DAP calls for all–party meeting to allocate radio and TV time during general elections

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the Perak DAP State Committee Meeting at Ipoh, on Tuesday, 11th March 1969 at 7.30p.m.

During the forthcoming general elections campaign, the competing political parties should get fair allocation of radio and television time to explain their party platform and programmes to the electorate.

In the past, the Alliance party unilaterally and arbitrarily allocated radio time to the various political parties, with it getting the lion’s share. Apart from other semi-political radio broadcasts, the entire radio network was virtually devoted to alliance propaganda during the general elections.

This is unfair and undemocratic. During general elections, the radio and television facilities should be fairly available to the various competing political parties to put their views to the electorate so that the voters can choose between the various parties and platforms with an informed mind.

The DAP therefore calls for the setting up of an all party committee to allocate radio and television time to the various competing parties in the general elections, on fair and equitable and democratic basis. This should be decided now, and not wait until after Nomination Day.

Apart from straight party broadcasts, there should also be forums on the main political issues on radio and television, like nation building, education, labour, defence, etc., so that the electorate can compare not only the various politics of the different parties, but their leaders.

I know the Alliance will not like this suggestion, as they have made it a habit to avoid forums – largely because most of their leaders cannot stand up publicly and defend their policies. But this Alliance discomfiture should not be sufficient ground to deny the electorate an opportunity to compare the various parties on during radio and television forum confrontations.

If the one-man one-vote is to be meaningful, then it is essential that during polling day, every voter should have the opportunity to go and cast his vote.

In previous elections and by-elections, many voters were prevented from going to vote because they had to work overtime in their factories. It is believed that this is the result of Alliance trickery, because the Alliance knows that the majority of the laboring class would vote the opposition.

To prevent this from happening, the DAP propose that polling day in the coming general elections should be declared a paid public holiday. This will emphasize the importance of polling day, which symbolizes the working of the democratic process in this country.