Kong See Hoh
PETALING JAYA (May 5, 2008): DAP central policy and strategic planning commission chairman Lim Kit Siang feels the time is ripe for all parties to relook the social contract upon which the nation was founded.
"We have not discussed the social contract since Merdeka" he said.
Speaking to Sin Chew Daily in an interview published today, the DAP veteran and Ipoh Timur MP said in the wake of the March 8 general election, parties from both sides of the political divide and the people should ponder where the country is headed.
He suggested the various political parties organise an all-Malaysian summit to examine the country's achievements for the last 50 years and determine the direction the country should take to forge ahead.
On the possibility that Pakatan Rakyat might lose the support of some Malays for proposing to replace Malay supremacy (Ketuanan Melayu) with people's supremacy (Ketuanan Rakyat), Lim felt that if the country is to head for the development of a Bangsa Malaysia, the emphasis should be on people's supremacy, and to rise above race, religion and party.
"And there should be no more distinction between bumiputras and non-bumiputras," he added.
"Fifty years since the birth of the nation, we have veered off course. Non-Malays feel they have not been given fair treatment. Have we gone against the Bangsa Malaysia concept of vision 2020? In fact, we have not really faced up to the most basic question," he said.
"In the past, our politics were raced-based and the recent general election was meaningful in that it broke down the race barriers. But how long can this last?
"How are we going to strengthen the present political milieu, so that we move towards the forging of a Bangsa Malaysia? These, we have to explore and make efforts (to achieve)," he said.
Lim recognised the fact that changes cannot take place overnight and that the people also need time to accept changes.
"The message of the March 8 elections is that 'we should focus our attention on the nation-building agenda'," he said.
In the interview, Lim also dwelled on the issue of Islamic state, which he felt will be an acid test for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and an important factor that determines if the coalition lasts.
"If PR cannot come up with an effective mechanism to handle and set clear objectives of cooperation, there will be big problems (for PR) in the future."
He said PAS should learn from the failure of the alternative front in 1999 and stop raising the Islamic state issue again.
He also stressed that PR is not a platform for individual parties to realise their objectives.
"The people voted for PR in the recent election because they want a change. The people wanted a clean and transparent government, they wanted judicial reforms and rejected corruption. These are the changes they want and not an Islamic state," he said.
He said the establishment of an Islamic state is against the principles of cooperation within PR and the remarks by PAS top leadership that the component parties of Pakatan are able to accept the Islamic state concept are not reflecting the facts.
"Not only are the people worried about the Islamic state issue, we too are worried, because if it is not handled properly, PR will fail, which is not what we want to see. We want to realise the people's aspirations for change."
Lim said DAP has all these while been against the Islamic state concept "because it goes against the structure of our plural society".
"We don't want to change the present categorisation of (Malaysians into) bumiputras and non-bumiputras to one of Muslims and non-Muslims. It is against the social contract. Malaysia is a secular state and not an Islamic state. This is our principle," he said.
The Sun 6/5/08