Why the two biggest Indonesian Muslim organisations are united in “Islam Yes, Islamic State No!” stand   while the two largest Muslim organisations in Malaysia are competing to out-Islam each other to turn Malaysia into an Islamic  State?

Hari Raya Message
by Lim Kit Siang

(PenangMonday): Selamat Hari Raya to  all Muslims in Malaysia. 

All Malaysians are celebrating Hari Raya on the 46th year of nationhood because religious festivities have become a national celebration for all Malaysians regardless of race or religion, which is a distinctive and unique mark of the Malaysian nation-building process. 

There is one important aspect this year’s  Hari Raya differs from previous years – the country is in the vortex of an escalating contest between the two largest Muslim parties to out-Islam each other, as represented by the “929 Declaration” of UMNO and the Islamic State Document (ISD) of PAS with grave consequences for the 46-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State. 

On the occasion of the Hari Raya celebrations,  it would be appropriate for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, to give some thought to the question  as to why in neighbouring Indonesia, with over 200 million Muslims representing over 88 per cent of its population, its two biggest Muslim organisations  each of which has followers larger than the Malaysian population, are united in an “Islam Yes, Islamic State No!” stand while the two largest Muslim parties in Malaysia are competing to out-Islam each other to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State. 

In Indonesia, leaders of both Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), with  some 40 million supporters and Muhammadiyah, with  about 30 million adherents, have been both open and upfront in declaring that Indonesia is not an Islamic State. 

Such   voices of moderation as advocated by  the leaders of the two largest Muslim organisations in Indonesia,  calling for  the development of the  universal values of Islam, which  had also been present in the early decades of Malaysian nationhood, have now fallen silent in Malaysia.   What is even more shocking is that there are non-Malay and non-Muslim political parties which openly support Malaysia becoming an Islamic state! 

This should  be serious food for thought for all Malaysians.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman