Statement by DAP Secretary-General Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Eveof General Elections Press Conference at Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur, on 6th August 1974 at 2 p.m
The 1974 General Elections will be a battle between the DAP and the National Front
The 1974 General Elections will be an electoral battle between the DAP and the National Front in West Malaysia.
The DAP will contest the Federal Territory – all its five Parliamentary seats – and eight states, namely Penang, Kedah, Perak, Selangor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johore.
We will field about 50 Parliamentary candidates and over 120 states candidates.
The object of the DAP in the 1974 General Elections is to present a strong, disciplined, effective and credible Opposition in Parliament, an Opposition which cannot be intimidated into silence or seduced by position, office or profit to deviate from their political principles. In other words, Opposition Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen who are of principles – and an opposition party of principles.
The 1974 General Elections are important because it will give the people a chance to demonstrate their rejection of the National Front policies which are no different from the Alliance policies of the past. The various opposition parties and groups who have joined the National Front have completely surrendered their political principles and the trust and confidence the people have placed on them.
This is why the National Front government had failed to deal effect vely with inflation, which from 1% rise a year only a few years back, have shot up to over 20%, drastically slashing the purchasing power and the living standards of the poor. The National Front has also failed to stamp out corruption, especially corruption in high places, to bring about a just education system, or in uniting the various races into one harmonious and united whole.
The people, therefore, have a chance in the 1974 General Elections, to teach all the political turn-coats and traitors a lesson – so that in future, no public figure would dare to betray the public interest believing that they can get away with it. Politics can never be clean and honest, and the noblest profession to serve society, unless such turn- coats are repudiated and thrown into the dustbin of politics.
For this reason, the DAP Central Executive Committee has selected with great care our candidates against such turn-coats, like Goh Hock Guan, who was booed by the people when he held a rally in Petaling Jaya last night, Yap Pian Hon, Richard Ho and others.
The full line-up of our parliamentary and state candidates would only be known on Nomination Day. What I can say is that there will be several surprises.
In the State elections, our aim is also to present a strong and credible alternative to the National Front candidates. There are chances of our capturing Penang and Perak State Governments, and given the people’s trust, we are ready to take over the reins of power of these two states. The Central Executive Committee has decided that in the event of the DAP capturing the Perak State Government, Sdr. Ibrahim bin Singgeh, formerly DAP leader in the Perak State Assembly, would be the DAP’s first Mentri Besar of Perak. Sdr. Ibrahim Singgeh is a dedicated politician, who had been to jail in his younger days in the struggle against British colonialism.
In the event of the DAP capturing the Penang State Government, Sdr. Yeap Ghim Guan would be the DAP’s Chief Minister in Penang.
National Front putting up on candidates with shortcomings
Two days ago, in Bentong, the National Front leader, Tun Razak, admitted that the National Front was putting uo candidates with shortcomings, but asked the electorate to vote on the basis of party policies rather than on their assessment of each candidate’s personality. He then announced that the National Front’s candidate for Bentong Parliamentary constituency would be the MCA Secretary-General, Mr. Chan Siang Sun.
One of the curses of politician Malaysia in that Alliance and now National Front MPs and State Assemblymen regard politics and election as a passport to riches and wealth. The people must put a stop to this political philosophy which corrupts politics and is one of the reasons why there is so much corruption in high places.
The DAP will field a strong candidate in Bentong against the MCA Secretary – General, as we did in 1969 general elections when we defeated Kum Woon Wah, because the people are completely disenchanted with the policies of the MCA and the National Front.
Our candidate will be our Central Executive Committee Member, Lau Dak Kee, 31, who had been with the party right from the very beginning, and who various key party posts, like Assistant National Organising Secretary, Secretary of the DAP National New Villages Sub-Committee, National Assistant Secretary of Malaysian DAP Youth Movement.
Confusion galore in regard to election rules and regulations
There is confusion galore with regard to the election rules and regulations, in particular with regard to the procedure of nomination.
The Elections Commission drafted new rules with regard to the conduct of elections, but these amendments to the 1959 Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations, 1959 are no where available. The government printers have not got them, nor are election officers in other parts of the country completely certain with regard to the regulations.
This is most regrettable, and I call on the Elections Commission to instruct all Returning Officers to give maximum leeway and guidance to all those filling nomination papers so that no one is disqualified because of his uncertainty with regard to nomination, whether it is stamping of atutatury declaration, or paying of deposit.
Meanwhile, the Party have instructed one of our party lawyers, Karpal Singh, to challenge the raising of the deposit of Parliamentary Candidates from $750 to $1,500, as the Elections Act 1958 only gave power to the Election Commission to raise the deposit to $1,000. Sdr. Karpal Singh would ask the High Court for a declaration that the raising of the parliamentary deposit in excess of the statutory $1,000 is null and void.
This is a important matter, for as a result of this trebling of deposits, we have to reduce the number of parliamentary and state assembly candidates in the general elections.
Chee Khoon and S.P. Seenivasagam’s challenge to fight me
Yesterday, the Pekemas President, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, challenged me to contest against him in Kepong. A few days ago, Dato S.P. Seenivasagam, said je would like to finish me in Menglembu.
I cannot possibly divide myself into two and take on Dr. Tan in Kepong and Dato S.P. Seenivasagam in Menglembu at the same time.
I would suggest that if Dr. Tan Chee Khoon and Dato S.P. Seenivasagam are so keen and confident of finishing me off, that we have a big electoral contest in Kuala Lumpur Bandar, the heart of Malaysia, and let Dr. tan Chee Khoon, Dato S.P. Seenivasagam, Dr.Lim Chong Eu all come there. And I will stand there too. For good measure, let Lee San Choo and Tun Razak also come along, so that the people can have a good choice of party leaders.
However, I want to clarify some of the things that Dr. Tan said. He said that I had made personal attacks on him, and said that he was old and useless, that he had completely neglected his constituents, and other ‘ personal and libelous ’ remarks about him.
Dr. Tan Chee Khoon is a very busy man, and often his right hand does not know what his left hand is doing. This is why he had landed the Labour Party, the Gerakan and now the Pekemas in such a sorry mess.
I spoke in Jinjang last Saturday in Mandarin and Hokkien, which he does not understand very well, for if he did, he would know that I did not say the things he attributed to me.
What I did say was that on mirror trivial issues, he and his Pekemas colleagues, like David, Yoeh Teck Chye and V.Veerappen would criticise the government, but on basic and major issues, like the people’s fundamental rights s freedom of speech, he would support the government. Similarly, on issues which concerns the people’s constitutional right, as for instance on eternal survival of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
DAP with feet firmly on the ground
The DAP remains with our feet firmly planted on the ground despite the mounting nation-wide election fever. Dr. Tan Chee Khoon announced that the Pekemas is aiming to capture four State Assemblies – in Penang, Perak, Malacca and Selangor. I believe that the Pekemas will take the place of the UDP in 1964 general elections, which had the distinction of having the majority of their candidates forfeiting their parliamentary and state deposits.
The DAP calls on all political parties to conduct a clean and honest campaign. The people must not allow irrelevant matters to cloud the issue, which is the battle between the DAP and the National Front. The Pekemas is not very distinguishable from the National Front.
Let the people decide on August 24 firmly, loudly and clearly that they want the National Front policies to change, and want a new set of economic, educational, cultural and political policies which can make every Malaysian feel part of this country of ours.