Press Conference Statement at VIP Room, Kuching Airport on arrival on Saturday, 23rd August 1980 for a week-long visit to Sarawak by DAP Secretary-General, Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang
DAP’s mission in Sarawak in the 1980s
I am glad to be back in Sarawak after almost a year. The last time I was in Sarawak was during the last Sarawak State general elections. Although the DAP did not win a single seat – and I am particularly disappointed by the defeat of Sarawak State Chairman Sdr.Chong Siew Chiang in Sarikei – I am quite happy with the percentage of votes DAP candidates secured in the elections.
The DAP is a party with a long-term political plan and commitment. We do not exist merely for today, for the present. The Sarawak State general elections last year is only the first step of the DAP’s political journey in Sarawak.
The DAP has made an excellent start in Sarawak in the last general elections, even without winning a single seat. The DAP can only grow and expand, while other political parties can only shrivel and decline. I am confident that the DAP will take our rightful places in the Sarawak State Legislature in the nest general elections, and also in Parliament representing Sarawakians as well.
The DAP’s mission in Sarawak in the 1980s s to firstly, prepare DAP Sarawak for our responsibilities in the Eighties, secondly, rally and mobilise Sarawakians, and in particular the young Sarawakians, behind the DAP to fight for a democratic socialist, genuinely multi-racial Malaysian Malaysia.
In this connection, I want to make a special call on all Sarawakians who have reached 21 years of age to register as voter during the current Voter’s Registration Exercise beginning on Monday, August 25 and ending on Oct.5. Sarawakians who have not registered as voters previously should also regard it as their duty to register as voters this time.
Sarawakians should realised that having the right to vote is not merely right, but is also a duty to ourselves and to our next generation, for we must use our vote to help shape Sarawak and Malaysia into a society which is conducive to the maintenance of national unity, economic justice and equality, and political freedoms.
If we refuse to register as voters, or to cast our votes during elections, then we are abdicating our responsibility to be a citizen, and we have only ourselves to blame if there is mounting economic, educational, political, social and cultural injustices in the country. The Vietnamese refugees had to flee in hundreds of thousands from Vietnam to ^ the pitiful ‘boat people’ because in the past, they abdicated from their responsibility to take part directly in help shaping the destiny of their country.
During my visit to Sarawak, I will meet with DAP Sarawak State and branch leaders to discuss the Party’s political and organisational plans.
Malaysia has entered the Eighties, a Decade full of Danger and yet promise. The dangers come from both without and within. Externally, Malaysia faces the threat of her national sovereignty and territorial integrity from the expansionist. Soviet-backed Hanoi-headed Indo-China Federation.
The question many people ask is whether Thailand can withstand the communist pressures – when Thailand will go neutral or red. If Thailand falls or crumbles, then Malaysia will be next on target.
It is therefore urgent that Malaysians must unite as one people – and not continue to operate as separate races – to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. To do this successfully, the cause of Malaysian disunity, at the economic, social, educational, cultural and political levels, must be removed.
The DAP is a nationalistic Malaysian Party. The DAP and its leaders live and die for Malaysia. In the event of external aggression, DAP leaders will be in the forefront of the battle to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. DAP leaders are also prepared to lay down our lives for the country. We must all be Malaysians first and last.
But as Malaysians who are prepared to die in the defence of our country, we have basic and fundamental rights which we would not permit any one to erode or undermine.
This is the dual task and responsibility of the DAP in the Eighties.