DAP’s invitation to other Opposition Parties to hold bilateral talks on the question of an electoral understanding remains open

Speech by Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secretary-General, Lim kit Siang, at the DAP Ngeri Sembilan State Sub-Committee meeting held in Seremban on Sunday, 21st August 1977 at 3pm.

DAP’s invitation to other Opposition Parties to hold bilateral talks on the question of an electoral understanding remains open

On 5th June this year, in a meeting of the PSRM, Pekemas, KITA and the DAP, the other three parties proposed that the Opposition Parties should try to reach an electoral understanding to avoid votes arising from multi-cornered contests in the next General Elections.

On June 19, the DAP wrote to the PSRM, Pekemas and KITA proposing the holding of bilateral talks on the question of an electoral understanding, and we invited the other parties to begin immediate talks.

We made this proposal because firstly, the 1969 general elections electoral understanding among Opposition Parties was achieved through bilateral discussions, and secondly, bilateral discussions on electoral understanding would be the best way to decide without too much protracted delay whether some form of working relationship in the next General Election could be arrived at – especially as the different parties operate in different areas and have different geographical interests.

Such bilateral electoral understanding would lay the basis for not only a multi-party electoral pact, but a united Opposition approach in the next General Election. If such an electoral understanding could not be reached through bilateral discussions, then it may be premature to be too ambitious about same grand project.

However, our proposal for this step-by-step build-up to an united Opposition approach did not find favour with the other parties. KITA was the first to come out with categorical rejection, followed later by Pekemas, and very recently by PSRM.

I notice that there had been recently a sustained campaign by both KITA and Pekemas against the DAP. In fact, in the recent Pekemas Conderence, the whole conference was virtually taken up by attack after attack on the DAP, where the DAP was described as “musuh utama” – as an even worse enemy than the Barisan Nasional.

While the Pekemas may be exclusively and solely pre-occupied with the DAP, we in the DAP are not going to be distracted from our attention to give the Barisan Nasional a serius challenge in the next general Elections. The Barisan Nasional has been and will remain the object of our political attention.

I regret that the other Opposition parties, for their own reasons, have turned down our proposal for bilateral talks. As far as we are concerned, our invitation to the Other Opposition Parties stands, and we remain prepared to have bilateral talks.
DAP’s prospects in the next general elections

The next General Elections will be the Third General Elections to be contested by the DAP. I have every confidence that with hard work and sacrifice by every party leader and member from now on, we can not only improve on our 1974 General Elections results, but even better our 1969 general elections results.

Since the 1974 general elections, the people have even more time and opportunities to see for themselves the empty promises of the Barisan Nasional Government. The policies of the ruling parties are aimed mainly at the enrichment of a small group of privileged people, while the large masses, whether peasants, fisherman or workers, continue to be left out from the equitable distribution of national income and wealth. The DAP has played and will continue to play our vital political role as the spokesman of the oppressed, the disadvantanges and the “underdogs”, of all races.