DAP Central Executive Committee to meet on general election plans and preparations

The Organising Secretary of the Democratic Action Party, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today (17.11.1968) issued the following statement:

The Central Executive Committee of the DAP will meet in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to discuss and review general election plans and preparations.

The Party has been greatly encouraged by the Segamat Utara Parliamentary by-election results last month.

When the DAP contested by the Segamat Utara parliamentary by-election, the DAP had not yet officially established a branch in Segamat. We had then only a handful of members.

But despite the fact that the DAP was new to Segamat and its voters, despite our limited manpower, material and financial resources, we were able to secure close to 6,000 votes in less than three weeks’ work, which was better than any past opposition result.

This showed that the democratic socialist and Malaysian Malaysia message of the DAP has got the support of the thinking Malaysians.

The Alliance had twenty times the financial, manpower and material resources as the DAP, and had been in Segamat for nearly 20 years. But its result was not reflected by the amount of money and manpower it had poured into the campaign. In fact, its 1964 total number of voters and majority had been reduced.

It is my conservative estimate that the Alliance spent at least $100,000 in the Segamat Utara Parliamentary by-election. The DAP’s expenditure was in the region of $5,000.

The DAP would have done better, if the DAP had been established in Segamat well before the by-election.

The DAP would have done better, and might even have won, if not for three factors:

1. At least 1,000 voters found on polling day that their names had been struck off the electoral registers, and had therefore lost their right to vote. These persons had voted in previous general elections, and had not moved to new addresses. It is clear that the Alliance had been playing foul in canceling out voters from traditionally anti-Alliance towns and new villagers. We have called for a commission of inquiry into this serious tempering with the electoral register, but the Alliance government has not made a single comment. If the Alliance government would not hold an inquiry, then it must be exposed as having tempered with the electoral register for its own political advantage.

2. The boycott campaign by the Labour Party, which was given police permit to hold public rallies throughout the constituency.

3. The low percentage of voting in towns and new villages. The voting turnout in towns and new villages is in the region of 65 per cent, while the kampong voting turn-out exceeded 90 per cent.

I do not believe that the kampong voters are more politically conscious than voters in towns and new villages. If anything, I would think they are less politically conscious. But they turned out solidly to vote because the Alliance used the penghulu system for its party advantage. The penghulu, who is a government servant, is turned into an Alliance election canvasser, who sees to it that every voter in the kampong go and vote, and vote the Alliance.

This must be a lesson for all of us. The DAP can win in the general elections in many constituencies, if the voters in towns and new villagers cast their votes on polling day. If the percentage of voting in kampongs and town areas had been the same in the Segamat Utara Parliamentary by-election, the DAP would have won.

Audited on 2021-03-11