DAP calls for a National Front of Opposition Parties

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr Lim Kit Siang, at the sixth anniversary dinner of Malacca DAP held at Men Seng Charitable Association on Saturday 30th December 1972 at 8p.m.

DAP calls for a National Front of Opposition Parties

The year 1972 marks the end of three opposition parties in West Malaysia, namely Party Gerakan, the People’s Progressive Party and Parti Islam, and their absorption by the Alliance under the banner of National Front of Coalition Parties.

Over the last three years, the Alliance coalition rule has shown that there has been no fundamental changes in the policies and programmes of the government.

In fact, over the last three years, the two basic problems in the country have become even more acute and complex.

Firstly, the goal of national unity among Malaysians of diverse races, languages, cultures and religions has become even more distant. Despite the Rukunegara, the Department of National Unity, the National Advisory Unity Council, and the National Front of Alliance and Coalition Parties, racial polarization in Malaysian life at all levels have increased with passing month. It is a reflection of the inability and unwillingness on the part of the government leaders to truly accept in principle and practice the basic fact that Malaysia must be lived and governed as a truly multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious society if there is going to be national unity and a common sense of identity.

Secondly, the goal of eliminating poverty, of closing the gap between the haves and have nots, between the economically advanced and depressed areas, is equally as remote. All that the New Economic Policy, the Second Malaysia Five Year Plan, and all the Alliance and coalition promises and propaganda have succeeded in doing is to create a new class of Malay rich to match the affluent high-life of the MCA tycoons and compradores. Today, thanks to the New Economic Policy and the Second Malaysia Plan, there are many UMNO leaders who can live an political homes entertain as grandly as their MCA counterparts. But this does not touch the surface of the mass object poverty in the Malay kampongs and among the Malay fishermen who have to eke out a living at $50 a month. While the New Economic Policy and the Second Five Year Plan did not materially help the Malay poor and have-nots, they provide a good excuse for the government, for all practical purposes, to ignore the plight of the non-Malay poor in the estates, new villages and urban slums.

There is in fact, in Malaysia, a double polarization. Firstly, there is the racial polarization. Secondly, there is the class polarization, where the gulf between the haves and the have-nots, instead of narrowing, is becoming bigger and bigger every day.

The National Front of Alliance and Coalition Parties are designed, not to end this double polarization, but to silence or reduce criticism to them.

The National Front of Alliance and Coalition Parties is a subtle but serious threat to the democratic process in Malaysia, for it is paving the way for the emergence of a one-party rule in the country, and the end of all political dissent.

In fact, we can see all round us the undemocratic and totalitarian features of the Alliance and coalition government.

In view of these developments, there is a need for the opposition parties which are outside the
National Front of Coalition Parties to re-assess the now political situation.

As a counter to the National Front of Coalition Parties, and with the three-fold objective of (i) ensuring the emergence of a genuine multi-racial Malaysia ; (ii) the upliftment and betterment of the kampong poor, the estate poor and the urban poor and opposition to the creation of a new Malay elite rich at the expense of continued poverty of the kampong Malays; (iii) the defense and advancement of the democratic process in Malaysia, the DAP feels there is a merit in the formation of a National Front of Opposition Parties to rally opposition forces in the country.

There are bound to be considerable problems in the way of forming such a National Front, bearing in mind the past experiences of the different opposition parties and their separate political principles. The DAP, however, is prepared to enter into formal discussions with opposition parties outside the National Front of Coalition Parties with a view towards forming a national counter, namely, the National Front Opposition Parties.
Such a National Front of Opposition Parties will greatly strengthen the democratic process and forces in the country.