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After Bernard Dompok, who is the next Minister or Deputy Minister who dare to step forward to speak the truth that Malaysia had been conceived as a secular state with Islam as the official religion and not an Islamic state
(Parliament, Thursday): I congratulate Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, UPKO President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, for his honesty, courage and conviction in speaking the truth today that Malaysia is not an Islamic state.
On the occasion of the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary (but 47 years of the Malaysia Federation for Sabah and Sarawak), Bernard has made Sabahans and all Malaysians proud.
At the launch of ‘The Merdeka Statement’ by the Centre for Public Policy Studies in Kuala Lumpur, Bernard said the nation’s founders did not have in mind an Islamic state when the Federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963.
He said: “I think my colleagues in the government will forgive me for saying that I will not agree that we are an Islamic state.”
Bernard is right. That Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the official religion and not an Islamic state was one of the fundamental principles of nation-building in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 for the establishment of Malaysia with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore, which left the federation two years later in 1965.
What is most shocking is that for past six years, no Sabah or Sarawak leader, whether Minister or Deputy Minister, whether at the national or state level, had come forward to state such a simple historical truth.
Bernard must be commended for being the first Minister from Sabah and Sarawak with the political principle, conviction and integrity to speak up to defend and uphold the fundamental principle of nation-building in the establishment of Malaysia. The question is which next Minister or Deputy Minister, whether at national or state level, Sabah or Sarawak, will now emulate Bernard to speak and defend the truth. From PBS in Sabah or SUPP in Sarawak?
This crucial issue concerns not just Sabah and Sarawak but the whole Malaysian nation – for the fundamental principle that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the official religion and not an Islamic state was not only the crux of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 but also of the Merdeka social contract leading to the attainment of national independence 50 years ago.
In Peninsular Malaysia, which Minister or Deputy Minister and from which political party, whether MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP or even Umno, is courageous and honest enough to step forward to speak the truth – that Malaysia was never conceived to be an Islamic state but as a secular state with Islam as the official religion.
If the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein could commit themselves to a Malaya and later Malaysia which is a secular state with Islam as the official religion and not an Islamic state, why have the current generation of Umno leaders deviated from this fundamental nation-building principle?
I have sent out invitations to all Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and Members of Parliament inviting them to a Parliamentary Roundtable on Friday 10th August 2007 in Parliament at 10 am to reaffirm the Merdeka social contract and the Malaysia Agreement on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary the fundamental nation-building principle that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the official religion and not an Islamic state.
Let us put aside our political and other differences and come together next Friday simply as Malaysians to reaffirm what the forefathers of the major communities had agreed in the Merdeka social contract and the Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia shall be a secular state with Islam as the official religion and not an Islamic state.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman