Speech by DAP Secretary-General Lim Kit Siang to a meeting of potential Parliamentary and State candidates for the 1974 General Elections at Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur, on Sunday, August 4, 1974 at 10.30
1. DAP to stand by our Parliamentary and State Assembly record for the past five years
The DAP will go into the general elections on our Parliamentary and State Assembly record of the past five years. We can be justifiably proud of our Parliamentary and State Assembly record for we have fulfilled our pledge to champion the poor, the worker, the hawker, the squatter, the fisherman, farmer, the estate worker, the under-privileged and the downtrodden, whose voice had been shut out of the legislatures. We have fought against injustice, inequality and corruption and abuse of power in Parliament and the State Assemblies, although we attracted the wrath of the government.
Thus, DAP MPs stood firm and unyielding to oppose the Constitution Amendment of 1971 which limited the freedom of speech of Malaysians, although Pekemas Members of Parliament like Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, Yeoh Teck Chye, V. Veerappen and V. David, surrendered to the pressures of the Alliance government. Similarly, the DAP stood firm and unyielding in our opposition to many amendments to the Constitution.
Again, it was the DAP which agitated in Parliament for a new deal for the 900,000 new villagers who had been excluded from the mainstream of economic development for over two decades, and succeeded in pressuring Tun Razak to establish a new Ministry of New Villages. We returned again and again to our demand for minimum wages for workers.
We spearheaded the attack on Tun Tan Siew Sin’s Sales Tax which was one of the causes of the price increases, highlighted the grave problem of the deterioration in the quality of education as dramatised by the mass failures in the Std. V Assessment Examination in all language-stream schools, the gross injustice of mass MCB failures because of failure in Bahasa Malaysia and the serious problem of high-percentage failures of Malay students for mathematics and science subjects.
We were the only voice in Parliament and the State Assemblies to speak up for the rightful place of Chinese and Tamil education in a multi-racial society, for the government recognition of Nantah and Taiwan, Indian and Indonesian degrees of international repute, the unreasonable police ban on the performance of the Chun Lei Cultural Night in aid of Chinese Independent Chinese Secondary Schools.
We fought against corruption in high places, especially involving land deals, as at Machap Umboo; and we exposed the gross negligence and maladministration which led to the mass deaths at the Malacca Hospital last year. We raised in Parliament the police brutalities at the Batu Gajah detention camp which led to 47-day hunger strike by over 200 political detainees We can go on at great length, but these will suffice, to show that in the last five years, the DAP had vigorously represented the people of Malaysia in the various legislatures.
2. Confident that the DAP will do better in both Parliament and state elections in the coming polls as compared to 1969
I am confident that the DAP will do better both in Parliamentary and State Assembly elections in the coming general elections when compared to 1969.
The people can see through the hollowness of the National Front, which is in no way different from the Alliance, whose policies were decisively rejected by the people in the 1969 general elections.
In fact, many people are hopeful that the DAP may capture the state governments in Penang and Perak. Many people are worried about this prospect. The Pekemas seems to be even more worried than the National Front. Thus, yesterday, the Pekemas Secretary-General told the press that the Pekemas would put up as many candidates as the DAP, especially in the rural areas of Perak. He added; “We will give the DAP a real fight in the State.”
The Pekemas leaders know they simply have no chance in Perak, whether urban or rural areas. Their role, however, is to help the National Front to deny the DAP a chance to win Perak State. This is why to the Pekemas, they are more interested in fighting the DAP than in fighting the National Front. This fits in with the allegation by the Pekemas-founder-leader, Mr. Ke George, last month that the Pekemas reached an understanding with the National Front early this year, when they were suppose to be trying to reach opposition understanding with the DAP.
3. Objective of the DAP must never be lost sight of by DAP Candidates
With the mounting election fever, the DAP leaders and all potential Parliamentary and State candidates must never lose sight of the DAP’s political objectives.
We must be very clear in our minds as to the objective of the DAP. Our objective is not to capture power merely. If it is power and office that the DAP leaders are after, then we could have enjoyed them already by joining the National Front.
Our objective is to bring about a democratic socialist, and a genuine multi-racial Malaysia, where there is no exploitation of class by class, race by race and man by man.
If we can enjoy power without the possibility of realising these ideals of ours, we prefer not to have power. However, if we are to achieve these objectives, it will be necessary to acquire and exercise power and influence, by getting our leaders elected into the Parliament and State Assemblies to voice the sorrows, hopes, fears and aspirations of the people.
This is why we are seeking to get as many of our potential candidates to be elected into Parliament and the State Assemblies.