Code of conduct for political parties at elections

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP public rally at Lawan Kuda, Gopeng, on Saturday, 2nd November 1968 at 8 p.m.

The Sarawak National Party (SNAP) last week called for the establishment of an all-party elections commission to draw up a code of conduct for political parties at the forthcoming general elections.

A code of conduct for the general elections is very necessary in order to forestall dishonest and unscrupulous politicking during elections. This is why the DAP had also called for such an all-party commission to draw up an electoral code at the end of last year.

From past election experiences, the ruling Alliance had always been guilty of dishonest and unscrupulous politicking.

In any parliamentary democracy, there is a clear-cut distinction between the ruling party and the government. This should be particularly marked during the general elections period.

It is unethical and undemocratic to use government machinery, manpower and resources for the election campaign of the ruling party, as invariably happened in Malaysia.

The recent Segamat Utara Parliamentary by-election was no exception. During the by-election campaign, Ministry of Information vans and personnel were used to publicise and spread Alliance propaganda.

Information Ministry officials sent invitations to parents through school children asking them to attend ‘important meeting’ in schools, where the Mentri Besar of Johore and other government officials will discuss with them important matters.

When the parents turned up, there were treated to election speeches by Alliance leaders, extolling the virtues of the Alliance, and urging them to vote for the ‘sailing boat’ on polling day.

Through its control of local councils, the Alliance also denied permission to the DAP to hold public rallies on the eve of polling day. Furthermore, the Alliance made use of penghulus, who are paid out of public funds, to be their kampong canvassers, and to ensure a high voting turnout for the Alliance.

Such abuse of public resources and personnel for party advantage is highly deplorable. It is even more questionable when officials of the ruling party tour the country and give out public funds before or during general elections, which is tantamount to bribery of voters.

Among the questions which the all-party commission should decide on are:

* PREVENTION of the abuse of government personnel and resources to serve party ends during elections;
* FAIR allocation of radio and television time for the contesting political parties;
* Machinery to implement the code of conduct.

If the Alliance really wants to uphold clean and decent political campaigning, then it must endorse our call for an all-party elections commission to draw up a code.

The DAP will be getting in touch with other opposition political parties to propose that this matter be taken up jointly with the government.

Audited on 2021-03-03