KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — Umno secretary-general Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has dismissed the possibility of Malaysia transforming into a secular state, amid concerns raised by Perikatan Nasional (PN) over DAP’s party constitution.
In a report by Umno Online, Asyraf Wajdi emphasised that any claims by PN that Umno’s alliance in the federal government coalition would threaten the sanctity of Islam and the position of the Malays were misguided.
“[The public] is still carried away by the notion and accusations thrown by the Perikatan Nasional opposition that the presence of Umno in the unity government causes Islam, the position of the Malays to be threatened and the latest saying that Malaysia will become a secular country.
“The fact is that it is not possible that this country will turn into a secular country. We have to first understand what is actually secular,” he was quoted as saying after a casual chat session with party members from Parit Keroma in Johor yesterday.
He said Malaysia is unlikely to turn secular due to the prominence of Islam in the country, including the faith as the religion of the federation in the Constitution, in addition to Article 153 which guarantees Malay privileges, and the recognition of Malay as the official language in Article 152.
To alter these parts of the Federal Constitution, Asyraf Wajdi highlighted that a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat was required, equivalent to 148 MPs — something that DAP cannot achieve by itself.
“How is it possible that DAP will change the Constitution with just 40 only? How is it possible that the Malay Rulers will agree to amend the Constitution to change Islam to secular because in the Constitution there are only two ways to amend the chapter related to Islam, the Federal religion or vice versa.
“First there must be 148 seats, two-thirds in the Dewan Rakyat. The second must be approved by the Council of Malay Rulers,” he was quoted as saying by the news portal.
Asyraf Wajdi also criticised the perpetuation of these issues by PN, labelling them as deliberate falsehoods aimed at exploiting racial and religious sentiments for political gain.
“So, if there are these issues that continue to be played out, I say this is a lie that deliberately wants to play on the sentiments of racism and religion that only because of the madness of power is willing to gamble with the fate of the people as a whole. There are no people in this world whose majority rights are threatened,” he reportedly said.
PN has renewed its attack on DAP after Johor Umno’s Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said DAP must also do its part to help the national unity government gain the support of Malay voters by “dropping the agenda of secular state and the slogan of Malaysian Malaysia from its party constitution”.
Despite Nur Jazlan’s claim, Clause II in DAP’s party constitution only describes the Federal Constitution as a secular document and a “secular framework as the supreme law of the land”. Another article under the clause promoting national integration also called for the party to “infuse a national spirit and unity amongst all races to forge a common identity of a united Malaysian Malaysia”.