Muhyiddin’s stand on secularism disconcerting, says Kit Siang
FMT Reporters -December 6, 2020 11:57 AM
PETALING JAYA: DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang has likened Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s attack on secularism as resorting to the use of the religion card in a bid to shore up his position in view of recent events that has threatened his position in the government.
The party veteran said Muhyiddin, in his policy speech at last week’s PPBM annual general meeting, had vowed to fight against secularism and liberalism, saying that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government’s alliance with Umno and PAS was “God’s will”.
“What he said must be viewed with great concern by all Malaysians who abide by the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukun Negara which addresses secularism and the freedom of religion in the country.
“The status of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia has also never been in dispute but Malaysia is a secular state,” he said in a statement today.
It is most regrettable that for his own political survival as the eighth Prime Minister Malaysia and to avoid becoming the Malaysian Prime Minister for the shortest term, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has compromised the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukun Negara.
Let me remind Muhyiddin of the constitutional position and the historical records of the nation with regard to secularism.
Article 3 of the Constitution of Malaysia which states that Islam is the official religion of the country, stipulates:
“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.”
In 1956, the Alliance Party submitted a memorandum to the Reid Commission,which was responsible for drafting the Malayan constitution.
The memorandum said: “The religion of Malaya shall be Islam. The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practicing their own religion and shall not imply that the state is not a secular state.”
The full text of the Memorandum was inserted into paragraph 169 of the Commission Report.
This suggestion was later carried forward in the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Proposals 1957 (White Paper), specifically quoting in paragraph 57: “There has been included in the proposed Federal Constitution a declaration that Islam is the religion of the Federation. This will in no way affect the present position of the Federation as a secular State….”
The Cobbold Commission also made another similar quote in 1962: “….we are agreed that Islam should be the national religion for the Federation. We are satisfied that the proposal in no way jeopardises freedom of religion in the Federation, which in effect would be secular.”
In December 1987, the Lord President of the Supreme Court, Salleh Abas described Malaysia as governed by “secular law” in a court ruling.
In the light of this constitutional and historical background, Muhyiddin’s speech at the Bersatu Annual General Meeting at the end of November where he declared war on “secularism” must be viewed with great concern by all Malaysians who abide by the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukun Negara that the status of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia does not imply that Malaysia is not a secular state where there is freedom of religion throughout the country.
Malaysians are entitled to know whether Bersatu now follows PAS in refusing to accord recognition to the secular principles in the Malaysian Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Rukun Negara.
(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Batu Pahat on Sunday, 6th December 2020)