Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the Sibu DAP Branch dinner in Sibu on Saturday, 16th September 1995 at 9 pm
Call on the people of Sibu to pick up the baton from the people of Ragan and declare loud and clear in the next Sarawak state general election that Sarawakians want democracy as well as development by breaking the Barisan Nasional monopoly in the Sarawak State Assembly
I hope that the DAP election petition on Tuesday chal¬lenging the election result of the Lanang parliamentary seat can succeed and that there will be a by-election for the people of Lanang to freely and democratically elect the MP they want.
Recently, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed had been calling on UMNO members to reject the “politics of money” as the source of all evil and corruption in Malaysia.
There must not only be a war against the politics of money in political parties, but also a war against money politics during general elections which pervert the democratic process in denying the voters the right to freely elect the MP of their choice.
It is no secret that the politics of money during general elections is very rampant in Malaysia, and Sarawak is no exception. In fact, it is not unusual for Barisan Nasional candi¬dates to spend more than 100 times the legal limit for election expenses per parliamentary candidate – which is RM50.000 – and Sarawak is high on the list for breach of the election laws limiting campaigning expenditures for candidates.
Given the opportunity, the people of Sarawak should set the pace and start the process to wipe out the politics of money in Sarawak general elections.
In the April general election, the DAP suffered its worst general election defeat in the 29-year DAP history, with the Barisan Nasional winning five-sixth parliamentary majority while the DAP was decimated both in Parliament and the various State Assemblies.
However, when the general election results were an¬nounced on the night of polling day, April 25. there was more shock, disbelief and trauma among Malaysians nation-wide that the DAP had suffered such a great electoral disaster than joy, ela¬tion or celebration at the landslide Barisan Nasional victory.
In fact, I have been told by many supporters through¬out the country that when they heard the dismal election results of the DAP, they were so upset that they could not sleep for a few nights.
There was real cause for the nation-wide shock, disbe¬lief and trauma after the April general election results, for the DAP has established and proved that the voice of the DAP MPs in Parliament was the voice of the people of Malaysia and the weak¬ening of the DAP in Parliament was a weakening of the voice of the people in Parliament.
This was why the great and historic DAP victory in the Bagan by-election on September 9, where the DAP’s 11,802-vote majority was 100 times the DAP majority in the April general election, was greeted both with disbelief but elation throughout the country – for the people identified the DAP’s by-election victory with the victory of the people!
In the Bagan by-election, I told the Bagan voters that they must decide whether they wanted to vote for a MCA “longkang” MP or a DAP MP to send a clear message to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed on behalf of all Malaysians that the people want nor only development but also democracy.
Unless there is a by-election in Lanang, the next test of the will of the people will be the Sarawak state general election which should be held within the next nine months.
I call on the people of Sibu to pick up the baton from the people of Bagan and declare loud and clear in the next Sara¬wak state general election that Sarawakians want democracy as well as development by breaking the Barisan Nasional monopoly in the Sarawak State Assembly.
For four Sarawak state general elections, the Sarawak DAP had failed to make any breakthrough and his has raised the question whether the DAP should stay out of the Sarawak state general election.
Sarawak had been without a genuine voice of the people in the Sarawak state legislative assembly for two decades and the people should be able to see for themselves the weaknesses and even vices of a one-party State Assembly.
As Sarawak State Assembly had been without a genuine voice of the people for two decade, the election of DAP Assemblymen into the Council Negeri will be akin to a political revolution in the State
Without a vigilant and courageous Opposition ill the Sarawak State Assembly, the government has become arrogant, unaccountable and opaque where public resources are no more treated as held in must for the people.
This is why the Sarawak State Government is pushing ahead with the RM15 billion Bakun hydroelectric dam project, in utter disregard of the views or right of the indigenous people in Belaga who would be dislocated and uprooted or the principles of accountability and transparency by subjecting the project to a meaningful public dialogue or EIA examination.
This is also why the Land Code has been amended to give the State Government powers to acquire private land not for public purpose but for private gain.
It is pathetic to see the attempt, by some Barisan Nasional SAs to play the role of the opposition in the last meeting of the Sarawak State Assembly, but who were forced to grovel, withdraw and apologise just for malting the suggestion that there should be no abuse of the state government land acqui¬sition powers under the Sarawak Land Code.
If Barisan Nasional Assemblymen have to grove, with¬draw and apologise just for making such harmless statements, which Barisan Nasional Assemblyman would dare to stand up in the State Assembly to expose actual cases and instances of Sarawak State Government abuses of its land acquisition powers?
As the Sarawak State Assembly had been without a genu¬ine voice of the people for two decades, the election of DAP Assemblymen into the Council Negeri will be akin to a political revolution in the State – except that it is a bloodless revolu¬tion brought about through the ballot box!
This will be the choice of the people of Sarawak in the next Sarawak state general election – whether to write his¬tory by creating a political revolution in Sarawak politics by electing DAP Assemblymen to break the one-party monopoly in the Assembly and provide an effective ‘check-and-balance’ on the Barisan Nasional state government or to allow the one-party state government In Sarawak to continue to ride roughshod over the rights and welfare of future generations of Sarawakians.