IPOH, Jan 24 — Forced into defense-mode, DAP leaders are again scrambling to allay fears among Chinese voters that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) endorses the Islamic state agenda.
DAP national vice-chairman M. Kulasegaran insisted today that the accusation was a “lie” used by Barisan Nasional (BN) and the MCA as a “killer weapon” against the opposition during elections.
In his speech at the launch of the “Year of the Rabbit-Change” campaign in Jelapang Market here today, the Ipoh Barat MP gave his assurance that implementing the Islamic state would never be PR’s policy.
“Islamic state is not and will not be the PR’s policy and agenda. DAP’s stand on the Islamic state is very clear,” he said.
He noted that during the previous Galas by-election in Kelantan, MCA had armed itself with the issue to score votes from the Chinese community.
BN trounced PAS in its Kelantan fortress during the Galas polls and the ruling coalition succeeded in increasing its Chinese votes by over 40 per cent from Elections 2008.
Taking a leaf from Galas, MCA kicked off its campaign in the ongoing Tenang polls by using the same Islamic state playbook against its opposition foes, warning the community that a vote for PAS’ candidate or for PR was a vote for Islamic state.
“There is no doubt that Islamic state issue will be the main issue MCA will want to exploit in the coming general election.
“But MCA’s campaign whether in the Tenang by election or coming general election that ‘A vote for Rocket is a vote for Islamic State’ or ‘ A vote for PR is a vote for Islamic State ‘ is not true and is a lie,” Kulasegaran said.
He added that DAP would hold strong to its belief that Malaysia should remain a secular democratic nation with Islam as its national religion.
“We will not compromise our stand and principle. PR has been formed to bring about political change and save Malaysia,” he said.
The Islamic state argument, he insisted, was a “non-issue”.
He urged voters to help the opposition spread PR’s message of “change” through their votes.
Today’s campaign, he said, was to register new voters and to help existing voters check their voting statuses.
Quoting statistics provided by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz last year, Kulasegaran said that there were 4,304,620 eligible voters in the country that were yet to be registered.
“Thus nearly 30 per cent qualified citizens have yet to sign up as voters.
“It is imperative that those who want to see and bring political change in the next general election must quickly sigh up as voters,” he said.
As a part of PR’s bid to protect the environment through minimising the use of plastic bags, he said those who registered during the campaign will be given free recycle bags.