Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, to the first post-general elections Negeri Sembilan DAP State Committee meeting at Jalann Wilkinson, Seremban, on Thusrday, 12 th Sept. 1974 at 5 p.m.
1. DAP prepared to work with Malaysians from all groups and persuasions to save Malaysia from the dangers of a one-party State and Government
The formation of the National Front was a step towards the establishment of a one-party state and government in Malaysia, through the elimination of opposition parties like the PPP, Gerakan, Parti Islam and SUPP by absorbing them, and the crushing of opposition parties which are outside the National Front.
The National Front failed in the August 24 general elections to crush all the Opposition Parties. In West Malaysia, the DAP has remained as the sole Opposition Party with significant Parliamentary and State Assembly representation. In fact, we are the sole Opposition in six State Assemblies, namely for Johore, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak and Kedah.
In Sarawak, the general elections are not yet complete, the SNAP is doing well, although it has suffered the unfortunate defeats of Dato Kalong Ningkan and Dato James Wong at the parliamentary level.
The tasks of all Malaysians who cherish political freedoms, economic justice and the establishment of a truly united Malaysian nation, is to join forces to save Malaysia from the dangers of a one-party state and government. In fact, one of the leading theoretians of the National Front, Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, is already going round preaching that there is no need for an Opposition in Malaysia, and that the nine political parties inside the National Front have built-in checks and balances to prevent it from dictatorial trends and attitudes.
However, when I challenged him to a television debate to put the case to the people, he dare not take up the challenge.
The DAP is prepared to work with Malaysians from all groups and persuasions to save Malaysia from the dangers of a one-party state and government, and check the drift towards dictatorial trends and attitudes on the part of the National Front leaders.
A pre-condition for the achievement of a democratic way of life, as enshrined in the Rukunegara, is to have a strong Opposition, not so much in numbers and quantity, but in the quality and articulateness of the Opposition MPs and State Assemblymen to speak up and represent the views and hopes, woes and sufferings, of the neglected and forgotten Malaysians from the kampongs and towns in the various legislatures.
A century may be able to develop economically without an Opposition, or even without a Parliamentary democracy. But the economic development of a country is not the sole national objective.
For instance, in Malaysia, although since Independence in 1957, there has been economic development, with the GNP and the national per capita income rising every year, there has been no reduction of poverty or the narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor.
In fact, in the years between Independence and today, the gap between the rich and the poor Malaysia have grown bigger. In 1957, 40% of the poorest Malaysians accounted for only 16% of the national income, shrinking to 12% at present, while the richest 10% Malaysians who monopolised 34% of the National wealth in 1957 expanded their share to 40%.
What Malaysians want is not merely economic development, but even more important, a fair distribution of the income and wealth accuring from the economic development, so that the poor Malaysians can have a better quality of life.
With a one-party state and government, where there is no more democratic opposition, the people will not only suffer from even more inequitable distribution of wealth and income, they would have lost their political rights and freedom to speak up against such a system and work for a social change.
The DAP is firmly committed to a parliamentary democratic system and process, where the people can make their views and hopes, woes and sufferings, heard to the rulers and we will fully commit ourselves to save Malaysia from the perils of a one-party state and government.
2. Radio and Television Malaysia unfair in news coverage of Sarawak General Elections
In a one-party state and government, where there is no Opposition, there will be greater abuse and misuse of power.
Already, the ruling party is misusing public property for its own party ends, and doing so in a very unfair and unjust manner.
A good instance is the unfair news coverage of the Sarawak General Elections Results by Radio and Television Malaysia.
Whenever the Barisan Nasional wins a parliamentary and state seat, this result will be given prominence in the newscasts, being included in the headlines of the news bulletins. But in when the SNAP wins a parliamentary and state seat, there will be no news headlines on it, and this result will be given insignificant treatment in the news bulletin.
Why should Radio and Television Malaysia discriminate in the treatment of the Sarawak General Elections Results? If it wants to give news headlines for every win of Sarawak National Front, then it should give the same treatment to the SNAP wins. Is it Radio and Television Malaysia private propaganda instrument if the Barisan National?
The DAP calls for the de-politicization and neutralisation of the Radio and Television Malaysia in the treatment of political news, so that it performs its role as a Government mass communication media, and not that of the National Front.