Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the general elections preparation meeting of Penang branch leaders held at Penang Chinese Town Hall on Sunday, 12.1.1986 at 9 a.m.
DAP welcome idealistic Malaysians of conviction to join its ranks to take part in the crusade of 1986 to bring about political changes and reforms in Penang and Malaysia
1986 will be an important political milestone in Malaysia history, as the political decision to be taken this year if general elections are held would have u far-reaching implication is determining the future of Malaysia for the next few decades.
Never before in the history of Malaysia since Merdeka in 1957 have Malaysians felt so lost, discontented, unsure about the future, where events and developments seem to have gone beyond the control of the people and even the government.
In name, Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy, with a government answerable and accountable to the people; but in actual fact, we fast becoming a dictatorship where Parliament and the State Assemblies have become mere rubber stamps with no political will or mind of their own; where governments refuse to be answerable or accountable to the people, which is best illustrated by the broken government pledge over the publication of the BMF final report.
The coming general elections may be the last general election whereby the people could make important decisions about national policies and future directions, for after the next general elections, power may become so concentrated and policies so set and hardened that they are incapable of reversal or modification by the democratic process.
This is why there is a great unrest and farment among all Malaysians today, for there is a search and struggle to regain control of the political development in the country before it is too late.
This is also why the DAP has decided to designate Penang as the front-lime state, for we want the people of Penang to again lead Malaysians in the political struggle for our basic rights and interests.
Great forces have been released in the country which threaten the original nation building concept of Malaysia as a democratic, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation where all Malaysians are equals.
This is the time for all thinking and concerned Malaysians to take a stand against the forces which want to undermine the democratic process, destroy the multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious basic of the country and obstruct the equalisation of opportunities, income and wealth among Malaysians.
It is for this reason that the DAP invite and welcome idealistic Malaysians of conviction to join our ranks to take part in the crusade of 1936 to bring about political changes and reform in Penang and Malaysia, to ensure that we defend the original nation building concept of a democratic, just and equal, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious motion.
My comrades and I in the DAP leadership are prepared to meet anyone who agrees that at this critical moment of our nationhood, we can no longer be spectators in national politics, or we definitively abdicate from our right as Malaysian citizens to chart our own destiny, and continue to see our basic rights rapidly eroded away.
Gerakan/Tung/Chiau Chung elements seeking to merchandise their ‘old wine’ of 1982 general elections in ‘new bottle’ for 1986 general elections
The next general elections is expected to be held in March 1936, although I am sure the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, has not yet made the final decision.
I believe Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir is inclined to favour early general elections in March because later polls is likely to be more unfavourable for the ruling party, but he could not make up his mind because it is still uncertain, how the issue of the BMF final report and a few other important events would develop in the next few weeks.
However, all parties, whether inside the Barisan Nasional or the Opposition, had assumed the general elections could be held in six weeks time after the Chinese New Year, and are finalising their political strategies and preparations.
The same could be said for the Gerakan/Tung/Chiau Chung elements which helped the Barisan Nasional securing a landslide general elections victory in the 19S2 general
I said last year that these Gerakan/Tung/ Chiau Chung elements, realising that their slogan in 1982 of ‘Attack into the Barisan to rectify the Barisan had proved to be an unsatigated disaster for the fundamental rights of the Malaysian Chinese, would seek to get the Chinese Organisations to play the role in the next elections which was played by Tung Chiau Chung in the 1982 general election.
These Gerakan/Tung/Chiau Chung elements have realised that with the failure of the 1982 slogan of ‘Attack into the Barisan to rectify the Barisan’, even if they get the Chinese Organisations to come out openly to support the Gerakan and their candidates, the Malaysian Chinese are unlikely to be misled a second time.
This is why the Gerakan/Tung/Chiau Chung elements have to merchandise their 1982 ‘old wise’ in ‘new bottles’ for thus 1986 general elections.
Their new strategy is to get the Chinese Organisations to come out with the call that in the next general elections, the people should vote for the person, and not the party.
It is for this reason when it was first reported that 27 Chinese Organisations have adopted a Declaration, I had raised the question whether this is being used by some Gerakan/ Tung/Chiau Chung elements to merchandise their 1982 ‘old wine’ in new bottle.
The DAP fully supports the principles, objectives and arguments in the Declaration, as they had been the DAP’s open political struggle since our formation in 1966. But we will not allow the Gerakan/Tung/Chiau Chung elements to make of the Declaration to give them support against candidates in the next general elections.
The Gerakan/Tung/Chiau elements are confident that by using the slogan of “Ehoose the Person and Hot the Party’, they could get the Chinese Organisations to endorse their candidates and nominees.
They want the Malaysian Chinese to forget or ignore the historic fact that the reason why our rights have suffered such unprecedented erosion is because of the role of MCA and Gerakan in Barisan Nasional.
What is the use of selecting so-called ‘good persons’ in MCA and Gerakan, if finally, their historic role in Barisan Nasional is to be yes-men of UMNO. Even the two best Gerakan/ Tung/Chiau Chung representatives in the person of Ker Khoo Ting and Koh Tsu Koon could only play the role of endorsing the Barisan’s Nasional’s ‘One Language, One Culture, One Religion’ Policies of Islamisation, Bumiputra-isation, greater authoritarian rule and further erosion of Chinese politics power through parliamentary and assembly constituency delineations.
If the slogan of ‘Choose the person and mot the party’ had been used in the 1969 general elections, Sdr. Lee Lam Thye, Dr. Chen Man Hin and myself would not have been elected, for we had no personal record to show at that time.
My reservations about the motives of the Gerakan/Tung/Chiau Chung elements in the movement of the Declaration of the 27 Chinese Organisations was reinforced by the stand of the Penang Chinese Town Hall over the Penang Chief Ministership.
The Penang Chinese Town Hall, which is one of the 27 signatories to the Declaration, would speak to Gerakan, MCA, UMNO, and even PAS, over the question of the Penang Chief Ministership, but not the DAP. Clearly, the DAP does not exist at all in the eyes of the Penang Chinese Town Hall.
This seem to highlight the ulterior motives of certain elements, in particular the Gerakan/Tung/ Chaiu Chung elements in their attitude to the Declaration, and in their inventing the new 1986 slogan of ‘choose the person mot the party’ to replace the 1982 slogan of ‘Attack into the Barisan to rectify the Barisan’.
For the above reasons, the DAP while fully supporting the objectives and principles of the 1985 Declaration must declare our doubts and reservations about the ulterior political motives of Gerakan/Tung/Chiau Chung elements in using the Declaration to further their political objectives and to continue their war against the DAP.
We are prepared to meet with the Chinese Organisations or the Chinese Community People’s Eights Committee, whether national or state, for we want to find out clearly whether our doubts and reservations about the political ulterior motives of the Gerakan/Tung/Chiau Chung elements, and in particular slogan of ‘Choose the Person and not the Party’ for the 1986 general elections, are well-founded.