DAP will attend an all-party conference on the PAS’ Islamic State blueprint to detail the DAP’s objection and rejection of the document if such a meeting is held
- DAP Kulai political seminar
by Lim Kit Siang
(Kulai, Sunday): DAP opposes and rejects the PAS Islamic State blueprint made public by the PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on 13th November 2003, and the reasons include:
Although Hadi had welcomed public views and debate of the PAS Islamic State blueprint, the PAS leadership has not been able to respond to the many issues which had been raised about its Islamic State blueprint in the past 10 days, in particular on pertinent and legitimate questions about the compatibility of the PAS Islamic State blueprint with the “social contract” reached by the major communities on the attainment of national independence, democracy, human rights, women rights, pluralism, social tolerance and modernism.
Mursyidul Am PAS Dato’ Nik Aziz Nik Mat has proposed a meeting of all presidents of political parties on the PAS Islamic State blueprint. DAP will definitely be represented in such an all-party leaders’ discussion on the PAS Islamic State blueprint to detail the DAP’s objection and rejection of the document if such a meeting is held. However, I do not believe that such an all-party meeting will materialize.
DAP’s stand on the Islamic state issue had always been constant, consistent and principled in the past 37 years, whether before, during or after the DAP’s participation in the Barisan Alternative.
The DAP helped to establish the Barisan Alternative (BA) with PAS, Keadilan and Parti Rakyat Malaysia in 1999 with the sole objective to crush the political hegemony of the Barisan Nasional and end its unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority to advance the objectives of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance as spelt out in the 1999 general election BA common manifesto “Towards A Just Malaysia” which had nothing to do with PAS’ objective of an Islamic State.
Immediately after the 1999 general election, DAP had wanted the BA to address the people’s concerns about the Islamic State issue but we found no support from the other BA component parties despite persistent attempts by the DAP in 2000. As a result, DAP decided to engage PAS in direct discussion on the issue in 2001, where we proposed a five-point position for Barisan Alternative on the Islamic State issue.
When talks broke down between the DAP and PAS leaders on the DAP’s five-point “No Islamic State” formula for the BA, DAP was left with no choice but to pull out of the opposition front.
The DAP’s five-point ”No Islamic State” proposal for the BA position were:
The PAS leadership were prepared to accept Points 3 and 4 but not Points 1, 2 and 5.
PAS Islamic State blueprint must be opposed, but the only effective way to ensure that Malaysia does not go down the path of the Islamic State as envisioned by PAS is also to reject the so-called “moderate” Islamic State advocated by UMNO in the arbitrary and unconstitutional “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State made at the Gerakan National Delegates Conference on Sept. 29, 2001.
Malaysia has undergone a sea-change in the nation-building process in the past four years with very few people conscious of its grave far-reaching political, economic, educational, socio-cultural and citizenship repercussions.
In my 30 years in Parliament from 1969-1999, I had never heard the term “Islamic State” used in any parliamentary debate, but in the past four years, Parliament has been turned into a battleground between PAS and UMNO to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state.
For over four decades until four years ago, the defence of a secular Malaysia with Islam as the official religion was the mainstream nation-building agenda while calls for an Islamic State were rare and came from the periphery of the nation and society. However, in the past four years, a secular Malaysia with Islam as the official religion as popularized by the first three Prime Ministers have become a “dirty expression” and pushed to the periphery, replaced in the mainstream agenda by an Islamic State – whether ala-UMNO or ala-PAS.
If this spiral of UMNO-PAS competition to out-Islam each other and turn Malaysia into an Islamic state is not halted, it may not be long (and could be as fast as after the next general election), when what was mainstream nation-building agenda, viz. to defend and uphold a secular Malaysia with Islam as the official religion, could be regarded as seditious and anti-national!
There are two important reasons for this sea-change in the nation-building process:
If the DAP had won 25 to 30 parliamentary seats in the 1999 general election, there would be no “929 declaration” or the UMNO-PAS competition to out-Islam each other to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state, for the Barisan Nasional would have to be mindful of the reactions of both Muslim and non-Muslim sectors of the population.
With the continued debacle of DAP in Parliament in the 1999 general election as in the 1995 general election, UMNO was only concerned about competing with PAS to win back the lost Malay electoral ground, without having to worry about the concerns of the moderate Malays or the non-Muslim electorate, whose support could be taken for granted as safely in the Barisan Nasional bag!
Although there is no possibility in the next general election that PAS can put its Islamic State blueprint into practice – as the issue in the next general election is still whether it is possible to deny Barisan Nasional its unbroken two-thirds majority in Parliament – the PAS Islamic State blueprint can have far-reaching consequences to change the Malaysian nation as it will ratchet up the UMNO-PAS competition to out-Islam and out-Islamic-State each other to a new and unprecedented level with grave damage to the very fabric of the 46-year social contract and Merdeka Constitution of Malaysia as a secular nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO.
This was why two Malaysian news made world headlines in the global village in the past month, given prominent coverage in the media in the countries in the West, including small-town newspapers and publications in the United States, viz Mahathir’s anti-Jewish speech at the OIC Summit and the PAS Islamic State blueprint, the former because of a sense of “outrage” in the West and the latter because of a sense of “foreboding” in the West that another country was embarking on the road of an Islamic State!
The next general election will be the last opportunity for Malaysia to put a stop to the spiral of competition between UMNO and PAS to out-Islam one another to turn Malaysia into an Islamic-State with the return of a strong parliamentary DAP presence to put the country back on track of a democratic, secular, multi-religious, prosperous and progressive Malaysia with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman