GEORGE TOWN: DAP has called on Pakatan Rakyat to hold an emergency top leadership meeting to once and for all trash out the controversial PAS’ Islamic state agenda.
Declaring that DAP would always oppose the establishment of an Islamic state, its national chairman Karpal Singh called on the Pakatan secretariat to immediately arrange for the meeting.
He said any delay to address the contentious matter would severely erode public confidence, especially among non-Muslims, on Pakatan.
He acknowledged that the controversial issue was of fundamental importance to Pakatan’s chances of capturing the federal government.
“Public perception and confidence on Pakatan would be badly affected. Pakatan must quickly address and resolve such an important fundamental issue of governance. An emergency meeting must be held immediately to publicly clarify Pakatan’s stand on the issue.
“The controversy must end once and for all,” he told reporters during his Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency visit here today.
The Islamic state issue cropped out this week when Kelantan Menteri Besar and PAS adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat declared the PAS state government’s intention to implement hudud laws in the east-coast state.
He also said that PAS had not abandoned its goal to set up an Islamic state.
Karpal, a lawyer by profession, said the Islamic state could never be implemented in any part of Malaysia because the Federal Constitution did not allow it.
He said state constitutions and laws could never contravene provisions under the Federal Constitution, which advocated a secular state.
He insisted that those who drafted the Federal Constitution in 1957 ensured that the country remained secular to safeguard the interests and rights of a multiracial society.
He recalled that a five-man Supreme Court bench led bythen Lord President Mohamed Salleh Abas, declared that the country was a secular state in a landmark decision on a case in 1988.
He said former prime ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn also declared the country as secular.
Even though another former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed that Malaysia was an Islamic state, Karpal stressed that it was more of a “political than legal statement.”
‘No such thing as personal view’ As if adding spice to the controversy, PKR supremo and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim expressed support for Nik Aziz. But the Permatang Pauh parliamentarian was quick to clarify that it was his personal stand.
However, Karpal felt otherwise. “There is no such thing as a personal view when one is in a top political position,” he said.
“When you are a top leader, your views would be construed and perceived as the official party stand,” he added.
The DAP stalwart admitted that “Pakatan had now been hit out of the blue” by an unwarranted political statement from the PAS spiritual adviser.
He hoped that Nik Aziz’s statement did not reflect the stand of the PAS leadership and called on its president Abdul Hadi Awang to clarify the matter.
Karpal recalled that only three months ago, the PAS 57th Muktamar (general assembly) passed a resolution declaring that the party had dropped its Islamic state agenda.
“We thought the agenda was dead and buried then. The public was overjoyed with it. But now this … out of the blue. I don’t understand why Nik Aziz gave such a statement … its mind boggling.
“Perhaps the old man was trying to grab attention,” he said.
He also chided Nik Aziz’s suggestion that DAP could kiss goodbye to Pakatan if it did not agree with PAS’ Islamic agenda.
“It was definitely an unprovoked statement,” said Karpal.