PETALING JAYA: DAP chairman Karpal Singh dismissed former prime minister Dr Mahathir
Mohamad as being “mischievous” for saying that the former was the winner of the recent PAS elections as the party has discarded its Islamic state agenda.
The veteran lawyer urged his PAS allies not to be influenced by Mahathir’s view, saying: “PAS should not be distracted from its plans to strive for a welfare state despite attacks from Mahathir and others of his ilk in Umno.”
Karpal said Umno had obviously panicked and gone on a vicious campaign to attack PAS and the party should show its mettle in fending off such unwarranted criticism.
Crediting PAS for its bold and pragmatic move, Karpal said that DAP and PKR hailed PAS’ move to pursue a welfare state instead of an Islamic state.
“To PAS’ credit, its decision gives spirit and expression to provisions in the Quran which advocates a welfare state. After all, provisions in the Quran are commands to Muslims.
“This development will, no doubt, draw the support of both Muslims and non-Muslims for the Pakatan Rakyat in the coming general election,” he said.
On Tuesday, Mahathir accused PAS of forsaking its struggle for an Islamic state just to appease DAP, saying that Karpal had “won big” in his fight against an Islamic state.
“PAS no longer has to cross over Karpal’s dead body, nor does Karpal have to die… he is not even dead and PAS has made its struggle for an Islamic state a matter of secondary importance,” Mahathir wrote in a blog posting.
However, Karpal today reminded Mahathir of his own speeches in the past.
“In 2001, Mahathir had, in utter contempt of the Federal Constitution, publicly announced that Malaysia was an Islamic state and several days later followed up by saying Malaysia was an extremist Islamic state,” said Karpal.
He added that a five-men panel of the Federal Court, led by the then Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas, had declared the country was ruled by secular law, meaning Malaysia was not an Islamic state.
‘I apologised to Muslims’
Karpal admitted that he uttered “Islamic state over my dead body” during the 1990 general election campaign, but had withdrawn the statement and apologised for it in 1999, when DAP was together with PAS and Semangat 46 in Barisan Alternatif.
“The Barisan Nasional propaganda machinery had taken my statement completely out of context. I made it in the context of the constitutional provisions. Muslims in the country were hurt by my statement.
“I had withdrawn the statement and apologised if I had hurt the feelings of Muslims. However, my stand and that of DAP against the setting up of an Islamic state persisted,” he said.
Karpal said he had all along maintained it was wrong to pursue an Islamic state on the grounds that the Federal Constitution provided for a secular state and the Reid Commission, which included Islamic jurists, had carefully provided for this position when presenting the Federal Constitution to the country on Merdeka day.
During the recent PAS general assembly, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang declared the party will not work with Umno in a unity government as the ruling party was ruled by self-interest, saying that PAS would work towards a welfare state that is fair to all if it took power.
Hadi had also said the welfare state that the Islamist party plans to create is, in principle, similar to an Islamic state, turning away from the mainstream view that such a label meant heavy punishment including cutting limbs for theft and stoning for adultery.
Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat refuted claims that the party had discarded its Islamic state agenda to suit the opposition coalition partners PKR and DAP, which subscribe to secularism.
Nik Aziz had also claimed to have proof that Mahathir himself had previously threatened to impose Mageran (National Operation Council) on Kelantan if the state went ahead and implemented hudud on Muslims convicted of penal crimes.