Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang DAP State Committee meeting held in Penang on Sunday, 29.12.1985 at 5 pm
I will visit a cross-section of the people of Penang and Malacca to get public feedback before deciding on the Penang DAP’s offer to contest in Penang in next general elections
I thank the Penang DAP State Committee for the confidence in me in inviting me to spearhead the DAP Penang’s election campaign in the next general elections, and also to contest in the next general elections in Penang.
Before I decide on the DAP Penang’s offer, I will visit a cross-section of the people of Penang and Malacca to get a feedback from the people in these two areas. I will make these visits and consult the people’s view in Penang and Malacca in the second half of next month.
Regardless of my decision, the DAP’s to make Penang the front-line state in the next general elections stays, and the Penang DAP leaders must treble their efforts to make the final preparations if general elections are called in February or March.
Only the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, could decide when is the next general elections, but his options are getting more and more limited.
Firstly, if he does not dissolve Parliament in February or March, then he would have to wait until August for the next polls date, as intervening would be the PATA Conference, the Puasa month beginning around 9th May 1986, and the Haj pilgrimages after Hari Raya Puasa on 9th June 1986.
If Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir skips the August date, then it is likely that he would be going for the full term of his government and Parliament, although we must bear in mind that he was a fierce critic of Tunku Abdul Rahman for going the full term before calling general elections in 1969, on the ground that this did not give the government the room to manoeuvre for the most opportune time to call for polls.
At this point of time, I regard the February or March date for dissolution of Parliament as very likely, for the economic situation, which is now bad with the trinity of economic, financial and stock-market crisis, is expected to get worse next year and after.
Politically, there is no surety that the more Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir delays, the better political shape the Barisan Nasional component parties would become.
In fact, by the third quarter of 1986, the office of the MCA would be gearing up for another ‘Big Fight’ for the term of Tan Koon Swan MCA leadership elected on Nov.24 would expire at the end of next year.
UMNO’s internal party conditions are not all peace and calm, although on surface, it seems to be in the best shape of all Barisan parties. The festering political problem in Sabah would not improve with time, given the UMNO’s political attitudes on Sabah politics.
The CUEPACS wage claim is another item which could become more aggravated with passing time.
The BMF loans scandal is another reason why the Prime Minister may want to have general elections as fast as possible, before the BMF scandal start tarnishing individual political leaders and even the ruling party itself.
This is why the UMNO Youth Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has changed his earlier stand for publication of the BMF Inquiry report, to help take the pressure from the public calling for the report to be released.
The George Tan trial in Hong Kong, expected to start in February, is a time-bomb for Barisan Nasional. If the trial begins as scheduled, the government would understandably be nervous as to what might be exposed at the trial. But there is now talk that because of the pending extradition proceedings against former BMF Directors, Lorraine Osman and Datuk Hashim Shamsuddin in London, the George Tan trial might be postponed again. This is what the Barisan Nasional parties would be praying for.
I also see the government’s decision to telecast the police video recording of the Kampong Memali tragedy over television in the next where 18 were killed, as motivated more by general elections considerations, than in wanting to establish what and why the Baling incident occurred.
Call on Prime Minister to ensure that general elections campaign does not fall fifteen days before of after Chinese New Year on Feb.9
As I expected general elections to be held with the dissolution of Parliament after the Chinese New Year, I would take this occasion to call on the Prime Minister to ensure that the general elections campaign, does not fall fifteen days before or after the first day of Chinese New Year on Feb.9- in other words, Parliament should not be dissolved until after the 16th day of the Chinese New Year, on Feb.26, 1986.
The DAP National General Elections Committee has directed all DAP State Committee to prepare a draft election manifesto for their respective states and submit to the national leadership by latest 25th January 1986.
If Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir is to call general elections in February or March, I would also expct him to summon a special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat in January to adopt hew constituency delineations for Sarawak, which is to have three new Parliamentary seats, making a grand national total of 180 parliamentary seats.
If the Prime Minister intends to summon a special sitting of Parliament in January to adopt the new constituency delineations for Sarawak, then the Prime Minister should also arrange for Parliament to debate the Ahmad Nordim BMF Inquiry Committee reports, as he had promised to present a White Paper to Parliament on completion of investigations by the Ahmad Nordim BMF Inquiry Committee, and to debate the Kampong Memali tragedy in full depth as well.
Ling Liong Sik’s challenge-K.I.V.
After Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik was apponted Chairman of the Malacca MCA State Liaison Committee, he went to Malacca to challenge me to contest in any constituency in Penang, and he stated that he would contest against me anywhere in Penang.
As I have not decided on whether to accept the Penang DAP’s offer to contest in Penang in the next general elections, I will ‘K.I.V.’ – or ‘keep in view’- Dr. Ling’s challenge, and should I decide to contest in Penang, I leave it to Datuk Dr. Ling to carry out his own challenge.