Press Statement by Karpal Singh in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 20th January 2009:

MCA owes the Chinese an apology 

It is mischievous for MCA political education bureau chairman, Gan Ping Siew, to say that the DAP owes non-Muslims an apology for campaigning for PAS in the Kuala Terengganu by-election as it was tantamount to helping the Islamist party establish theocratic rule in the country.

The DAP stand ahs always been against establishing a theocratic state or an Islamic state in the country whether it be by PAS or UMNO. This stand has been there even before PAS became a component party un the Pakatan Rakyat.

In fact, it is the MCA which supported the setting up of an Islamic state when former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, declared Malaysia an Islamic state in September, 2001 when addressing the Gerakan general assembly. The MCA can be deemed to have accepted Dr Mahathirís declaration that Malaysia was already an Islamic state. There was not even a whimper on the part of any MCA, Gerakan or MIC leader against that wholly and absolutely a declaration devoid of any substance or merit. In fact, Dr Mahathir publicly challenged the Federal Constitution which declares Malaysia to be a secular state. Further, Dr Mahathirís declaration contradicted the public statements by Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn, who were lawyers, that Malaysia was a secular state. Dr Mahathirís declaration was also in contempt of the declaration by a five-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Tun Salleh Abas, in 1988 that it was secular law which applied in the country which meant Malaysia was a secular state.

Non-Muslims in the country are well aware of the DAPís stand against an Islamic state. Time and again, DAP leaders have made this clear both in and out of Parliament. The record speaks for itself unlike the MCAís record which supports an Islamic state on the premise that the MCA supported the declaration by Dr Mahathir in 2001 that Malaysia was an Islamic state.

It is the MCA which owes the Chinese an apology, and not the DAP. The MCA should not pull wool over the eyes of the Chinese particular and non-Muslims in general.

The DAPís position in the Pakatan Rakyat is crystal-clear when it comes to the country being a secular state, and not an Islamic state. That position is backed by constitutional authority. That is the caveat under which the DAP cooperates with both PKR and PAS. Both PKR and PAS are fully aware of this solemn caveat.

The DAPís participation in the Pakatan Rakyat is to ensure that there is a two-party system in the country which is a necessity to give the people a choice of the government they would wan installed after a general election. This choice which the people have been given is clearly reflected in the March 8 general election last year. The DAP wants a two-party system to be perpactuated in the public interest. However, it must be on the basis of sincerity and principle on the part of the component parties of Pakatan Rakyat. Matters of principle must be given the highest premium. It is towards that objective that the DAP will play its role in the Pakatan Rakyat.

* Karpal Singh, DAP National Chairman & MP for Bukit Gelugor