(Speech 2 at the first Public Ceramah/Consultation with DAP MPs, Excos, State Assemblymen at Chin Woo Hall, Ipoh on Saturday, 12th April 2008)
In the past few days, MCA and Gerakan leaders have suddenly found their voice and become quite articulate, as if to prove to Malaysians that after the March 8 “political tsunamii” they have learnt their lesson and are breaking away from their past culture of silence and subservience in the Barisan Nasional.
But this is not really the case, as they continue as captive as before March 8 to Umno political hegemony.
MCA and Gerakan leaders, including the MCA President, Datuk Ong Ka Ting, seems to be competing among themselves to lash out at the DAP for misleading the Chinese in Malaysia in the last general election over PAS’ Islamic state agenda.
MCA and Gerakan leaders should stop applying double standards on the Islamic State issue. When on Sept. 29, 2001, the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad declared that Malaysia was an Islamic state, unilaterally, arbitrarily and unconstitutionally abrogating the cardinal nation-building principle in the Constitution and Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a multi-religious and secular state with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, there was not only no objection from MCA and Gerakan leaders – they gave immediate public support.
Similarly last year, when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak trampled on the Malaysian Constitution and the 1957 “social contract” and declared Malaysia as an Islamic state, there was not a whimper of opposition or protest from Ong Ka Ting and the other MCA, Gerakan and Barisan Nasional Cabinet Ministers and leaders.
It is the height of irresponsibility and hypocrisy for MCA and Gerakan leaders to demand that the DAP must come out openly about our stand on Malaysia as an Islamic state, when it is the MCA and Gerakan which should stop its hypocritical, opportunistic and unprincipled stand on the Islamic state.
DAP’s stand of Malaysia as a secular state and opposition to Malaysia becoming an Islamic state, violating the secular basis and commitment of the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and “social contract”, is so crystal clear and unmistakable that only the most ignorant or unprincipled can question it.
It is not the DAP which must come out clearly on its stand on Malaysia as an Islamic state – as it is the MCA and Gerakan which had betrayed their party founding principles on Malaysia as a secular state and not an Islamic state.
For a start, MCA and Gerakan leaders should stop applying double standards on the Islamic State issue and they should ask Abdullah and Najib to withdraw their declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state and return to the founding principles of the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and “social contract” on the secular basis and character of Malaysia, which was not questioned even by Barisan Nasional leaders until Mahathir’s “929 Declaration” on Sept. 29, 2001.
Recently, the statement by some PAS leaders on Islamic state have created “waves” in the country as well as among the three political parties, DAP, PAS and PKR.
DAP leaders had said throughout the recent general election campaign that DAP and PAS had no links or relationship as the DAP had always remain steadfast in our commitment to preserve the secular basis of Malaysia as agreed by the forefathers of the major communities on the attainment of independence and nationhood half a century ago and our rejection of Malaysia as an Islamic state.
The results of the March 8, 2008 general election, which which came like a political tsunami, ending the Barisan Nasional’s unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority and brought down the Barisan Nasional in five states, sent out a clear verdict – that the majority of Malaysians want far-reaching changes in the country and the people want DAP, PAS and PKR to co-operate to effect these changes.
This message is most clear in Perak and Selangor where without the co-operation of the three parties to form a coalition government, power would have to be returned to the Barisan Nasional.
This message has been vindicated just now when I asked the thousand people gathered at this DAP Public Ceramah/Consultation here tonight whether they support the formation of a DAP-PKR-PAS coalition government in Perak to effect the changes Malaysians of all races and religions desire, and there was an unanimous show of hands in support.
There was another massive show of hands of support to demonstrate that the changes that voters want in the March 8 political tsunami is for accountability, integrity, justice, democracy and good governance and not for Islamic state or hudud laws – as the majority not only of non-Malays but also of Malays are clearly not in support of Malaysia becoming an Islamic state.
The co-operation of DAP, PAS and PKR in the proposed Pakatan Rakyat is clear and specific on the common goals of accountability, integrity, justice, democracy and good governance and not for an Islamic state or hudud laws.
There is a great difference between the DAP’s relationship with PAS and PKR on the one hand and the MCA and Gerakan with UMNO in Barisan Nasional on the other.
DAP’s relationship with PAS and PKR is one of equals while MCA and Gerakan’s role in BN is a subservient one totally subject to Umno’s political hegemony.
In Pakatan Rakyat, DAP makes it clear that our stand on Malaysia as a secular state and our objection to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state is a fundamental principle which is not open to compromise – while MCA and Gerakan had compromised away this principle in the Barisan Nasional by accepting the public declarations of Mahathir, Abdullah and Najib of Malaysia as an Islamic state.
DAP, PKR and PAS are working on a common statement of principles as the basis for co-operation of the three political parties in Pakatan Rakyat at state and national levels so that there could be no mistake or misunderstanding on the basis of co-operation of the three political parties – and that such a co-operation has nothing thing to do with the issue of Islamic state or hudud laws.
In 2001, an earlier attempt to create an opposition front comprising four political parties, DAP, PKR, PAS and Parti Rakyat in the form of an Alternative Front failed because of the breach of the common programme “Towards A Just Malaysia” when PAS unilaterally went ahead to push its programme of an Islamic state.
If the proposed Pakatan Rakyat is to survive and succeed in fulfilling the trust and hopes of the people as expressed in the March 8 “political tsunami”, then it must not repeat the mistakes of the Alternative Front, and must fully commit the constituent parties to the principles of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, and not allow it to be used as an excuse to pursue separate agendas such as an Islamic state or hudud laws.