Veterans group rejects petition to turn Malaysia into an 'Islamic state'

National Patriots Association President Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said any suggestion to amend the Constitution should be for making it more democratic and not more autocratic.
National Patriots Association President Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said any suggestion to amend the Constitution should be for making it more democratic and not more autocratic.PHOTO: ST FILE

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The National Patriots Association (Patriot) has rejected a Muslim group's petition to declare Malaysia an Islamic state, saying that the Federal Constitution must remain as the founding fathers intended.

Brigadier-General (Retired) Mohamed Arshad Raji, the president of the association that comprises military and police veterans, said any suggestion to amend the Constitution should be for making it more democratic and not more autocratic.

"Patriot is with G25 in stating that we will not support amendments that will change us from a democracy to an authoritarian regime or to a theocracy," he said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 3). G25 is a group made up of prominent Malays known for pushing a more moderate view of Islam.

Datuk Mohamed Arshad said Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), which had launched its petition to reject a secular government, should define what it meant by "Islamic state".

"If it means that the system of government is to be run by a council of ulama that supersedes the current democratic parliamentary system, then it will be a futile cause as mainstream Malaysians will not support it."

"Examples are aplenty of Muslim countries with a theocratic system (that are) not well governed and not progressive, even to the extent of being failed states," he added.

Mr Mohamed Arshad said that in many ways, Malaysia already adopted Islamic principles in the system of governance and administration, as the nation recognised Islam as the official religion.

"Patriot is also of the view that under the current democratic Constitution, our country has a better chance to develop into a united and successful nation than under a Constitution based on theocracy," he added.