Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the ceramah-dialogue of the DAP Delegation to Kelantan held at Hotel Perdana, Kota Bahru on Monday, 27th January 1992 at 8 p.m.
DAP calls on PAS-led State Government to give clear-cut assurance that non-Muslim rights and interests would not be prejudiced by any Islamisation measure and to set up an efficient mechanism to investigate and redress any such complaints.
The DAP delegation to Kelantan has visited Pasir Mas, Tanah Merah, Machang, Kuala Krai, Gua Musang, Pulai, Pasir Puteh and Tumpat yesterday and today, and tonight, we are having a ceramah-dialogue with the people of Kota Bahru and Kelantan to get public feedback as to whether the Islamisation policies and measures of the Kelantan State Government in the past 15 months had ‘oppressed’ and ‘persecuted’ the Chinese and non-Muslims infringing their rights and interests.
One primary reason why the DAP has sent a delegation to come to Kelantan is because in the past few months, the MCA and Gerakan leaders have launched a nation-wide campaign to convince the Chinese in Malaysia that the Chinese in Kelantan had become the victims of ‘persecution’ and ‘oppression’ of the 70 Islamisation measures of the PAS-led Kelantan State Government in the past 15 months.
A public opinion survey will probably show that eight or nine out of ten Chinese in Kelantan fear that it is a matter of time before Islamisation measures are implemented which infringe their rights and interests.
The propaganda campaign of the MCA and Gerakan of the past few months had been so successful that if a public opinion survey is conducted among the Chinese in the country outside Kelantan eight or nine out of ten would agree that the Chinese in Kelantan had sufferd grave oppression and persecution under the Islamisation policies and measures of the PAS-led Kelantan State Government in the past 15 months.
After our two-day visit, I believe that if a public opinion survey is conducted now among the Chinese in Kelantan, eight or nine out of ten would say that they had not suffered oppression and persecution in the past 15 months, but nine out of ten fear that it is a matter of time before Islamisation measures are implemented which infringe their rights and interests.
The widespread apprehension and fear among the Chinese and non-Muslims in Kelantan about the Islamisation measures which would be implemented in Kelantan which would gravely undermine their rights and interests is a very serious political problem.
It is true that the MCA and Gerakan had done their worst to exaggerate and exploit the fears of the Chinese in Kelantan and Malaysia over this issue, but it would be unfair to put the entire blame on the unprincipled and opportunistic MCA and Gerakan leaders.
The Kelantan State Government must also bear responsibility for this grave political problem, because over the past 15 months, there had been so many pronouncements of State Governments policies and measures which would affect the rights and interests of non-Muslims, like the total ban on consumption and sale of alcohol, the stoppage of business during Muslim prayer times, compulsory use of Jawi on signboards and advertisements, the imposition of Islamic dress code for women and the introduction of Hukun Hudud involving penalties like hand-chopping and stoning.
Although many of these announcements were subsequently clarified as not to affect non-Muslims, the cumulative effect of all these announcements in the past 15 months is to reinforce the feeling among the Chinese and non-Muslims in Kelantan that it is a matter of time before a host of Islamisation policies and measures which infringe the rights and interests of non-Muslims would be implemented in Kelantan.
The PAS-led Kelantan State Government has said that it would not impose Islamic Jaws and measures on non-Muslims, and that it would fully respect the religions, customs and way of life of the Chinese and non-Muslims in Kelantan.
In accordance with this assurance, the PAS-led Kelantan State Government should give the Chinese and non-Muslims in Kelantan a clear-cut assurance that it would not implement any Islamisation measure which prejudices the rights and interests of non-Muslims, so as to allay the fears of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese and non-Muslims in Kelantan that it is only a matter of time before Islamisation measures detrimental to their rights and interests are imposed in the state.
Furthermore, the Kelantan State Government should establish a satisfactory and efficient mechanism whereby complaints by Chinese adversely affected by any Islamisation measure could be investigated and redress granted.
I shall visit the other states to meet with their Mentri Besar to discuss the Islamisation policies and measures which are detrimental to the rights and interests of non-Muslim Malaysians.
DAP has been accused of being anti-Malay and anti-Islam by UMNO on the one hand, while being accused by MCA and Gerakan of selling out the Chinese to the Malays and to the Muslims on the other. How DAP can be anti-Malay and anti-Islam at the same time as selling out the Chinese to the Malays and to the Muslims, the leaders of UMNO, MCA and Gerakan have not explained.
The visit of the DAP delegation to Kelantan shows that the DAP is not anti-Malay or anti-Islam, nor are we selling out the Chinese rights to Malays or to Muslims.
The DAP is not anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-Chinese, anti the other religions. As Malaysians committed to the goal of an united, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia, the DAP is pro all Malaysians, regardless of race and respects all religions professed by Malaysians.
What we oppose is not Islam, but Islamisation measures which are detrimental to the rights and interests of non-Muslims, regardless of whether they come from UMNO or PAS government.
This is the difference between the DAP on the one hand and the MCA and the Gerakan on the other. MCA and Gerakan is not prepared even to state that they oppose UMNO’s Islamisation measures which undermine the rights and interests of non-Muslims, but they oppose all measures by PAS, including those which do not affect the rights and interests of non-Muslims.
It is for this reason that after the Kelantan trip, I propose to visit the other states and to meet with their Mentris Besar over Islamisation measures which are detrimental to the rights and interests of non-Muslims.
Malaysians will remember that so many Islamisation measures were implemented by UMNO both at national and state government level from the 1980s that the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikkhism (MCCBCHS) had to launch a nationwide campaign to protest against the imposition of Islamic laws on non-Muslim Malaysians in 1990.
I regard it as very significant that the MCCBCHS has to date not made any public stand to express its concern over Islamisation measures in Kelantan which are detrimental to the rights and interests of non-Muslim Malaysians in Kelantan.
DAP reiterates its opposition to Islamic State as a system which is unsuitable for a multi-racial and multi-religious democratic Malaysia as it will deprive non-Muslim Malaysians of the right to shape and determine the nation’s destiny.
The DAP wants to reiterate its oppositioin to Islamic State as a system which is unsuitable for a multi-racial and multi-religious democratic Malaysia as it will deprive non-Muslim Malaysians of the right to shape and determine the nation’s destiny.
We remain unswerving in our commitment to a secular Malaysia, where all religions can be practised without hindrance, and where no Islamic laws could be applied on non-Muslim Malaysians.
The latest line of MCA and Gerakan propagandists is that in sending a DAP delegation to Kelantan, the DAP is compromising its stand for a secular state and opposition to a theocratic state.
This is most ridiculous. Before the announcement that DAP leaders would visit Kelantan, MCA and Gerakan challenged DAP leaders to visit Kelantan to see how the Chinese in Kelantan were being ‘oppressed’ and ‘persecuted’.
When the DAP delegation visits Kelantan, the MCA and Gerakan have turned around and accused the DAP of compromising our principles and giving indirect support for an Islamic State by making such a visit.
The MCA and Gerakan are being most hypocritical, because they forgot that in 1973-77, when PAS was in the Barisan Nasional, MCA and Gerakan accepted and recognised PAS as their ‘comrade-at-arms’ despite the PAS objective of an Islamic State.
Nobody has any doubt that should UMNO patches up with PAS again, and re-admits PAS into the Barisan Nasional, MCA and Gerakan would welcome PAS back into the Barisan Nasional as a ‘long-lost brother’, solely because this is UMNO’s wish!
In the final analysis, MCA and Gerakan have no political principles or convictions. Their one and only one policy is to do what UMNO wants them to do!