DAP call to Malaysians to prepare for next general elections to be held in six months’ time

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the Perak
DAP State Convention held at Hotel Excelsior, Ipoh on Sunday, 14.4.1985 at 11am.

DAP call to Malaysians to prepare for next general elections to be held in six months’ time.

I expect the next general elections to be held in six months’ time. It is not only the DAP but the Malaysian people as well, who must prepare for the next general elections because of the critical importance it would have for the future of the country, our children and children’s children.

In this connection, I must express greet disappointment at the
public response to the voters registration exercise currently going on,
especially as this is the last voters’ registration before the next general

There are over one million eligible Malaysian voters who have not
registered themselves, and over 70 per cent of them are in the towns, new
villages and estates. There are only l5 days left to the 42-day voters’
registration, which ends on 29 of April, l985. The rate of voters’ registration
in the kampongs have been very hiqh, but the registration of voters in the towns,
new villages end estates ere very low and poor by comparison.

I went to make a special call to all eligible voters who have not
registered themselves, especially the large numbers in the towns, new villages
and estates, that they have the responsibility to themselves, to their children
and future generations and to the country to register as a voter exercise
their right and responsibility to cast their vote in elections to help decide
the future and destiny of this country and people.

If as Malaysian citizens, we are not prepared to assume our responsibilities
to protect our basic rights, ten we have only ourselves to blame for the
political, economic, educationl, cultural and religious injustices, inequalities
and wrongs prevalent in the country. We must in fact regard ourselves, through
our default and omission, as co-authors of the various policies end measures
which we criticise end complain about, for the simple reason that we have not
exercised our citizenship right to express our opposition through the
ballot box.

This is why I want to stress that with the up-coming general elections
eatimated to be held in six months’ time, it is not only the DAP which must prepare
for it, the people themselves most also make preparations as by registering themselves
as voters.

I know that sometimes it could be quite inconvenient or irksome to
get registered as a voter. But if we are not prepared to go through the
inconveniences of getting ourselves registered as a voter, even if it means
the loss of a few hours, then we have condemned the country and the people
to a life-time of wrongs and injustices!

I find it very disappointing that political parties like the MCA
and Gerakan are not bothered or concerned about the low rate of registration
of voters, especially in the towns and new villages. Recently, the MCA and
Gerakan formed a ‘Joint Council’, purportedly giving the Malaysian Chinese
the new hope that at lest there is now a true salvation for their rights and
status in Malaysia.

I would have thought that if the MCA and Gerakan have teamed up
for the rights of the Chinese, the first thing they should have done is to
ensure that there is 100 per cent registration of voters in the towns and
new villages. But the MCA, Gerakan or their ‘Joint Council’ showed no
interest whatsoever to the problem of low registration of voters in the towns
and new villages. What could one expect of the MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’ when
MCA and Gerakan had collaborated with UMNO in the December l984 Parliament to
adopt the new redelineation of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies which
aggravated the inequality of political power, by concentrating more seat in
the hands of UMNO?

DAP to launch a series of political offensives beginning in May.

The DAP must intensify its general elections preparations in the next
few months. The DAP will launch a series Of political offensives beginning
in May right up to the general elections.

Ever since the 1982 general elections, when the DAP suffered the greatest
electoral defeat, the party had been on the offensive, and the Kepayang,
Raub and Seremban by-election results demonstrated that the DAP had been able
to regain lost ground as well as to make inroads in new areas.

The people could see for themselves the difference between the DAP
and the other political parties, in particular the MCA and the Gerakan. Although
the DAP’s parliamentary representation was drastically reduced, and in Peninsular
Malaysia, our MPs were slashed from l5 to six in 1982, DAP MPs were not cowed
or intimidated of speaking up for the people in protest against the wide-ranging
policies and measures of the Barisan Nasional: as the One-Language, One-Culture Policy,
the National Culture Policy of Assimilation, the Islamisation Of all areas of
national life, the $2.5 billion Bumiputera Malaysia Finance scandal, the
illegal take-over of Bank Bumiputera by Petronas, the unchecked influx of
illegal Indonesian immigrants and their criminal activities; the injustices
and inequalities of the government’s higher education and mother-tongue education
policies, etc.

What has the MCA and the Gerakan to show after their great l982
general elections victories? The MCA promised ‘Chinese political breakthrough’
while the Gerakan with Tung/Chiau Chung participation, promised an ‘Attack
into the BN to rectify the BN’. The electorate, in particular the Chinese
voters, were impressed by the MCA and Gerakan slogans and voted for them, only
to find from these three years that instead of restoration of lost status,
they experienced even more serious erosion of their rights than in the
25 years from l957 to 1982!

The MCA and Gerakan MPs in Parliament acted purely as ‘yes men’ to
UMNO’s wishes. If they ever made any attacks in Parliament, it is to attack
the DAP on UMNO’s behalf! To the MCA and Gerakan MPs, it is the DAP MPs who
are always in the wrong, and UMNO who is always right. They attack the DAP MPs
for opposing the one language, one culture policy; the national culture policy
of assimilation; the Islamisation process; the $2.5 billion BMF scandal; the
illegal Indonesian immigrants, etc. I shudder with horror to imagine what type
of Parliament we would have if all the MPs are only of the MCA and Gerakan types!

Warning to DAP members to be on guard against Barisan plot to destabilize
the party and disrupt the political momentum built up since 1982.

As is wont before every general elections, the Barisan Nasional
would do its utmost to try to destabilise the DAP by fomenting troubles inside
and orchestrating an attack on the party leadership from outside.

This time, the Barisan Nasional would have a greater vested interest
to destabilise the DAP, for this would also disrupt the DAP’s political momentum
built up since l982.

In Perak, for instance, for some time, the people in the State and
outside have been led to believe by very sophisticated propaganda campaign
that there would be a great turmoil and blow-up, to the extent of tearing
DAP Perak totally apart!

DAP leaders, especially in Perak, must demonstrate to the people
that the prophets of doom and turmoil in DAP are wrong, and that their motive to
incite internal divisions inside the party would not succeed.

The Perak DAP leaders have decided to send a clear, unequivocal and
powerful signal to the people in Perak and Malaysia that for the party’s challenge
in the coming general elections, they will continue to work as a united, solid
and collective group to ensure that the party’s national political mission will n
not be compromised or undermined in any manner by internal differences.
Let those who think that there are ‘troubled waters’ where they could ‘fish’
stay clear, or they would be mercilessly exposed, in the way that Dr. Lim Keng Yaik
was exposed in his role in the so-called defection of phantom DAP members of the
Gunong Rapat Branch.