No reason for DAP to amend constitution as in line with Federal Constitution, Aziz Bari tells Nur Jazlan

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

IPOH, Sep 1 — Perak DAP vice-chairman Abdul Aziz Bari said there is no reason for the party to amend its constitution as it was written in line with the Federal Constitution, especially pertaining to issues related to Malay-Muslim rights.

The Tebing Tinggi assemblyman said that DAP’s “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan in Clause II of its party constitution simply means Malaysia belongs to Malaysians and nothing more than that.

“The problem with some Malays is they think this slogan is the abolition of those positions including the special position of the Malays.

“We have explained that those provisions cannot be abolished; it’s above politics,” he told Malay Mail.

Abdul Aziz was responding to Umno supreme council member Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who called on new ally DAP to amend its party constitution in order for the federal government coalition to gain support from Malay voters.

Nur Jazlan said Umno is having difficulties in doing so due to the perception of DAP’s purported “extreme” views on a secular state and “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan.

Abdul Aziz explained that DAP had signed the “Buku Jingga” during the time of Pakatan Rakyat, which consisted of three major parties namely PKR, DAP and PAS.

The political manifesto had stressed that Islam, the Malay Rulers, the national language, and the special position of the Malays were non-issues.

“This has been reiterated under now Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently said publicly that DAP never raised issues of Islam or Malay agenda, let alone objected it.

“More importantly, these are all enshrined in the Federal and State Constitutions,” he said.

He reiterated that the provisions on Islam, monarchy, national language, citizenship and special position of Malays cannot be changed or abolished even with the full support of both Houses of Parliament.

“This requires the consent of the Malay Rulers in the Conference of Rulers. But we know who went around spinning the lies about it in the GE14 campaign.

“The fact remains that the command of the Malay language among DAP ministers such as Lim Guan Eng, Anthony Loke, Tony Pua or V. Sivakumar is better than some Malay ministers.

“And it was Umno who contested in the Malay-majority areas (under the unity government), not DAP,” he said.

Abdul Aziz also pointed out that it was Umno leaders who once called for the abolition of powers vested in the Malay Rulers (during the 1983 and 1993 crises).

“It was (then) Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who raised the issue about Malay reserve lands which he claimed had put the Malays in the same category of Red Indians in the United States of America.

“DAP never went to this extreme,” he stressed.

Abdul Aziz also told Nur Jazlan that he should be aware that the Federal Constitution is centred on equality and not privileges.

“This is evident in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution. Privileges for the Malays and immunity for the Rulers are exceptions.

“And the very nature of exceptions is that they are rare and small in number.

“But, of course, the best way to shed light on the issues raised by Nur Jazlan is through open debate,” he added.

On the matter of secularism, Abdul Aziz said that the word “secular” itself is open to various interpretations.

“Certainly, DAP is not anti-religion and having been in power at both the state and federal level since 2008, DAP has shown that there is no reason for the Malays to be suspicious of DAP.

“Umno itself used to be a pragmatic party espousing pragmatism as its ideology. Perhaps Nur Jazlan is not aware of that, as Umno suddenly become a born-again Islamist party after losing five states in the 2008 tsunami.

“Prior to that Umno was even against hudud laws.

“Secular in the DAP context ought to be understood as something practical rather than ideological; it seeks to avoid religion being used and manipulated for political gain,” he explained.

Abdul Aziz also said that DAP used the Federal Constitution as its benchmark and as part of the ruling coalition, adding that the party is bound by the constraints of the Federal Constitution.