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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — A veteran politician has questioned if Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) is now headed in the direction of Islamist party PAS, following Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recent vow to fight ‘secularism and liberalism’ and uphold moderate Sunni Muslim teachings.
DAP’s stalwart Lim Kit Siang, through a statement, highlighted the various instances of how the formation of the Federal Constitution contained articles that uphold Islam as the country’s official religion, but at the same time protect the rights of others to freely practise other religions as they wish.
Lim also pointed out that despite the presence of an official religion, the Federal Constitution also acknowledges the country is effectively a ‘secular state’, even including how former Lord President of the Supreme Court, Tun Salleh Abas had in a December 1987 ruling described Malaysia as governed by ‘secular law’.
The Iskandar Puteri MP said the words of Bersatu president Muhyiddin, during the party’s Annual Grand Meeting on November 28, where he vowed to combat secularism would effectively put him in conflicting positions with the Constitution and National Principles (Rukun Negara), demanding the Prime Minister clarify his party’s position.
“In the light of this constitutional and historical background, Muhyiddin’s speech at the Bersatu AGM 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,” Lim wrote in a statement today.
Muhyiddin had during the same speech in November said the alliance that was cobbled together between his party, Umno, and PAS was God’s will despite them being political enemies before.
He had said the unity of the three Malay parties was caused by divine will, before promising Perikatan Nasional would fight to return ‘moderate’ Sunni Muslim teachings, which form the basis of the brand of Islam solely recognised by Putrajaya, and to ‘fight secularism and liberalism’.