Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Wednesday, 19th November 2008 at 11 am: 

Imputation that I had been dishonest and opportunistic in signing on behalf of DAP a “secret” compact to uphold Malay rights and status of Islam as the official religion baseless, mischievous and unworthy of a professional journalist 

Star Editor-in-Chief Wong Chun Wai in his blog yesterday on “The realities of Malaysian politics” wrote:

“Anwar Ibrahim has revealed a signed document between himself, DAP's Lim Kit Siang and PAS' Hadi Awang that none of us have heard of until now - an agreement to uphold the rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution. The Sept 8 agreement pledged to uphold Malay rights and the status of Islam as the official religion.

”Anwar also said that the social contract between the races were already agreed upon by all members of the coalition. He also revealed that the four-paragraph agreement could not be changed by any party, according to The Star.”

The imputation that I had signed on behalf of DAP a “secret” compact with the other Pakatan Rakyat leaders to uphold Malay rights and the status of Islam as the official religion as provided in the Federal Constitution is baseless, mischievous and unworthy of a professional journalist.

This is because Wong’s insinuation imported the innuendo that the DAP and I had all along opposed these two constitutional provisions but in a most opportunistic and dishonest act of political expediency, I had agreed in Pakatan Rakyat to a secret document “none of us have heard of until now” to support them.

The September 8 joint statement by Pakatan Rakyat leaders which Anwar referred to in the Star report yesterday, “Anwar: Pakatan committed to ensuring Malay rights”, which was signed by Anwar as the PKR leader, Datuk Husam Musa as PAS National Vice President and myself on behalf of DAP, was issued to all media, including the Star. I put it up on my blog the same day.

Wong has only himself to blame if he did not keep himself informed of what actually happened as getting properly briefed by Star reporters on the political beat.

But what is most mischievous, unprofessional and unacceptable is the insinuation that the DAP and I had concluded a dishonest and opportunistic secret agreement to uphold Articles 3 and 153 of the Malaysian Constitution on Islam as the official religion and Malay special rights when we had been opposed to these two provisions all along.

My position and that of DAP on Articles 3 and 153 had never changed in the past 42 years since the formation of DAP.

Although Article 3(1) states that “Islam is the religion of Federation” and did not specifically use the term “official religion”, the DAP and I had always supported Islam as the official religion and the constitutional guarantee for freedom of worship for other religions.

We have also never shifted from our stand that Article 3 does not provide the basis for an Islamic State which is contrary to the secular character of Malaysian nation-building agreed by the major communities on the attainment of independent nationhood and an important feature of the Merdeka “social contract”.

As far Malay special rights, I declared the DAP’s stand on Article 153 in my first speech in Parliament on February 23, 1971, where I said:

“The DAP has also been accused of opposing special rights for Malays. We again invite the government to produce a single instance from our speeches and statements to show that we have opposed efforts to raise the economic standards of living of Malays.

“As democratic socialists, we are dedicated to the abolition of poverty and economic backwardness regardless of race. We want to create a classless community of Malaysians based on fellowship, co-operation and service, where there is no exploitation of man by man, class by class or race by race.

“We support any measure which will help better the lot of the Malay poor. But we are strongly opposed to the use of Malay special rights to enrich the new Malay rich to make them richer, while the mass of peasantry and poor are exploited as ever.”

In my first speech in Parliament more than 37 years ago, I stressed that the basic problem in Malaysia was an economic and class one, and not a racial problem.

I warned: “Any attempt to impose racial theories and solutions to basically socio-economic problems of the have-nots is dangerous as it will pit one race against another, which must culminate in a racial holocaust. It will also be founded on the monstrous falsehood that all the haves in Malaysia are non-Malays, while the Malays are the have-nots.”

Those who are interested to know more of what I said in Parliament in that first debate after the lifting of 21-month suspension of Parliament following the May 13 riots should look up my first book, “Time Bombs in Malaysia” published in 1978 or wait for a 30-year Reprint expected by the end of the year.

Wong should make amends for the unfounded innuendos and the grave injustice of his mischievous and completely unwarranted imputation and insinuation against the DAP and myself – as it does not serve the cause of a rational national discourse to chart a new blueprint to create a more united, cohesive, progressive and prosperous Malaysian nation in the aftermath of the March 8 “political tsunami”.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor