2004 general election will be a critical test of the reaffirmation or abandonment of the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State
Media Conference Statement
- at the Malacca DAP State premises
by Lim Kit Siang
(Malacca, Thursday): I am most encouraged by Dr. Wong Fort Pin's statement giving the reasons why he has decided to sign up as a member of the DAP - after much thought and deliberation with his friends, family and member of his church.
Let me repeat when he has just said:
I had admitted last month to the failure of the DAP's “No to 929 campaign” to raise consciousness among Malaysians that the next general election is the greatest nation-building test as to whether we uphold or jettison the 1957 Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO - as we have not been able to convey this message to the majority of Malaysians with the general election around the corner. Many Malaysians are not aware that such a fundamental issue is at stake in the 2004 general election.
This does not mean that the “No to 929 campaign” was wrong, misconceived or irrelevant, but only that we are now called upon to think of more effective ways to send out this important message to the people before polling day.
This is the reason why I have come especially to Malacca to welcome the decision of Dr. Wong Fort Pin to sign up as a DAP member, making a courageous stand on a matter of fundamental principle with far-reaching consequences for the future of the nation and the citizenship rights of our children and children's children - that the Merdeka “social contract” of Malaysia as a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion entrenched in the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1971 Rukunegara, should be preserved and promoted and not jettisoned - and that it should not be replaced whether by the PAS “Islamic State Document” or UMNO and Barisan Nasional's “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State.
The 2004 general election is not just about which candidate will win and which political party will fare well, but even more important, it will be a critical test of the reaffirmation or abandonment of the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.
The upholding and protection of the 46-year “social contract” is not anti-Malay or anti-Islam but 100 per cent pro-Malaysia and pro-all religions and races in the country.
I hope Dr. Wong's example could not only lead to more Malaysians coming forward to take a principled stand for the interests of the nation and the people, but strengthen the just and noble cause to uphold, preserve and protect the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” reached by the forefathers of the major communities on the attainment of nationhood that Malaysia shall forever remain a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO. This is the only basis for a just, united, harmonious, progressive and prosperous Malaysia.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman