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Will Tsu Koon, new leader of party which claims to be “conscience of Barisan Nasional”, back up Bernard Dompok on the true meaning of the Merdeka social contract and Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as official religion and not an Islamic state?
(Parliament, Friday): The honest, principled and courageous statement by the UPKO President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok yesterday that Malaysia is not an Islamic state was completely blacked out by the mainstream media, both printed and electronic.
This is the first time that an important pronouncement of a Cabinet Minister on a grave and fundamental national issue had been blacked out by the mainstream media.
It happened on the fourth year of the Abdullah premiership which had promised greater openness, respect for diversity of views and preparedness to listen to the truth from the people, however unpleasant. Such a “blackout” never happened in the 22 years of the previous Mahathir administration.
What does this foretell about the future of Malaysia in terms of freedom of expression, free press, human rights and democracy after the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations, especially after the 12th general election?
One can disagree with Bernard Dompok but why should his statement be blacked out when it is to correct growing misperceptions, both historically and constitutionally, that Malaysia is an Islamic state when the fundamental nation-building principle going back to the Merdeka social contract 50 years ago and the Malaysia Agreement 44 years ago was that Malaysia shall be a secular state with Islam as the official religion and not an Islamic state.
Has Malaysia reached a stage where through sheer majority rule and administrative fiat, the Constitution can be revised without any parliamentary amendment and fundamental rights subverted without any legal basis – like the ban on mainstream discussion of the 50-year nation-building principle for a secular Malaysia with Islam as official religion and not an Islamic state.
Yesterday, I asked who is the next Minister or Deputy Minister, whether at national or state level, Sabah, Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia, to emulate Bernard to speak up and defend the truth – that Malaysia was conceived as a secular state with Islam as the official religion and never as an Islamic state.
Nobody seems in sight. There is one party in the Barisan Nasional which had always prided itself as the “conscience” of the ruling coalition – Parti Gerakan.
Is Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, the new leader of the self-proclaimed “conscience of Barisan Nasional”, prepared to back up Bernard Dompok on the true meaning of the Merdeka social contract and Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as official religion and not Islamic state?
Or will he prove wanting again, as so many times in the past, when it comes to the crunch on fundamental nation-building principles and national issues?
Are we reaching a stage where it is only permissible to declare that Malaysia is an Islamic state in the mainstream media while any statement that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the official religion is not only banned from mainstream media and “polite circles” but will increasingly be regarded as insensitive and treated as anti-national and even seditious?
Will the idea of a Parliamentary Roundtable to reaffirm the Merdeka social contract and Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the official religion and not an Islamic state, planned for Parliament on Friday, be the last expression of its kind in Malaysian history?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman