of the Merdeka “social contract” for the establishment of an Islamic State, albeit of a so-called “moderate” form as envisaged in the UMNO’s “929 Declaration”!
As justification for the DAP’s Kinta Valley mission, we argued that if the non-Malays and non-Muslims themselves agree to the abandonment of the Merdeka “social contract” and for Malaysia to embark on the road of an Islamic State, then the “silent majority” of Malays and Muslims in the country who oppose an Islamic State would be completely silenced.
The DAP’s Kinta Valley mission was therefore to preserve a window of opportunity for the defence and upholding of the Merdeka “social contract”, not only among non-Malays and non-Muslims but also among the Malays and Muslims.
The speech by the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, at the launching of the International Buddhist Forum 2004 organised by Young Buddhist Association Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur is an indication of the power of the “Kinta Valley effect” invoked by the DAP.
Ka Ting attributed the landslide Barisan Nasional victory to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi advocacy of a “moderate secular Islamic state” which guarantees freedom of religion.
Although an “Islamic secular state” is an oxymoron, claiming to be two totally contradictory things at one and the same time, what is significant is that Ka Ting had never used the word “secular” in the entire general election campaign.
Although Ka Ting’s speech about a “secular Islamic State” is only used in the Chinese press and not in the English and Malay press, including the MCA-owned Star, it is clear that the MCA leadership is feeling the pressure of the “Kinta Valley effect” of the 2004 general election to uphold and preserve the Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.
Tuesday’s MCA Presidential Council should take the policy decision to withdraw support for the “929 Declaration” and reaffirm support for the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a secular democracy with Islam as official religion but not an Islamic State. Furthermore, the MCA Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs should not talk about a “secular Islamic State” only in the Chinese press, while avoiding it completely in the English and Malay press or when talking to UMNO leaders.
DAP will be presenting this issue clearly and frontally in the first Parliamentary meeting, and I hope MCA Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs will fully support the DAP’s call for the revocation of the “929 Declaration” and the upholding and preservation of the Merdeka “social contract”.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor