Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leaders and DAP Secretary-General Lim Kit Siang at the Pengkalan Kota state assembly by-election nomination on Thursday, Oct. 30, 1980 at 11.30 a.m
Call on the voters of Pengkalan Kota to vote the DAP candidate to lay down the basis for the DAP’s 1983 Project to capture Penang State Government
This is the second by election the DAP is contesting in Penang since the last general election in 1978, when the DAP won four Parliamentary and five State Assembly seats.
In the Kampong Kolam by-election, caused by a court decision that the DAP’s victory in Kampong Kolam was null and void on technical grounds, the DAP won handsomely and demonstrated that the DAP’s success in the last election was not accidental.
The present Pengkalan Kota by-election is even more important, both for State and national reason. This is why the Party has chosen the most suitable candidate for the Pengkalan Kota by-election, Sdr. Teoh Teik Huat, 33, Penang DAP State Organising Secretary.
The reasons for the choice of Sdr. Teoh Teik Huat as the DAP’s standard bearer in the Pengkalan Kota by-election are as follow:
Firstly, Sdr. Teoh Teik Huat is the true son of Pengkalan Kota, having been born at No.47, Magazine Road, with personal and family roots deep in the constituency. He started primary education in Sun Min Chinese Primary School and went on to Penang Free School. He is the Chairman of the Pengkalan Kota DAP branch, and is clearly one of the voters of Penkalan Kota who understand the problems and hardship of the people, and their hopes and aspirations for their children.
Secondly, Sdr. Toeh is a tested and trusted cadre of the Party, having been a member for some 10 years, and all this while, playing and increasingly important role in the DAP’s activities and organisation. Sdr. Teoh was one of the few largely responsible for the DAP’s 1978 elections success in Penang. He had demonstrated a great sense of responsibility and dedicated to the cause of the DAP to champion the masses against all forms of injustices, inequalities and exploitation in our country.
Thirdly, Sdr. Teoh is a young man of the people with a mission, who is prepared to sacrifice his personal comforts in the service of the people, Party and country. In the same way that the late C.Y. Choy resigned from his work at Cable and Wireless to stand for election on the Labour Party platform to serve the people, Sdr. Teoh has resigned from his post as a trading company manager with salary and allowance of some $2,000 a month to commit himself to the political service of the people. I believe that Sdr. Teoh will be able emulate the sterling qualities of the late C.Y. Choy in the selfless and unstinting service of the people.
Like the late C.Y. Choy, Sdr. Teoh had no benefit of university education, but this is more than made up by the largeness of spirit, the glowing idealism and selfless commitment to the service of the masses as so well exemplified in the life of the late C.Y. Choy.
Fourthly, Sdr. Teoh belongs to the new generation of DAP leaders whom the Party is grooming throughout the country to take over more party responsibilities and help in charting the destiny of the Party in the Eighties.
The DAP present Sdr. Teoh as the best candidate for Pengkalan Kota who will be worthy of the trust and responsibility of the people and Party as the elected representative of the area. I fully commend him for election by the voters of Pengkalan Kota on Nov. 15 without reservation whatsoever.
Sdr. Teoh has declared his assets to the Central Executive Committee, which is the first implementation of a new Party decision, to exact the highest degree of honesty, integrity and commitment by every standard-bearer of the Party. The DAP will have no room for those who enter politic and seek office as a passport for riches, titles and position. If there is any voter in Pengkalan Kota who is interested about Sdr. Teoh’s assets, he or she can always ask me when I make my round of the constituency during the campaign.
The Pengkalan Kota by-election on Nov. 15 is of multi importance, and all eyes are on the constituency.
National Importance: In the last general election in 1978, the DAP overcome great odds to secure the support of some 700,000 voters comprising 21 per cent of the votes, and winning 16 Parliamentary seats, the most number won by any opposition party in Malaysian electoral history. This success was scored despite the host of undemocratic measures imposed by the denial of fair and free campaigning opportunities.
The best example is the denial of campaigning opportunities by our two candidates, Sdr. Chian heng Kai and Sdr.Chan Kok Kit, who were detained under the Internal Security Act at Taiping Detention Camp. Although both could not campaign, both won with decisive majorities from inside the detention.
The result demonstrate that large sections of the Malaysian people, and in particular the urban areas, reject the nation building policies of the Barisan Nasional, particularly pertaining to education, economic, politic, social and cultural policies.
In the country which practises and believe in parliamentary democracy, the 1978 general election should be a cause for a basic and fundamental reappraisal of the government’s policies to take into the establishment of Merdeka University, the full support and expansion of Chinese and Tamil primary school, the government funding of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools, the establishment of more universities to allow Malaysian students opportunities for pursuing higher education locally; to accommodate the people’s rightful demand for economic justice, as in providing meaningful upliftment to the worker, hawker, fishermen, farmers, instead of allowing a handful of rich to become even richer; to accept the constitutional right of Malaysian to religious freedom, political democracy, respect for human right, etc.
The people must ask why there has been no such basic re-appraisal of the education, economic, politic, social and cultural as clearly called for in the last general election?
The biggest blame must lie on the MCA, which claims to represent the five million Chinese in Malaysia, which tells their UMNO Big Brother to disregard the legitimate aspirations and demand of the people for greater equality and justice.
The MCA, therefore, is hoping for a opportunity to show that it has the people’s support fot its policy, of, for instance a 2% increase in university places for non-bumiputra a students when what the people want is a 100% placement of all Malaysia students with the requisite qualifications; of denial of establishment of Merdeka University when what the people want is freedom to establish private universities to uphold constitutional guarantees of mother-tongue education and provision of opportunities for higher education for our children.
This is why the MCA is so desperate in wanting to win Pengkalan Kota, and in sending out its No.1 leader in Penang, the ever-green Lim Kean Siew.
An MCA win in Pengkalan Kota will be a setback for all Malaysians who in the last general election voted clearly for a change in the education, economic, political, social and cultural policies of the government.
It will give those in authority and power the opportunity and justification to completely disregard the legitimate aspiration of the people.
This will constitute a great setback for the people’s onward march for a genuinely multi-racial, democratic socialist Malaysian Malaysia.
State-wise, the Pengkalan Kota by-election in also very important. After the DAP’s victory at the Kampong Kolam by-election, the DAP announced at the Penang State Convention last year that it would make a bid for sate power in the next general election.
The Pengkalan Kota by-election will be the first by-election to be contested by the DAP after our announcement of our Project 83 to capture Penang state power.
The Pengkalan Kota by-election, therefore, will be a test as to whether the DAP in Penang should go all steam ahead toward the realization of the DAP’s 1983 objective, or whether the DAP should rethink the Project 83 altogether.
If the DAP win the Pengkalan Kota by-election decisively, then it would be an endorsement of the DAP’s Project 83, and the DAP will commit all its resources at its disposal toward the Project 83 target.
I believe that with the support of the voters of Pengkalan Kota, the DAP can secure a handsome victoryin the by-election. I call on the people of Pengkalan Kota to vote the DAP candidate on Nov.15 to lay the basis for the DAP’s 1983 Project to capture Penang State Government, to elect a government which is fully committed to the betterment of the lives of the ordinary people.