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warning “no more statements that Malaysia is secular state”, are MCA
Ministers prepared to challenge at next Cabinet meeting the undemocratic ban
on media reporting on discussion of Najib’s dubious claim that Malaysis is
an Islamic state and had “never been a secular state”?
(Parliament, Saturday): “Amaran kepada MCA - Hishammuddin minta henti kenyataan Malaysia Negara secular” – blared the Berita Harian front-page headline today, which carried the report by-lined Norfatimah Ahmad and Suzianah Jiffar as follows:
Pemuda Umno meminta pemimpin MCA berhenti daripada mengeluarkan kenyataan
yang mendakwa Malaysia sebagai sebuah negara sekular kerana tindakan itu
tidak membawa manfaat kepada sesiapa.
Bernama yesterday also carried a similar report which appeared on New Straits Times online, as follows:
Stop making statements on secular state, Hishammuddin tells MCA
Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein today asked MCA to stop making statements on Malaysia being a secular state.
He said though it was nothing
new, such claims would not benefit anyone.
The question that immediately comes to mind from Hishammuddin’s warning to the MCA Secretary-General Datuk Ong Ka Chuan is whether MCA Ministers and leaders under the thumb of both UMNO Youth and low-level government officials.
This is because a clamp on the MCA Ministers and leaders have already been imposed a day earlier by the Internal Security Ministry’s Publications Control and Al-Quran Texts Unit banning all media from publishing comments on the highly controversial and divisive statement by Najib which had no constitutional basis whatsoever – that Malaysia is an Islamic state driven by Islamic fundamentals and is not and had “never been a secular state”.
A senior officer of the Internal Security Ministry’s Publications Control and Al-Quran Texts Unit Che Din Yusof has said that allowing such discussions would cause “tension”. He said “Islam is a sensitive issue”, and a directive had been sent to all mainstream newspapers banning the publication of any news on whether the country is secular or Islam – apart from the statements by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
It would appear that the Internal Security Ministry’s ban and blackout of any response to Najib’s dubious claim that Malaysia is an Islamic state and is not and had “never been a secular state” applies to all, including MCA Ministers and leaders, except Umno and UMNO Youth leaders as evident from the warning not only by Hishammuddin from Ranau, Sabah but also the statement by UMNO Information chief, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib, on the same subject distorting and rewriting constitutional history and developments - which appeared in the same Berita Harian report today.
For political reasons, MCA Ministers and leaders may be cowed by Hishammuddin, but why must the MCA Minsters and Deputy Ministers be subservient to the lowly officials in the Internal Security Ministry’s Publications Control and Al-Quran Texts Unit?
Is the MCA Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Foo Ah Kiow, supervising the Publications Control and Al-Quran Texts Unit or is he himself being supervised by the Unit?
Although the Internal Security Minister is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had left for Perth on Monday night for a 11-day private family holiday, Abdullah had been such an absentee Internal Security Minister that at the best of times he had left the ministry in the charge of his two deputy ministers, Datuk Johari Baharum and Datuk Foo Ah Kiow.
Has the role of political master and policy implementer in the Internal Security Ministry between the politicians and the civil servants been reversed?
Has the Ministry’s Publications Control and Al-Quran Texts Unit usurped powers to the extent that it is now not only more powerful over the Deputy Internal Security Ministers but also Cabinet Ministers – as this must be the first time in the nation’s 50 year history where it had issued a directive which amounted to a de facto ban on statements by Cabinet Ministers and deputy Ministers except for those from the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister!
What is the precedent and basis for the Publications Control and Al-Quran Text Unit to grab such powers? Who empowered the unit to act so undemocratically, delivering a grave blow to media freedom and the freedom of speech of Malaysians, even censoring the freedom of expression of non-UMNO Ministers and Deputy Ministers?
Let MCA Ministers and other non-UMNO Barisan Nasional Ministers declare whether at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday they will challenge the right and power of the Publications Control and Al-Quran Text Unit to impose such a ban on discussion and debate on Najib’s statement that Malaysia is an Islamic state driven by Islamic fundamentals and not and had never been a secular state.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman