No different classes of citizenship in Malaysia

DAP Perak ‘Defend Malaysia as a Democratic Secular State’ Patriotic Convention
by Ngeh Koo Ham

(Ipoh, Monday): This convention is called in view of the urgency to inform DAP Perak members and the Malaysian Public on the need to uphold the Malaysian Federal Constitution to preserve Malaysia as a secular democratic state. 

Our nation would have been very different today if not for the DAP’s campaign in the 1980s against the BN Government’s assimilation policy  where the Government attempted to unite the nation through its ‘One Language, One Religion and One Culture’ policy. Imagine what would have become of Malaysia had the policy not been stalled through DAP’s effort and the support of the people. The DAP had very firmly held the view that integration was the way to bring together the different races of this country. The way of integration is to promote mutual respect for the different races, cultures and religions in our diverse nation. DAP has been proven right. Our Prime Minister had in recent years acknowledged that BN’s assimilation policy was found to be unsuitable and that integration is the way forward for our nation. He had also declared his vision for a ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ which DAP had been fighting for since its inception in 1966.


Despite DAP’s success, the assimilation policy had left a deep scar that divide the different races, religions and cultures of this nation. It will take another generation to heal the wound. This healing may never come about if the BN Government continue with its racial policy and lately its religious policy to make Malaysia more Islamic with the ultimate aim of making Malaysia an Islamic State.


A policy wrongly made is costly to the nation. One of the casualties of assimilation policy was the closure of the English medium schools in the country.  Malaysia which had a very high standard of English language some 30 years ago has now to relearn the English language . Last year, the Government had announced that it will be spending RM5.0 billion  on improving the English language in schools in the next 5 years. Tens of billions  will have to be spent in the next 2 decades to help improve Malaysians’ English language. These billions would have brought much benefit to the thousands of poor  Malaysians had they been channeled into our nation’s social programmes. We would also have a head start in the acquisition of advance IT and technological knowledge had we not made the wrong move to abolish the English medium schools.


Malaysia cannot afford to experiment with making Malaysia an Islamic State after our Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Mahathir Mohamed had announced on 29/9/2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic State. DAP is against making Malaysia an Islamic State either ala UMNO or PAS. Both are not suitable for a multiracial, multi religious and multi cultural Malaysia and the idea of making Malaysia an Islamic State is against our Federal Constitution. The way forward is to follow the proven path that has been laid down in our Federal Constitution.


Our Federal Constitution clearly provides that Malaysia is a Secular Democratic State with Islamic as the official religion for ceremonial purposes.


Non- Muslim based parties in BN must not mislead the people that nothing will change after Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s declaration as no law has been amended.


In 1970, when the New Economic Policy ( NEP ) was implemented, Malaysians were divided and classified into Bumiputras and Non-Bumiputras. No laws were amended for this reclassification of Malaysians and in fact the words ‘Bumiputra’ or ‘Non-Bumiputra’ do not  appear in our Federal Constitution or any of our laws but we know that the rights of Bumiputras and the Non- bumiputras changed drastically thereafter.


Bumiputras were accorded special treatment in almost every field. Be it Government Contracts, shares ownership in companies, Government positions, scholarships, licences  and  discount  for  the purchase of houses. The Prime Minister admitted in his National Day message that the Government took from others to give it to the Bumiputras. He only lamented that the Bumiputras sold what they were given for a quick profit.


The NEP created  different classes of citizenship in Malaysia.


The discrimination policy under NEP has caused our nation dearly as hundreds of thousand highly educated, talented, capable and rich mainly Non-bumiputras left the country in disgust. Not that they do no like or love Malaysia but they do not see a future in a country that promote racial discrimination as an official policy. Racial discrimination is denounced world wide as unjust. Malaysia would have been better prepared for globalization if these highly educated, talented, capable and rich Malaysians had stayed back in Malaysia.


Malaysia can ill afford to experiment making Malaysia an Islamic State. It will prove to be disaster to our multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country like Malaysia. Racial and religious hatred will rear its ugly head They are far too many examples in the world where we can see an implementation of an Islamic State merely mean the concentration of powers in a group of religious leaders who will not hesitate to inflict untold suffering and pain on those who oppose or hold different opinions or views from them. Allowing an Islamic State to come into existence can only mean a way of no return because an Islamic State is inconsistent with democracy. The Ulamas who hold the ultimate power in an Islamic State will not recognize your democratic rights. You will need a revolution to restore an Islamic State to a democracy.


Therefore, as DAP members it is time once again to rise to the occasion to save Malaysia from walking the path of destruction. Though we have not won any election to be given the mandate to rule the country or any of her states but we have contributed in shaping the destiny of our nation. For that we should be proud. Because we love Malaysia, we need to save Malaysia. We are the true patriots. We are more patriotic than those who only host a free Malaysian flag on our National day. I also call on more Malaysians to be true patriots by showing concern for the welfare of our country by fighting corruption, by ensuring that freedom, justice and good governance prevail in the country and to ensure that Malaysia will not become an Islamic State.



* Ngeh Koo Ham, DAP Perak Chairman