“Defend Secular Malaysia” is not anti-Malay or anti-Islam as the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku, Razak and Hussein Onn fully supported a secular Malaysia with Islam as official religion while the majority of 1.2 billion Muslims in the world are in secular systems and not Islamic state
Media Conference Statement
- when launching the DAP’s 46th National Day Celebrations and the “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign in Bukti Bendera parliamentary constituency
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Friday): There are attempts by certain irresponsible quarters to distort the DAP’s “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign in conjunction with the 46th National Day Celebrations to uphold the 46-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone for a multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia as anti-Malay and anti-Islam, which must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
The “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign is not anti-Malay or anti-Islam, but pro-Malaysia, pro-all-communities and pro-all-religions in Malaysia, for two special reasons:
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad recently called on Malaysians to remember, protect and enhance the nation-building formula of Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman.
One important pillar of Tunku’s formula of nation-building is the compact reached by the forefathers of the major communities on the founding of the nation, the “social contract”, and written into the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and 1963 Malaysia Agreement and reaffirmed by the 1970 Rukunegara that Malaysia is a democratic, multi-racial, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state.
This is why during his 80th birthday dinner celebrations on 8th February 1983 hosted by the Barisan Nasional, Tunku chose as the most important theme of his speech a public call to the Barisan Nasional leaders and Malaysians to adhere to the “social contract” and the Malaysian Constitution and “not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State”.
Four days later, on 12th February 1983, on the occasion of his 61st birthday, the third Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn publicly supported Tunku’s call to Barisan Nasional leaders “not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state” and reminded the people that Malaysia was conceived as “a secular state with Islam as the official religion”.
Any attempt to distort the patriotic campaign of “Defend Secular Malaysia” as anti-Malay and anti-Islam is to defame the independence struggle of our forefathers and the “social contract” entrenched in the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, 1963 Malaysia Agreement and 1970 Rukunegara for declaring that Malaysia shall be a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state, whether ala-UMNO or ala-PAS. This must not be allowed to go unchallenged.
Islam is the fastest growing religion and the second largest religion in the world. There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and are expected to overtake the current 1.8 billion Christians by 2020.
However, many do not realize that the majority of the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world live in secular systems and not in an Islamic state.
Indonesia, with 203 million Muslims comprising 88 per of the population, is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. Indonesia, like Malaysia, was a founding member of the Organsiation of Islamic Conference (OIC), but it had never been an Islamic state as it had all along been a secular republic.
Countries with large Muslim populations but which are not Islamic states include:
Muslim population Percentage of population
Indonesia - 203 million 88%
India - 125 million 12%
China - 133 million 11%
Turkey - 67 million 99.8%
Nigeria - 65 million 75%
Ethiopia - 37 million 65%
Iraq - 21 million 97%
One of the biggest challenges of the DAP “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign is to make Malaysians of all races and religions understand that the Tunku’s nation-building formula, which had the full support of the second and third Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn, was never anti-religion, anti-God or anti-Islam, anti-Buddhist, anti-Christianity, anti-Hinduism, anti-Sikkhism but pro-Islam, pro-Buddhism, pro-Christianity, pro-Hinduism and pro-Sikkhism as enunciated in the first principle of Rukunegara on “Belief in God” – as there is nothing contradictory in maintaining that the state should be secular but the society and people should be religious.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman