Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, at the Fourth DAP Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen Seminar held at Hotel Furma, Kuala Lumpur, on Sunday, 23rd October, 1977
DAP to contest on a larger scale in next general elections
In the 1974 general elections, the DAP secured a total of some 400,000 votes, which represents 34.1% of the total votes cast in Parliamentary constituencies contested by the DAP and 31.6% of the total votes cast in State Assembly constituencies contested by the DAP.
On the basis of this percentage of votes received, the DAP should in a fully democratic elections, have 34% of total DAP Parliamentary candidates elected, and 31% of total DAP State Assembly candidates elected. As in 1974, the DAP fielded 46 Parliamentary candidates and 120 State Assembly candidates, the DAP should have won 16 Parliamentary seats and 38 State Assembly seats to reflect the percentage of votes the DAP totaled. In actual fact, the DAP won only 9 Parliamentary and 23 State Assembly seats – deprived of the additional 7 Parliamentary and 15 State Assembly seats which we should have also won. This is one of the undemocratic features of the electoral system, which is weighted in favour of the Barisan Nasional parties. If the electoral system had been fair which genuinely implements the philosophy of one-man one –vote, many of the Barisan Nasional Members of Parliamentary and State Assemblymen, especially MCA and Gerakan ones, would not be in Parliament or State Assemblies in the first place.
The DAP will contest the next general elections which may be held in March or April next year on an even large scale than the 1974 general elections, and all indications point to the DAP bettering not only our; 1974 general elections performance, when we won 9 Parliamentary and 23 State Assembly seats, but also our 1969 general elections performance, when we won 13 Parliamentary and 32 State Assembly seats.
More and more Malaysians are looking to the DAP to provide the people in the next general elections with a political alternative to the Barisan Nasional parties, which after 21 years of power since Merdeka, have failed to resolve the basic problems of poverty, corruption, denial of basic rights of the people, and most fundamental of all, the task of nation building to make the Malays, Chinese and Indians in the country into one Malaysian people.
DAP MPs and State Assemblymen who have no time for the party will find that the Party will have no time for them
This is the time for general mobilisation of the Party at all levels and throughout the country.
In this general mobilisation, DAP Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen must play a leading role. DAP MPs and State Assemblymen have a even bigger responsibility than non-MPs and State Assemblymen to spearhead Party activities because they have been honoured by the Party and the people to be the public standard-bearers of the Party. A good DAP MP or State Assemblymen has three roles to perform, and be able to fulfil this triple role well. This is their duty to serve the country, the Party and their contituency.
An MP or State Assemblymen who neglects his constituency will not get a second chance. An MP or State Assemblymen who neglects Party activities and obligations at both state and national levels, who has no time for the Party, will find that the Party will have no time for him too.
As public standard bearers of the Party at national and state levels, DAP MPs and State Assemblymen must set a good example I public and personal lives, a credit not only to the Party which chose them but a credit to the people who elected them. In the past, we had a few elected representatives whose personal lives were a public disgrace. We have got rid of them, and we do not want any such men in our Party.
I call on all DAP MPs and State Assemblymen to pause and review and reassess their duties and responsibilities, to re-charge their batteries, and immediately launch themselves into mobilising the Party and the people at all levels. Every DAP MP and State Assemblyman should resolve to immediate re-double his efforts to spread the word of the DAP o an ever-increasing number of Malaysians to make solid preparations for the next general elections.
DAP’s political role increasing in importance in Malaysia
As the virtual Opposition Party in Parliament, and the sole Opposition in Johore, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak and Kedah State Assemblies, the DAP’s political role in Malaysia has continued to increase in importance.
The DAP is the chief spokesman for the people of Malaysia against all forms of injustice and inequalities.
This was why the DAP had all along sought to repeal Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975. In fact, a motion was moved in Parliament in December 1975 to repeal the Regulations, which had defeat by the combined voted of UMNO, Gerakan, MIC and PAS Members of Parliament. It was for this reason that the DAP was in the fore-front to save the 14-year-olld Penang boy sentenced to death for unlawful possession of pistol and ammunition.
