Chia Kwang Chye reiterates Gerakan's support for Islamic State but
shy away from a public dabate with DAP
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday):
To a question raised in the Q&A session with Malaysiakini
recently, Chia Kwang Chye, the Sec-Gen of Gerakan has reiterated his party's
support on Islamic State. But the reason and argument given by him is feeble
and holds no water under scrutiny.
Chia Kwang Chye has argued that the majority of the population is made up of
Muslims and Malaysia is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference.
So the declaration by the PM that Malaysia is an Islamic state ("negara
Islam") is a statement of fact.
Chia has made two very glaring mistakes here.
Indonesia has the world's biggest Muslim population (more than 200 million)
and Muslims make up about 88% of the total population. But Indonesia is a
secular state until today.
And a nation need not be an Islamic State before joining the Organisation of
Islamic Conference (OIC). That's why nations like Indonesia, Turkey, Brunei,
Egypt, Iraq and Malaysia could all joined the OIC as members. In short, OIC
is not an organisation of Islamic States as claimed by Chia.
Chia has also argued that the Federal Constitution has not been amended
and there is no intention by the government to amend it. If you look at the
broader picture, there has been no change to our lifestyles or to any
policy of the country.
What Chia has failed to understand or chosen to ignore the fact that ever
since the infamous 929 pronouncement, the BN government has started a
campaign to turn the entire nation into a real Islamic State. Various books
and programmes have been produced and teams of Islamic scholars have been
sent to the Middleast countries to study the system of Islamic States. It's
just a matter of time before the BN government officially uses its two-third
majority with the Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution. No one would
believe politicians like Chia and his non-Muslim MPs in Gerakan, MCA, SUPP,
PBS and MIC would dare to say no when their personal interests and official
positions were at stake.
How could Chia argued that there has been no change to our lifestyles or to
any policy of the country when even young lovers were slapped with summonses
for holding hands in the parks ( Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur), a letter
of consent must be secured from a Muslim neighbour before you can apply for
a dog's licence in Johor Bahru, coffershops and restaurants in Selangor were
restricted to put up beer and liquor signages, no bakuteh stalls were
allowed in most parts of Shah Alam etc etc? The Kajang municipality has
recently even threatened to shut all open-air pork selling stalls if not for
the strong protest from DAP Selangor. All these have taken place after the
929 declaration by the last prime minister. He has no more power to see that
no amendment could be made to the Federal Constitution to turn Malaysia into
a real Islamic State.
To accuse DAP for inconsistency in handling the Islamic State issue is
neither factually accurate nor morally correct. The whole world knows that
DAP left the Barisan Alternative only after Pas insisted on forming an
Islamic state. DAP will still be a part of BA if Pas has learnt the
political reality of Malaysia (a multi-religious society) and drop its
Islamic State dream plan as a component member of the BA. It's precisely
because DAP is consistent in handling the Islamic state issue and thus
making our stay with the BA untenable.
Gerakan has been attacking DAP on the issue of Islamic State prior and
during the 1999 general elections. Chia and other Gerakan candidates have
relied solely on lies and stories on the Islamic State to deny DAP a
victory. To use words quoted by Chia, the Gerakan cannot be forgiven for
making the abouturn on such serious and important matter just because their
political master had made such claim.
Would anyone in Gerakan including Chia dares to deny a fact that on the very
day when Mahathir made his pronouncement, the party actually had a proposed
resolution on Islamic State sitting on the delegates' table? It is
learnt that Gerakan had to withdraw the proposed resolution at the eleventh
hour to save its skin and that explained why Malaysians could not find a
resolution that says no to Islamic State in the newspapers the next
Chia has also accused DAP for trying to hoodwink the people on the concept
of a secular state. As a matter of fact, Malaysia was established as a
secular state because the country is historically a multi-racial,
multi-religious society. It has remained so since the day of Independence
and the late Tunku Abdul Rahman has advised all BN leaders including Lim
Keng Yaik not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State.
Yes, Islam is the official religion, and all other religions were free to be
practised by other Malaysians of different faith. That does not make
Malaysia an Islamic State. Just as Buddhism is the official religion of
Thailand, but Thailand is not a Buddhist state.
Lim Keng Yaik has "chickened" out on the public debate with the DAP national
chairman Lim Kit Siang on the issue of Islamic State. There is no way Chia
could defend Keng Yaik since Keng Yaik was the one who issued the
challenge in the first place. If Chia feels that Keng Yaik alone is not
strong enough to face Kit Siang, he is free to pick his best team to face
the DAP. Gerakan should make use of the opportunity to explain its stance on
Islamic State and to "destroy the DAP with its sound and valid argument" in
the process. That should be the move he must make as a Secretary General of
Gerakan. Or else Gerakan will always be remembered as a party of no
* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP national publicity