Monday): I did not want to be arrested a third time yesterday for
the DAP’s “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” People’s Awareness
Campaign at the Seremban Central Market yesterday, as the Seremban district
police chief Assistant Commissioner Abdul Khalid Abu Hassan had warned that DAP
leaders and supporters who distribute the "No
to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” leaflets to the
public “risk facing action”
as they could be charged under the Sedition Act 1948. (New Straits Times
But as the Seremban police chief had given an unlawful
threat, the four DAP Federal Territory MPs, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong), Tan Kok
Wai (Cheras), Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang), Teresa Kok (Seputeh), DAP National
Publicity Secretary, Ronnie Liu, other DAP leaders and myself had no choice but
to arrange for a special programme to distribute the “No to 929” pamphlet in
Seremban as we cannot allow any
police officer to take the law into his own hands to criminalize legitimate
constitutional political activities, just because it is carried out by the
I am glad that I was not arrested a third time in Seremban
yesterday although I had steeled myself for a third arrest – or to be more
correct, a third false arrest by the police. I had lodged a police report for
false, wrongful and unlawful arrest
over my Ipoh arrest on June 5 although I had not done so over my Port Dickson
arrest on July 14, 2002.
When I met the Suhakam Chairman, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman to discuss the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and Suhakam’s role on 13th June, we had discussed my arrest by the Ipoh police a week earlier – and his advice was that I should institute legal proceedings against the police for false arrest.
The time has
come for the Attorney-General Datuk
Gani Patail to decide on whether
the “No to 929” pamphlet is seditious, as it is now some two months since my
first arrest in Ipoh, so as to end
police harassment of legitimate political activities as well as misallocation of
police resources from more important law and order duties.
Gani Patail should stop the charade of certain police
officers claiming that the “No to 929” pamphlet is seditious, when it is in
fact a patriotic and nationalistic campaign to defend and uphold the 1957
Merdeka Constitution, the "social contract" and 1963 Malaysia
Agreement that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and
progressive nation with Islam as the official religion but Malaysia is not an
Islamic state - whether ala-UMNO or ala-PAS.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers should conduct a special orientation course on the Constitution for all the police officers in the country so that they would stop harassing the DAP from our legitimate political activities and the DAP is prepared to give the Attorney-General’s Chambers full assistance by furnishing all necessary literature for this purpose.
Gani should tell the police officers that if the "No to 929" campaign is seditious, then the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement are seditious documents. Furthermore, the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn would have committed sedition offences as well as they had at one time or another proclaimed that Malaysia is a secular nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.
In fact, on 8th February 1983, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, Tunku issued the clear public message that plural Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic State.
I have here the newspaper cuttings of that occasion more than 20 years ago. This is the report from “The Star” of February 9, 1983, under its overall coverage of “The Tunku Turns 80”, with the headline: “Don’t Make Malaysia An Islamic State: Tunku”, which states:
“Kuala Lumpur, Thurs – Malaysia should never be turned into an Islamic State, former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman said tonight.
“He said that Malaysia was set up as a secular State with Islam as the official religion and this was enshrined in the Constitution.
“’The Constitution must be respected and adhered to. There have been attempts by some people who tried to introduce religious laws and morality laws. This cannot be allowed.
“’The country has a multi-racial population with various beliefs. Malaysia must continue as a secular State with Islam as the official religion,’ he advised UMNO.
“The Tunku was speaking at a birthday party hosted by the Barisan Nasional at Wisma MCA here.
“He had also some pointed advice for the other two major communities in the country.
“To the Chinese, represented by the MCA, he said: ‘Don’t lap up all the business opportunities. Share them.’
“In a lighter vein, he told the MIC and the Indians: ‘Talk less, work harder and co-operate more closely with the other races and other component parties of the Barisan.’
“The Tunku stressed that racial unity and close co-operation among the races was the only way for Malaysia to survive, let alone progress.”
Tunku’s call that Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic State was at the time fully supported by all the Barisan Nasional component parties, including UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan, including the present MCA President Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan President Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik.
Four days later, on 12th February 1983, on the occasion of his 61st birthday, the third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn publicly supported Tunku’s call. I have the two-decade old news cutting from The Star dated 13th February 1983, with the headline “Hussein Says No to Islamic State Too”, which read:
“Kuala Lumpur, Sat – Former Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn has supported Tunku Abdul Rahman’s view that Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic State.
“Tun Hussein said today that any move of this kind was neither wise nor practical.
“’The nation can still be functional as a secular State with Islam as the official religion,’ he said.
“The Tunku had said on Tuesday, when he celebrated his 80th birthday, that Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic State because the country had a multi-racial population with various beliefs.
“He had said that the nation was set up as a secular state with Islam as the official religion and that this was enshrined in the Constitution.
“’The Government has shown that it can serve Islamic purposes well without it being an Islamic State,’ said Tun Hussein.
“’The setting up of the proposed Islamic Bank is one such example,’ he told reporters after receiving an MCA delegation, led by its president Datuk Lee San Choon, who called on him to wish him a happy 61st birthday.”
The New Straits Times of 28th September 1987 reported Tunku reiterating this fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone in a report under the heading “Tunku’s no to Islamic State” which reads:
“Kuala Lumpur, Sun – Former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman today reiterated that Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic State.
“Speaking at the opening of Perkim’s 27th annual general assembly, he said:
“’A Muslim State for Malaysia is definitely out of the question though the Muslims would like to see this happen.
“’We have to consider the other races who have helped the country achieve independence.’
“The Tunku said if it were not for the other races, the Malays could not have hoped to free the country of the colonialists and enjoy the freedom they have now.
“He added that if it was not for the others, the Malays who were then backward and living in the rural areas would not have been able to enjoy the rights they enjoy now.
“’Therefore, the non-Muslims have the right to practise their own way of life and religion in this country which is also rightly theirs.’
"He added that Muslims in Malaysia should accommodate the non-Muslims who have as much right to live and enjoy the fruits of their labour after having fought, together with the Malays, for the freedom of the country.”
DAP is prepared to send copies of these news cuttings as well as others of similar nature to the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai, to be circulated to all police officers so that they will not misinterpret the constitution.
The least I expect is a public apology by the police for my two false and wrongful arrests in Ipoh and Port Dickson. If this is not forthcoming, then I will act on the advice of the Suhakam Chairman and instruct my lawyers to institute legal proceedings for my two false and wrongful arrests.
At the MCA General Assembly on Saturday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said race-based extremism is getting worse among the younger generation in the country and that in politics too, extremist parties were also seen to be gaining ground among the Malays.
He said race-based extremism in the country was getting more and more serious compared to previously where people of different background could mix with each other.
If the country is to check worsening race-based extremism, then it is imperative that Malaysians move away from the extremes and return to the middle road of nation-building to defend and uphold the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the “social contract” and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia is a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.
It is only by returning to such a middle road of nation-building that the polarization of race and religion could be checked.
The DAP’s "No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957" campaign is an attempt to return Malaysia to the middle road of nation-building to check racial and religious polarization.
Both UMNO and PAS should stop the unhealthy competition to “out-Islam” or “out-Islamic State” each other – with PAS returning to the 1999 Barisan Alternative Common Manifesto committing member parties to uphold the fundamental principles of the Malaysian Constitution which impliedly excludes an Islamic State and hudud laws while Mahathir should retract his unilateral and arbitrary “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State which goes against the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the “social contract” and the 1963 Agreement.