The next general elections may be held on March 20 with Nomination Day on March 1, 1986

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the ‘dotting the eye’ ceremony for the four new lions of the DAP Malacca lion troupe held at DAP Malacca premises on Tuesday, January 21, 1986 at 8 p.m.

The next general elections may be held on March 20 with Nomination Day on March 1, 1986

Monday’s emergency meeting of Mentra-menteri Besar summoned by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, forcing many Mentri Besar to cancel pre-arranged appointments, was clearly related to the impending general elections.

I understand that the Prime Minister has fixed a tentative date for the next general elections on March 20, 1986, following the 1982 general elections of choosing a Thursday as a polling day.

If general elections falls on March 20, 1986, then I would expect Nomination Day to fall on March 5, 1986, and Dissolution of Parliament and the State Assemblies Around Feb.26, 1986.

I also understand that as a prelude to the formal general elections campaign, the Prime Minister will be taking the campaign trail in all the States, starting with Seremban on Thursday, The Prime Minister will be holding public rallies just like during the 1983 Constitutional Crisis.

I will call on the Government to conduct a clean, honest and fair general elections campaign – which must include the pre-elections preparations. If the Barisan Nasional leaders led by the Prime Minister could hold mass public rallies throughout the country in every state before the general elections, then the Opposition parties must be allowed the same opportunities and facilities.

For this reason the DAP proposes to organise a public rally in the same venue in the States where the Barisan Nasional is planning their rallies featuring the Prime Minister as their main attraction. I hope that the police and the various Municipal authorities would be fair and not apply double standards to different political parties in pre-general elections build up.

I have just been informed before I came here by the press that MCA President, Tan Koon Swan had been arrested by the Singapore ‘authorities in Singapore.

I cannot say that this has come as a surprise, for at the DAP BMF Protest Ceramah in Malacca on 12th January, I had described the Pan El Scandal as serious as the BMP scandal.

I am sure that the Singapore authorities must have thought hard and long before taking the serious step of taking Taxi Koon Swan into custody, because Tan Koon Swan is no ordinary businessman. He is the president of the second largest governing party in the Country, and a potential senior Cabinet Minister in a matter of a few months.

I do not see how Tan Koon Swan can continue to be MCA President, claiming to represent the five million Malaysian Chinese. If he continues as MCA President, after being detained in Singapore for his Pan El activities, he would bring dishonour not only to the five million Malaysian Chinese, but also to the Malaysian nation and people as a whole.

I do not know whether the latest Tan Koon Swan development would affect Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s election date calculations, although it may not as Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir may be too pre-occupied with his own polit cal future than Tan Koon Swan’s political survival. The DAP Central Executive Committee will meet Saturday, February 1, 1986 at 2 p.m. to discuss the latest political developments and the impending general election.