KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — DAP today called on Malaysians to refuse any bid to split them using race or religion, saying that they will instead be stronger together when there is respect for each other’s constitutional rights and obligations.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said this in conjunction with Easter celebrations tomorrow.
“Malaysians must protect, preserve and promote the basic tenets of our Federal Constitution that stipulates Islam as the religion of the Federation and guarantees freedom of religion for non-Muslims.
“All Malaysians should reject attempts by irresponsible elements to divide us by stigmatising Malaysians based on race or religion,” the Bagan MP said in a statement today.
Lim said it was a cause for great concern that such views seeking to divide Malaysians are allegedly being held by leaders of the current federal government.
He cited in particular a suggestion by a minister from PAS for a two-thirds parliamentary majority to be obtained in elections in order to gerrymander electoral constituencies that favour Malays and Muslims.
“Gerrymandering constituencies with a religious or racial bias is unconstitutional. This is no different from an electoral racial or religious apartheid that would change Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak to a mutant variant,” Lim said.
Gerrymandering involves the changing and redrawing of boundaries of electoral constituencies typically for purposes such as to give an unfair advantage to a political party or to dilute the voting power of voters based on their race.
In a redelineation of Malaysia’s voting boundaries roughly a month before the May 2018 elections, the Election Commission was accused by critics of having gerrymandered seats to favour the then ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and to have converted multiracial seats where no one race is dominant into seats with dominant numbers of Malay or Chinese voters.
Lim today stressed the importance of unity for peace, harmony and prosperity.
“The Federal Constitution unites us all by setting out our rights and obligations. Malaysians are stronger together by respecting our differences and supporting each other’s rights and obligations. This respect is the basis for peace and harmony in our society. This togetherness is also the platform for economic prosperity for us and our children.
“Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists or Sikhs, we are all Malaysians. Happy Easter!” he said.
While Lim did not name the PAS minister, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, who is also PAS central committee member, was reported to have suggested the redrawing of voting boundaries to favour Muslims and Malays.
In a March 21 Facebook post, Khairuddin had said PAS sees a need for the long term to win the 15th general election with a two-thirds majority.
“At that time, a change in electoral boundaries that benefit Malay Muslims and an increase in parliamentary seats in Malay-majority states can be worked on,” he had said in the Facebook post, adding that the way to achieve this ambition was by continuing to strengthen the cooperation between three unnamed Malay parties and also voicing the importance of maintaining straight fights to win the 15th general election.
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