Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP National Public Rally at Ipoh Municipal Padang on Saturday, 30th March 1974 at 9 p.m.
The issues of the next general elections
In the 1969 general elections, the percentage of votes polled by the Alliance feel by 14% from a respectable majority of 58.5% in 1964 to a minority vote of 44.9%.
The whole object of the politics of coalition governments and the formation of a National Front is to convert the present government based on minority electoral support into a majority one.
Tun Razak is mistaken however if he thinks that by roping in leaders of opposition parties like Dr. Lim Chong Eu, Dato S. P. Seenivasagam and Dato Mohd. Asri, he was won over the people who had voted against the Alliance in the last general elections.
The recent Pasir Puteh Tengah State by-election in Kelantan is a good example. Although the UMNO candidate, Raja Mahmood bin Mamat, won the by-election with a majority of 1,671 votes, it would be interesting to do a little analysis of the results.
Although Raja Mahmood was a UMNO member, he actually stood on a UMNO-PAS coalition, receiving full support from PAS in their stronger state.
The Coalition candidate secured 4,477 votes, while an Independent candidate, Encik Musa Salleh 2,806 votes, and the PSRM candidate, Encik Yaacob bin Abdul Rahman, 865 votes, losing his deposit.
The total anti-coalition votes was 3,671 votes, or 45% of the total votes cast, which is no small figure.
In 1969, the UMNO and PAS candidates polled respectively, 4,272 votes and 4,257 votes, bringing to a total of 8,529 votes.
The Coalition candidate in the by-election, in securing only 4,477 votes, despite the full support given by PAS, has lost 4,257 of the total UMNO-PAS votes in 1969. In other words, the UMNO Raja Mahmood bin Mamat has only succeeded in winning 220 of the 4,257 voters who opposed the Alliance candidate in 1969.
The Pasir Puteh Tengah State by-election results throws into doubt the assertion by Run Razak at the Gerakan Delegates Conference in Penang on March 9 that UMNO and PAS could unite the Malays, and that it was “up to parties such as the Gerakan and MCA to gain the support of the non-Malays.”
I dare say that at the next general elections, Tun Razak and the National Front leaders will find out that by roping in the amenable opposition parties into a Grand Coalition, they have not won over the people who had in the last elections supported the Gerakan, the PPP or the PAS.
Over 50% of the electorate in Malaysia voted against the Alliance in the last general elections not because of the charisma or personality of Dr. Lim Chong Eu, Dato S. P. Seenivasagam, or Dato Mohd. Asri, but because of their rejection of Alliance economic, social, educational and cultural policies, which perpetuated the division between the rich and the poor and the distinction between the privileged and the unprivileged.
The policies of the National Front are no different from those of the Alliance, and for the same reason, the majority of the people will reject the National Front candidate at the next general elections.
This is why some National Front parties are getting desperate for they expect to be eliminated from the political arena. This explains the recent overtures which he PPP has made to the Gerakan asking to merge with it. Dato S. P. Seenivasagam probably thinks that Dr. Lim Chong Eu can save his political life. I am not sure, for I think Dr Lim Chong Eu is uncertain about his own political future.
DAP’s Task in the Next General Elections
The political grievances, the economic, educational and social injustices, of the people, which found expression in the 1969 General Elections, have not been attended to, and are more acute than before.
The Alliance has hoped that after May 13, and the heavy-landed emergency rule which tried to impose a reign of fear, couple by the subsequent throwing of some crumbs of power to the erstwhile opposition parties, that the people would be contented.
This is not so. This is a great illusion and self-deception and the sooner the ruling party wakes up to this, the healthy it is for the country.
For so long as the ruling party harbours the belief that they can continue to ignore the public grievances and discontents through the simple process of buying up a few opposition leaders or opposition parties, the more intractable and insoluble these problems become.
The sooner the government leaders realise that these political, economic, educational and social grievances and unhappiness cannot be wished or bribed away, the faster the government will have to deal with them frankly and sincerely.
The task of the DAP in the next general elections will be, within the limits of the law and the ambit of the democratic process, mobilise and rally the people behind us to demonstrate in no certain terms to the country and the National Front that the people’s grievances on the plane of politics, economics, social justice, education and culture, cannot be ignored and neglected any more without great harm to the process of nation building, and that the wisest national policy is to seeks ways and new policies to remove the sources of division, discontent and disunity in the land.
Issues of the next general elections
The general Elections will be a crucial one in the history of Malaysia, for it will decide many things, and issues. Among the issues that will be decided a re:
1. Whether the present economic and social order where the rich becomes richer and the poor poorer, should continue.
2. Whether the Malaysian economy should continue to be pawned and mortgaged to foreign monopoly capitalist interests.
3. Whether land, the source of wealth, should continue to be the source of corruption and anti-national enrichment of the haves, while the landless grind out a life if penury.
4. Whether Chinese and Tamil national-type primary schools would be allowed to continue to exist, grow and develop in accordance with the wishes of large sections of Malaysians, or whether they would be changed in character.
5. Whether Malaysian children are to continue to be failed in tens of thousands a year at MCE/SPM/ LCE levels although they are bright, intelligent and hardworking, destroying their future prospects;
6. Whether there is going to be a liberal climate for the development of education, whether the Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and other privately-funded educational institutions like the Merdeka University project would have a place;
7. Whether Malaysian culture is to embrace all the cultures that are to be found in Malaysia, or whether it is to be based on the culture of only one race;
8. Whether Malaysia is to become a freer, more democratic and more humane society, or to continue to be a land of fear, police repression and government authoritarian rule with less and less democratic liberties of the people.
These and many other issues will be decided at the next general elections, and will shape the future of our people and country.
DAP’s Plans in the next elections
In view of the crucial importance of the next general elections to the direction of our national destiny, the DAP has the bounden duty to present as large a parliamentary and state assembly challenge to the National Front policies as possible.
In the last general elections, we fielded 24 Parliamentary and 57 State seats. In the next round, the DAP will easily increased our Parliamentary and State participation, and we may double the number of Parliamentary and State Assembly candidates.
The Party is finalizing the line-up of candidates for the Parliamentary and State seats which we are contesting, as we have received nominations from branches as to the question of candidature.
The first task of the new Party Central Executive Committee after it has been elected by the Party Congress in Ipoh tomorrow will be to finalise our line-up of Parliamentary and State candidates throughout the country. This is likely to be completed shortly after the Congress.
Of all the opposition parties which had contested the 1969 general elections, the DAP has remained as the only party which have stood steadfast against the Alliance.
In 1969, we secured 12% of the total votes, or 286,000 votes, although we contested only in 23% of the Parliamentary seats.
Apart from the objectives which I have already outlined earlier, the DAP is determined this time to deny the National Front the two-thirds majority so that they could not tamper with the Constitution at will.
To expose the treachery and betrayal of the people’s interests, the DAP will also be fielding strong candidates in the State and Parliamentary seats of both Dato S. P. Seenivasagam and Dr. Lim Chong Eu, to give the people an opportunity to pass a verdict on the conduct of political leaders who say one thing and do another.