(Ipoh, Friday): We are launching
in Ipoh today the national second
phase of the “No to 911,No to
929, Yes to 1957” People’s Awareness Campaign with the publication of the
“No to 929” booklet, explaining
the background and reasons why it is important for Malaysians to say
“No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957”.
The objective of this campaign is “Every household one
copy, Every person one vote” to defend and uphold the 1957 Merdeka
Constitution, the “social contract” and 1963 Malaysia Agreement that
Malaysia is a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation where Islam is the
official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state.
Can the DAP prevent the Barisan Nasional government from
implementing the “929 Declaration” made by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the Gerakan national assembly on September 29 last year
that Malaysia is an Islamic state, and his subsequent statement that Malaysia is
not a moderate Islamic state but a fundamentalist Islamic state?
I have just seen a Parti Keadilan Nasional statement
declaring that DAP cannot succeed in its “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957”
I do not believe that the situation is totally hopeless,
although it is a most formidable and uphill battle. In fact, I regard the “No to 911,No to 929, Yes to 1957”
campaign as the most difficult and challenging campaign in the 36-year history
of the DAP – even more uphill and difficult that all the previous campaigns
waged on behalf of Chinese education, Bukit China, human rights and
anti-corruption in the past four decades.
When DAP first launched the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to
1957” People’s Awareness
Campaign in Penang on May 6, 2002, less than
one per cent of the people knew what was “929” and its import.
We knew that with the media restrictions and inhibitions on freedoms of
speech and assembly, the ban on ceramahs, we are going to face an uphill battle
with the limited time available to us before the next general election.
When we ended the Penang campaign and started the Perak
campaign in June, it was unlikely that we had reached more than three or four
per cent of the people. But thanks
to the MCA MP for Ipoh Timor, Thong Fah Chong, who was at the Pasir Pinji market
on June 6 and had not denied his role in my subsequent police arrest, the “No
to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” People’s Awareness Campaign took a quantum
leap – and at this point in time, we may have reached eight to nine per cent
of the people.
However, over 90 per cent of the people have not yet
received the message of the importance of the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to
1957” campaign, and we have only taken
the first of 99 steps needed to disseminate this information to the Malaysian
people in time before the next general election.
I am not as pessimistic as the Parti Keadilan Nasional
leader who said that the DAP has absolutely
no hope or chance whatsoever that the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to
1957” campaign could succeed or that the
DAP could prevent the
Barisan Nasional government from implementing the 929 Declaration.
I must clarify however that the “No to 911, No to 929,
Yes to 1957” People’s Awareness
Campaign is not just directed against Mahathir’s “929 Declaration” but a
reaffirmation of the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the “social contract” and
the 1963 Malaysia Agreement that Islam is the official religion of the nation
but Malaysia is not an Islamic State – whether the Islamic State of UMNO or
the Islamic State of PAS.
DAP had succeeded once against great odds to stop Malaysian nation-building based on assimilation instead of integration, and this was why in 1994, Mahathir publicly conceded that the Barisan Nasional government was wrong in the past in wanting to create a Malaysian nation of such great diversity of races, languages, religions and cultures through assimilation instead of integration.
Just as the “No to One Language, One Culture, One
Religion” campaign highlighted by the Kepayang by-election in Ipoh in 1983 and
the “Save Bukit China Campaign” 1984 were
the critical battles to win the first nation-building test between
integration and assimilation, the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957”
campaign is critical to the second nation-building test to preserve the 1957
Merdeka Constitution, “social contract” and 1963 Malaysia Agreement
that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State.
DAP was able to stop the “One Language, One Culture, One
Religion” assimilation nation-building policy although the most number of
parliamentary seats DAP had ever won was 24 in the 1986 general election –
because the popular support manifested by the DAP’s electoral results
represented a clear message in a plural society which must be respected by the
government which wants the country to succeed not only in nation-building,
economic development but also in competing with the rest of the world.
For the same reason, I believe that if the DAP can win 30
to 35 Parliamentary seats in the next general election, it will be a powerful
and unmistakable message that if Malaysia is to be a successful nation in the 21st
century, the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the
social contract and 1963 Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia is a democratic,
secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive nation with Islam as the
official religion but not an Islamic state must be respected by all political
parties – whether UMNO or PAS.
The DAP’s “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” campaign
that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state is not
anti-Malay or anti-Islam.
Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, when opening
the Penang state Gerakan delegates conference the previous Sunday (23rd
June 2002) alleged that the DAP’s “No to 929” campaign was aimed at
pitting Muslims against non-Muslim.
Keng Yaik should be ashamed of himself and should
withdraw and apologise for
such irresponsible and unethical politicking in trying to paint the “No to
911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” campaign as anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
Mahathir had shed tears in public many times because of his
lament, “Melayu Mudah Lupa”. However,
Gerakan and MCA leaders like Keng Yaik and
Datuk Seri Ling Liong Sik also suffer from the “Mudah Lupa” syndrome,
especially on the issue of Islamic state.
They have forgotten what the founding fathers of the nation
have repeatedly declared that Malaysia is not an Islamic State, supported by all
the constitutional history of the formation of Malaya and later Malaysia.
They have forgotten the founding fathers and founding
principles of their political parties who had never compromised with the
fundamental nation-building principle that Islam is the official religion but
Malaysia is not an Islamic state.
They have also forgotten the public calls by Bapa Malaysia
and the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman and the third Prime Minister,
Tun Hussein Onn in February 1983 not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State.
Let me refresh the memory of these “Mudah Lupa” Gerakan
and MCA leaders. On 8th
February 1983, when celebrating his
80th birthday, Tunku Abdul Rahman said Malaysia should not be turned
into an Islamic state because the country had a multi-racial population with
Tunku Abdul Rahman said the nation was set up as a secular State with Islam as the official religion and that this was enshrined in the Constitution.
Five days later, after receiving a MCA delegation, led by
MCA President Datuk Lee San Choon, to wish him a happy 61st birthday,
Tun Hussein Onn told reporters that he supported Tunku Abdul Rahman’s view
that Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic state. (Star 13/2/83).
Tun Hussein said any move of this kind was neither wise nor
He said: “The nation can still be functional as a secular
state with Islam as its official religion.”
In the same week, the then Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk
Musa Hitam was asked at a Foreign Correspondents Association Club luncheon in
Singapore whether the 2M (Mahathir and Musa) Government agreed with Tunku’s
statement that Malaysia cannot be an Islamic state.
This was Musa’s reply: “The Tunku was reminding the
Government. He is an elder statesman. We
respect his judgment.
“Absorption of Islamic principles that are positive
towards development would not allow the country to be as Islamic as people
expect it to be. Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan have their
own style of Islamisation.
“Malaysian leaders are realistic enough to know that it
cannot be done the same style here. There
are certain things which are not practical and cannot be imposed.”
Keng Yaik was a former MCA Minister. Both he and Liong Sik
have forgotten that MCA founding fathers, like Tun Tan Cheng Lock and all MCA
Presidents, whether Tun Tan Siew Sin or Datuk Lee San Choon had stood firm on
the fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone that
Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is
not an Islamic state – to be abandoned by Keng Yaik and Liong Sik (as
well as the MCA Deputy President Datuk Lim Ah Lek) after the “929
In launching the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” campaign, DAP is reminding Keng Yaik, Liong Sik and Ah Lek not only to remain true to the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the “social contract” and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, but also to be faithful to the stand taken by the first three Prime Ministers of Malaysia as well as the the founding fathers of MCA and Gerakan.