The DAP leaders will never fear to speak out, however unpopular we may be with Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders. We will continue to put the interest of the people and nation before everything else, even before our own personal freedoms like Sdr. Chiang Heng Kai, MP for Batu Gajah, and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit, both on the eve of completing their one year of detention without trial and on completely unfounded grounds.
Proposal for the formation of a Malaysian Parliamentary Branch of Amnesty International.
Human rights in Malaysia has become an ever bigger issue with increasing erosion of fundamental rights in the country.
Last Wednesday, at the Fourth Malaysian Law Conference, the Deputy Dean of the Law Faculty, Associate Professor Nik Abdul Rashid, suggested the formation of a Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties to safeguard the rights to citizens.
Prof. Nik Rashid said this Parliamentary Committee should review subordinate legislation affecting the people’s rights and also review cases of maladministration.
This is a good suggestion, and the Opposition Members of Parliament fully support this proposal. Any step to check arbitrary executive action which erode fundamental rights would be welcomed by the people. The Prime Minister, Dato Hussein Onn, the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, should give their views on this proposal. It will be waste of time asking MCA, Gerakan or MIC party leaders to give their their views, for they would not dare to say anything until they have got the “green light” from the UMNO leaders.
A week ago, it was announced that the amnesty International has been awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of its work since its formation 16 years ago in publicise the plight of more than 16,000 political prisoners in dark cells and torture chambers in various parts of the word and human-rights violations.
A country which is not concerned about human rights has ceased to be concerned about human being. To mark the well-deserved comferment of the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize to International, I hereby propose that Malaysian legislators concerned about human rights should band together to from the Malaysian Parliamentary Branch of Amnesty international, open to Parliamentarian Association is open to Parliamentarian and State Assemblymen.
I propose writing to all Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen to inform they of my proposal, before convening a meeting to formally from the Malaysian Parliamentary Branch of Amnesty International.
I hope the Prime Minister, Dato Hussein Onn, can give this proposal his blessing, and even officiate at the inaugural meeting.
DAP calls on Dr. Mahathir not to introduce university disciplinary rules and regulations which would turn lecuturers and professors into intellectual ‘eunuchs’
Closely related to the fundamental problem of human rights is the right of a free intellectual community in Malaysia.
The Vice Chancellors of the local universities, with the help of the Education Ministry, have drafted university rules and regulations affecting discipline or university academic staff, which, if gazatted, would turn the lecturers and academic staff in Malaysia into intellectual ‘eunuchs’.
The draft regulations propose to restrict the university teaching staff from political involvements, and are so draconian, as even to prohibit university academic staff from
* speaking in public on political controversial issue;
* writing letters or giving interviews to the Press;
* Publishing books, articles or leaflets, giving their ideas on a political party or circulate such items;
* standing as a candidate for Parliamentary or State Assembly elections;
* canvassing for a candidate in an election;
* helping in an election.
Last week, Dr. Mahathir spoke at the inaugural meeting of the Malay Studies Association at the University Kebangsaan and urged the academic community to play an active and constructive role in the development of a Malaysian society.
Yet these very university disciplinary rules and regulations would make a already-not-very-outspoken intellectual academic community even more timid and submissive, and turn them into intellectual ‘eunuchs’ who can make no contribution whatsoever to society.
Intellectuals and academic community have an important role to be the critics of government and society. To deny them this role is to deny the intellectual and academic community their very role. I am glad that the Academic Staff Associations of Universiti Kebangsaan and Sains University in Penang gave came out in opposition to those proposed regulations. I hope the other universities, in particular the University of Malaya Academic Staff Association, would make their stand clear, and all the academicians in the five local universities should organize themselves to prevent these regulations gazetted.
I call on Dr. Mahathir himself to withdraw these regulations which would turn academicians into ‘intellectual eunuchs’ to the great long-term loss of Malaysia and submit regulations which do not blunt the intellectual spirit and freedom for a free exchange and conflict of ideas.