DAP is not anti-Islam. DAP is actually pro-Islam.
(To read this article in Bahasa Melayu, please click ‘Nyata DAP menolak sekularisme‘.)
The multiracial opposition party expressly rejects secularism, a concept that de-emphasizes the role of religion.
On the contrary, it is Penang BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow who is not Islam-friendly, claims the DAP’s Malay spokesmen.
Please read this article together with its companion piece, ‘Correctly interpreting Dr M’s ‘Islamic country’ declaration of 2001‘.
Teng was reported in DAP portal Roketkini on Dec 6 as denigrating the action taken by the Pakatan state government to triple its allocation for Muslim affairs in Penang.
He is also quoted as saying the state allegedly did not have enough money to help the Chinese Assembly Hall organise the Chap Goh Meh celebration but nonetheless could increase its allocation for Islamic programmes.
Teng was berated for seemingly being critical of the direction taken by the Guan Eng administration which was interpreted to “mean that the state was moving towards Islamisation”.
Slamming Teng, Zairil Khir Johari reveals that the allocation for Islamic affairs has increased by 300 percent compared to when BN previously ruled Penang.
Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary said: “Since taking over Penang, the state government has increased the provision for Islamic religious affairs from RM12.5 million in 2008 to RM64 million in 2012.”
Caliph is not a secular ruler
According to Zairil, the commitment shown by the DAP-led state government to honour Islam is so great that even a piece of land in Jelutong owned by the Chinese community was acquired to enable the extension of a Muslim cemetery.
The “amar ma’aruf nahi mungkar” injunction famously adopted by Guan Eng – earning him the ‘Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz’ moniker – is reflected through the DAP’s good works such as providing RM22.8 million for the expansion of the Muslim burial ground mentioned above.
Zairil also added that “never before have so many provisions or programmes been carried out to uphold Islam as is being done now” under the state government helmed by the DAP.
Guan Eng is living up to his declaration that he would model his administration upon the caliphate of Islam’s golden age.
All these efforts shown by the state government of Penang, under a Chief Minister who is also the DAP secretary-general, have further enhanced and entrenched the practice of Islam in our public sphere.
Hence some Malays in both DAP and PAS think that Penang BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow should rightly praise, and not belittle instead the initiatives carried out by DAP to Islamicize the state.
What is secularism?
A secular state will have, among others, the following characteristics:
- The state must be neutral towards religion
- The state cannot give religion a privilege position in the public arena
- The state’s coercive powers and resources cannot be utilised in the service of any religion
- The state should not privilege a religion or its adherents over another
- The state should not privilege religion over irreligion
- The state should not permit religion to be a requirement of public office
- The state should not interfere with the affairs of religion and vice-versa
(The above recognised parameters are compiled by historian Dr Malik Munip)
DAP fails the secularism measure
Under secularism, there is separation of state and religion.
Clearly the actions taken by the Guan Eng administration in Penang – such as purchasing land for religious schools, providing an additional budget for these Sekolah Agama Rakyat, paying allowances to Kafa (kelas al-Quran dan fardhu ain) teachers and huffaz as well as endorsing a budget for other Islamic programmes – are antithetical to the concept of secularism that separates State and religion.
A secular state does not base its laws on the laws of Islam or on other ecclesiastical laws. The DAP however – with the exception of Karpal Singh – has not raised any objection to the implementation of hudud affecting Muslims.
Furthermore, DAPsy chief Anthony Loke supports the PAS gender segregation at social functions.
The Guan Eng administration provided a 3.49-acre land to build a new, seven-storey RM72 million Syariah Court complex. This indicates that the DAP secretary-general not only recognizes the paramountcy of Islamic law but he has further strengthened the infrastructure concerned with the implementation of syariah.
Guan Eng’s actions are inimical to the shoring up of secularism in Malaysia. A secular state does not follow the Syariah Court system, which in this country has jurisdiction over more than 60 percent of the population and whose proponents in PAS desire Islamic jurisprudence to supplant civil law.
Looking at the actual practice of Guan Eng and his evangelical cronies like Hannah Yeoh in reinforcing the country’s Islamic framework, it is absurd for DAP to claim that it is a party which believes in secularism.