Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the Perak DAP State Convention held at Jubilee Park Hall, Jalan Brewster, Ipoh, on Sunday, 10th February, 1974 at 10.00 a.m.
1. DAP calls on Tun Razak to dissolve Parliament and hold fresh general elections on the expiry of the five-year mandate in May 1974.
The present government was elected on May 10, 1969 with a mandate to rule the country for a period of five years.
This mandate will expire in three months’ time. The DAP calls on Tun Razak ,to dissolve Parliament and hold fresh general elections so that the Alliance government would not exceed the five-year mandate it has received from the people.
Every day of Alliance government rule after May 10, 1974 is a day of government rule without popular mandate, or moral authority. Alliance leaders may try to hide behind some technical legalism to justify their rule until February 1976, but this is morally without basis or justification.
The moral case for the seeking of a new mandate from the people is all the more powerful when we take into consideration that the National Front government comprise parties which have no mandate whatsoever to team up with the Alliance to form coalition governments, whether at the Federal or State levels, like the SUPP of Sarawak, the Parti Gerakan of Penang, the PPP of Perak and Parti PAS.
2. DAP Plans for the next general elections
In the next general elections, the DAP will concentrate its main efforts in Penang. Perak, Selangor, the federal Territory, Negri Sembilan, Malacca, and Johore, although we will be fielding candidates in Kedah and Pahang.
It should be one of our main objectives at the coming general elections to smash the National Front politics and show to the country and the world that this brand of politics, which is no more than buying and selling of entire opposition parties regardless of the interests of the people or the previously declared political principles and objectives, is universally repudiated by electorate.
We should put forward our alternative policies for the country which can form the basis for the economic, educational, social and cultural development of the country and at the same time unite the diverse races and peoples of Malaysia into one cohesive and purposive nationhood.
We will go for quality, and not quantity, in the fielding of candidates, for we must be even more vigilant this time than in the past to weed out opportunistic and self-seeking elements.
Thus on the eve of the last general elections, the Party leadership decided to drop proposed candidate for the Kampar parliamentary constituency, although he was a professional man. We were not convinced that he was dedicated to the service of the people and party. We fielded instead Sdr. Fan Yew Teng, at that time, a complete unknown in Malaysian politics.
This has proved to be a wise decision, although at that time, many of our comrades in Kampar opposed in. Incidentally, this professional person whom we dropped has now become a fairly top official in the MCA, Perak. This will not be the only instance where DAP rubbish has been taken as jewels and given top political posts by other parties, including opposition parties.
Despite this, we were not careful enough in 1969 to sieve out political opportunists and self-seekers like the Richard Hos, Michael Kho Walter Lohs, Chin Chan Sungs and A. Socrians – for which, we had suffered.
The DAP Central Executive Committee is therefore determined that for the next round of general elections, we will only put forward candidates who can stand the test of time and the greatest political pressure, and who are prepared to subordinate their personal life to the greater cause of the party and the people’s welfare.
3. Prices in Malaysia have gone mad!
The greatest failure of the National Front government is its complete helplessness and unwillingness to take firm and positive measures to check spiralling prices.
In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that today, the prices in Malaysia have gone mad! Prices of essential items like rice, cooking oil, foodstuffs and clothings change, not from year to year, but virtually from day to day!
The Malaysian Chinese have just passed a Chinese New Year, and it is again no exaggeration to say that this is the most difficult Chinese New Year for the poor and low-income Chinese, where one Malaysian dollar cannot but 50 cents of things.
I had suggested the Parliament the formation of a Fair Prices Tribunal to protect consumers against unscrupulous hoarding, profiteering, and speculation, but refused to accept my suggestion, because it does not want to put any obstacles in the way of profiteers to make money.
The government should stop dragging its feet and stop making speeches, but take firm and positive action to check prices and bring them down to more reasonable-levels.
The first thing it should do is to establish a Fair Prices Tribunal, where every proposed price increase must be referred to, to be followed by public inquiry. Any consumer not happy about the pricing of any article can also lodge a complaint with the Fair Prices Tribunal.
Finally, I call on all private sector employers to immediately award COLA payments to their employees to help them tide over the period of high prices.