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DAP today launched a nationwide campaign themed - 'Democratic and secular Malaysia forever' - in conjunction with the National Day celebrations to oppose any form of Islamic state espoused by any political party in this country.

Speaking at the launch at the party headquarters in Petaling Jaya, its secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock said the campaign was a continuation of a similar endeavour undertaken by DAP to oppose Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's declaration that Malaysia was an Islamic state in 2001.

The previous campaign was known as ' No to 929 ' reflecting the date Sept 29, when the premier made the announcement during the Gerakan general assembly.

Serious implications

According to Kerk, the latest campaign was a call on Malaysians to "reaffirm the greatest contribution of first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

"We must reaffirm the principle that Malaysia is a democratic, multi-religious and secular nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state.

"Although the Barisan Nasional government has assured that everything shall remain the same, the declaration has far reaching implications on our nation-building process," he said.

Kerk said an Islamic state - according to Umno or PAS - violated the social contract reached by the different communities after achieving independence, the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and the1963 Malaysia Agreement.

'Election dry-run'

The Kota Melaka MP said DAP still has much to do in order to raise public awareness on the issue.

"Today's campaign is also an election dry run. We are not holding the campaign for votes, but the rakyat can use their votes to send a clear message as there was no referendum or consultation (prior to the declaration).

"Only through votes, the ruling government can interpret what is the needed by the people," he added.

Also present at the launch were Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun, Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai, national publicity chief Ronnie Liu and Youth wing leaders, who distributed leaflets to hawkers at a nearby market.

The party's opposition towards the Islamic state led its leaders to cross swords with its former ally PAS and subsequently saw DAP withdraw from the opposition front Barisan Alternatif in September 2001.