DAP opposes an Islamic Constitution and Islamic State for multi-racial Malaysia

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Malacca Ceramah held at Meng Seng Charitable Association on Monday, 23.9.1985 at 9 p.m.

DAP opposes an Islamic Constitution and Islamic State for multi-racial Malaysia

The Barisan Nasional landslide general elections victory in April 1982 set the stage for a redical departure in Malaysian nation- buildings: the launching of Islamisation over a wide field of national life, whether in administration, economy, education, cultural or even in politics.

In a multi- racial, multi- lingual and multi- cultural Malaysia, the proposal to launch Islamisation and inculcate Islamic values in various fields of national life should have been carefully considered and the agreement of all other ethnic, cultural and religious groups sought before it is decided upon.

Unfortunately, the other component parties in the Barisan Nasional proved to be unequal to their political responsibilities. The MCA, which won the greatest electoral success on the promise of a political breakthrough for the Chinese, and the Gerakan, which with the influx of Thung-Chiau/ Chung elements campaigned on the ‘Attack into the Barisan to rectify the Barisan’, not only did not oppose the Islamisation process, but happily agreed to be a party to the policy.

As a result, more and more voices are now being heard to take advance Islamisation process – such as to replace the present Malaysian Constitution with an Islamic Constitution, and the creation of an Islamic State for Malaysia. These voices are not only heard in religious circles outside the Barisan Nasional, but are also coming from very influential leaders in UMNO.

In fact, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had spoken a few times about an Islamic State for Malaysia. Yesterday, opening a seminar on Concept of the Islamic State in Petaling Jaya, Datuk seri Dr. Mahathir said that the creation of an Islamic State would take tens yeas, and the first step would be to make Islam the official religion.

It should be realized that the Malaysian Constitution does not make Islamic the Official and national religion, in the same way that the Malay Language is declared the official and national language. This why declare Islam as the official and national religion, and even to replace the Malaysian Constitution by an Islamic Constitution altogether to bring about an Islamic State in Malaysia.

The DAP is opposed to the proposals for an Islamic Constitution or an Islamic State as this would violate the secular spirit of the Merdeka Constitution in 1957 as befitting a multi- racial, multi- religious and multi- cultural population as Malaysians.

An Islamic State, for instance, would have vast consequences for non- Muslims. According to an exponent of the Islamic State, in an Islamic state, non- Muslims ‘may have a place in the administrative machinery of the state but they cannot be entrusted with the responsibility of framing the general policy of the state or dealing with matters vital to its safety and integrity.’

Lim Kit Siang to attend UMNO Komplex UMNO Headquarters Opening on Thursday

The DAP however should be prepared to discuss with PAS or other political leaders problems in the country to promote greater understanding of each other’s political struggles among the various political parties.

It is for this reason that I will be suggesting to the DAP Central Executive Committee meeting on Oct. 6 to officially propose political dialogues with PAS and UMNO and UMNO leaders to exchange political views on the political questions and problems in the country.

I have been invited to attend a Symposium on the Islamic State y PAS Pemuda at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 6, which I will not be attending as the DAP Central Executive Committee will be meeting at the same time. Furthermore, I do not think that a public symposium as suggested by PAS Pemuda on the Islamic State is the appropriate forum for an exchange of views between the DAP and PAS leaders at the stage. It would be more appropriate to have bilateral discussion, which could then be followed up with public forums, seminars or symposiums.

I will be accepting the invitation to attend the official opening of the Complex UMNO Headquarters on Thursday.

2. DAP calls foe the reduction of MPMT advertisement fees by 50%, and to implement it by exempting all payments for next year.

The MPMT’s advertisement by- laws and fees is one of the most unfair and oppressive local government by- laws, which must be amended if the MPMT is not to be regarded as a exploiter instead of protector of the ratepayers’ interests.

I call on the MPMT Councilors to take a strong stand in the Council, and to resign their seats if necessary, if they could not do anything to get the people’s voice heard in the Council.

The MPMT should immediately reduce the MPMT advertisement fees for all advertisements by 50%, and to implement it by exempting all payments for advertisements for next year for those who had already paid this year.

Call on Malacca people to continue to be in the national forefront to defend their basic rights

In the Bukit China issue, the people of Malacca have once again showed that they could be in the national forefront to defend the people’s basic rights, as symbolized by the struggle to save Bukit China from being demolished, the graves excavated and earth thrown into the sea for land reclamation, so that some people could make huge profits from its commercial development.

During the national Day celebrations, the Malacca State government had to a serve test. On the eve of the National Day, two government officials went round the various Chinese organizations which were participating in the National Day floats procession, requiring the Chinese characters to be removed.

The organizations refused, and the Malacca State government had to decide whether to implement their threat of forcibly removing the Chinese characters from the floats.

The State Government must have realised that the Bukit China controversy had shown that the Malacca people would not easily back down to any bully-tactics by the authorities, and that they would have to face another nation- wide controversy as serious as the Bukit China issue if they arbitrarily proceed with the forced erasure of the Chinese characters on the floats.

I commend the spirit of the people of Malacca, and urge them to continue to be in the national forefront to defend the people’s basic constitutional, political, economic, educational, cultural and religious rights and those of future generations.