Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Grik, Perak on Sunday night, 13th November 1977 at 8.30 p.m. in connection with the Kenering State By-election.
Call Four Reasons why the voters of Kenering constituency should vote for the DAP Candidate on Polling Day on Nov. 19
The DAP has contested the Kenering State By-election, caused by the resignation of the former Perak Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Ghazalie Jawi, to give the people in the constituency an opportunity to express their repudiation of the Barisan Nasional policies and measures.
There are four main reasons why the people of Kenering must vote for the DAP candidate, Sdr. Ibrahim bin Singgeh, on Polling day on Nov.19.
Firstly, to oppose the economic policies of the Barisan Nasional government, which is aimed at creating a small class of the Malay millionaires, while leaving the Malay poor and non-Malay poor in their poverty. Since Merdeka in 1957, the UMNO and the other ruling parties have succeeded in creating over 100 Malay millionaires, while the overwhelming majority Malays continue in their poverty-stricken state. This was why two years ago, there was a popular demonstration by the people of the Baling and the nearby areas, which is close to Grik, to express agrarian unrest and dissatisfaction, especially arising from incidents of the starvation and deaths.
As I said in parliament, the policy of the government is not to help the bumiputras, but to help the UMNO-putras (the princes of the UMNO) those UMNO political leaders who get into political positions to build a personal fortune for themselves; while the fishermen, the farmers, the workers remain as poor as ever.
Secondly, to oppose the rampant corruption in the country. UMNO and Barisan political leaders make use of their political positions to exploit the natural resources of the country, which belong to the people and which should rightly be devoted to help the poor rise from their poverty. The NBI is not an independent body which have full powers to combat corruption in high public places, although the NBI has power to arrest policemen who try to extract $2 or $5 from bicyclists for small infractions of the law, like not having a headlamp at night.
I ask the Barisan Nasional candidate, the son of Tan Sri Ghazalie Jawi, whether he would support the DAP proposal requiring every elected Assemblyman, including the Menteri Besar and Executive Concillors, to declare his assets and that of his next of kin publicly every year, to satisfy the people that political leaders who have been elected into office, have not grown rich at the people’s expense.
Thirdly, to protect democracy and protest against violations against democracy in Malaysian under Barisan Nasional rule. The case of Kelantan is a good example of how democracy is violated for the sake and interest of the UMNO in Kelantan.
Even in this by-election, we have examples of how democracy is abused and violated. In the last week, wherever the DAP hold public rallies, Information Department vans would follow our proceedings, and after our rallies, Information Officers would hole meetings in the same areas to counter the DAP, and warn the voters not to support the DAP. The Information Officers even use threats that if the people vote the DAP, land which had been given to the people would be withdrawn, and that the people will suffer, for instance, by the imposition of curfew.
I am not aware that Information officers have powers to declare curfew. This is an empty threat which they hope to be able to frighten voters. Secondly, and which is more important, the Information Officers are servants of the people, whose job is to inform the people as to where to vote, how to vote, and what time to vote, and not to tell them which party to vote, or to frighten the voters with all sorts of empty threats if they should vote the Opposition. This is an abuse of democracy by a Government Department, and I propose to take up this matter with the Minister of Information, Taib Mahmud, and demand that the Information Officers involved in such party politicking should be dismissed from service.
Fourthly, to protest against the deprivation of the basic rights and fundamental liberties of the people Leaders of peasants, workers, students, and Opposition Leaders have often been detained and deprived of their personal liberties, not because of any offences they had committed, but because they criticise the ruling parties and represent the symbols of protest against the policies of the ruling parties. This is a violation of the Constitutional guarantees of fundamental rights, and the people should vote against such abuses of power.