Call on Malaysians to make 1986 a Year of Change, Hope and Renewal

1986 New Year Message by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secetary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, released on 31.12.1985

Call on Malaysians to make 1986 a Year of Change, Hope and Renewal

1985 had been a bad year for Malaysians, especially economically, financially, politically and from the nation-building point of view. The year ends with deepening economic, financial and stock market gloom, with a grave government credibility crisis because of its refusal to honour its pledge to make public the investigations into the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal, and questions being asked about Malaysia’s commitment to the system of parliamentary democracy because of the protracted Sabah political and constitutional crisis.

I believe that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, would be making the critical decision in these few days whether to hold early general elections by dissolving Parliament after the Chinese New Year, or to hold general elections in August or to go for the full term until 1987. Of course, I do not expect him to let his secret out of the bag, as he would want to retain the element of surprise.

I also believe that the BMF scandal, in particular the final report of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, will be a weighty factor in this decision, especially if the February trial of George Tan in Hong Kong is postponed. Never before in the history of Malaysia since Merdeka in 1957, barring the May 13 1969 days, had the country and government been beset with so many fundamental nation-building problems, which demand courage, statesmanship and vision on the part of the top government leadership to steer the Malaysian nation to a safe harbour.

When it is borne in mind that it is precisely the present leadership which must bear the great responsibility for the complexity of the problems presently being faced by Malaysians, the people have a right to wonder whether the same government leadership could get the country out of the woods.

Although politically, economically, educationally, culturally and religiously, there are many reasons and many causes for Malaysians to feel despair and desperate, like the $2.5 billion BMF scandal, the Kampong Memali incident, the influx of illegal Indonesian immigrants turning Malaysia into a haven for their criminal activities, the aggravation of racial polarization, the Politics of corruption and money, the concentration of political power with more sweeping repressive laws and regulations undermining the fundamental liberties enshrined in the Constitution, the economic, financial and stock market because of the Pan El scandal, Malaysians must not take the easy way out by succumbing to despair.

What Malaysians should do is to take the important decision that since the government leadership had failed them in ensuring that the country is charged on the right course, the people must assert and assume their rights and responsibilities by providing clear signals as to directions they want the country to travel.

If 1986 is the general elections year, then the Malaysian people must take back political power from the government parties, and by their decision and choice in the polls, make 1986 a year of change, hope and renewal.

The future of Malaysia must not be allowed to be decided by the few leaders in government, but must be determined by the collective decision of the Malaysian people, regardless of race, religion, sex or class.