Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP General Elections meeting of national, state and branch officials held at Transport Workers’ Union on Sunday, 20,4,1986 at 10 a.m.
DAP announces official general elections campaign theme as ‘Deny Barisan Nasional Two-Thirds Majority’
In the final days of the Dewan Rakyat two weeks ago, there was a rumour that over a hundred Barisan Nasional Assemblymen were going to resign en bloc to force the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to hold general elections.
I did not give credence to such a rumour, for such an event was unthinkable, although it reflected the strain on Barisan Nasional component parties caused by the uncertainty and suspension as to when the general elections would be held.
The entire Barisan Nasional Government has stopped governing for several months, for every Minister, Deputy Minister, Parliamentary Secretary was too busy campaigning for the general elections.
The Prime Minister himself had started electioneering campaign as far back as January, visiting all States except Sabah to hold illegal public rallies, which is a misuse of his position power and office as Prime Minister.
It is open secret that Dr. Mahathir had wanted to hold general elections last year, but the 22-month long MCA power struggle and the Barisan Nasional’s defeat in the Sabah State General Elections in April 1985 had forced him to change his plans. His intention to hold general elections early this year was also failed by the arrest in Singapore of MCA President, Tan Koon Swan, for criminal breach of trust, fraud and cheating charges in connection with the Pan El scandal.
The way is being cleared for removing some problems the Barisan Nasional might face in the general elections, as for instance, there is very strong speculation that the government had helped to negotiate a ‘compromise’ deal in Tan Koon Swan’s case where he would be fined and not jailed on his pleading guilty in the Singapore court. But meanwhile, new problems have emerged to complicate Dr. Mahathir’s calculations, as the 2M split whereby Datuk Musa Hitam had resigned from the Government as Deputy Prime Minister. Whatever both Dr. Mahathir and Datuk Musa Hitam might say for the public, Datuk Musa’s action is nothing less than a vote of no confidence in Dr. Mahathir as Prime Minister of Malaysia to the extent that he is not prepared to serve under him.
Malaysia is now faced with a full-scale economic and financial crisis, as highlighted by the Prime Minister’s bombshell announcement that Malaysia might have to ask for a rescheduling of its foreign debts. Dr. Mahathir’s subsequent denial of his statement only highlighted the seriousness of the crisis the nation is facing – where even the government and Prime Minister have lost control and serse of direction.
Dr. Mahathir and his government have failed to solve or give a satisfactory accounting on the many other major issues in the country, as national disunity caused by increased racial polarisation arising from the division of Malaysians into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, the Islamisation Policy, the promulgation and implementation of the ‘One Language, One Culture’ Policy, the Sabah crisis, the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal, the memali Incident, the million-strong illegal Indonesian and Filipino immigrants, massive retrenchments, deepening poverty, and a whole host of other issues.
A study of the political, economic, social and nation-building crisis faced by Malaysia all point to one source – the arrogance of power and the tyranny of the Parliamentary majority of the UMNO-dominated Government to disregard the legitimate rights and aspirations of the different sections and communities in the country.
Mahathir worried about losing two-third majority and wants to shorten campaign time
This is why the DAP Central Executive Committee has decided that the party’s official general elections campaign theme is ‘Deny Barisan Nasional Two-Third Majority’ as a first step to correct and reverse the disastrous policies pursued by the Barisan Nasional Government.
The DAP will field about 80 parliamentary candidates with the objective of winning about 40 Parliamentary seats in the next general elections.
There is a strong possibility that Dr. Mahathir Mohamed will be the first Prime Minister to lose the two-third parliamentary majority. He is aware of this and this is why he is worried and is prepared to conduct the most undemocratic, unfair and unjust general elections in Malaysian history by order the Elections Commission to cut down elections campaign time to only 7 days.
This will put the DAP at a great disadvantage, for we would hardly be able to start campaign when it would be time to vote – but this again demonstrates the need to remove once and for all the two-third parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional government.
Otherwise, in future, the UMNO-dominated government may decide to permit a three-day general elections, where Dissolution of Parliament takes place on Day Once, Nomination on Day Two, and Polling on Day Three!
I would urge Dr. Mahathir to show that he is a ‘gentleman’ Prime Minister, who is prepared to face the people’s verdict in a general elections fairly, honestly and democratically and if it is the people’s decision that the Barisan Nasional Government should be deprived of its two-thirds parliamentary majority, then he would abide by the people’s democratic choice.
I would urge Dr. Mahathir to resist the advice of his ‘election strategists’, who want him to conduct the most undemocratic, dishonest and unfair general elections – as for instance, abusing the Prime Minister’s office in holding illegal public rallies throughout the country, or in having the general elections campaign period from 14 days to seven days. There advisers will also suggest the tactics of fear and intimidation to terrorise voters into supporting the Barisan Nasional.
For instance, there will be the temptation to try to frighten the voters into believing that the removal of the parliamentary two-thirds majority will cause chaos, havoc and even bloodshed in Malaysia. This will be utterly irresponsible, dishonest and untrue, for at this stage of our political development, the removal of the two-third parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional Government would be the best thing that could happen in Malaysia, for it would ensure a more responsible and accountable Government.
Any political leader who publicly claims that the removal of the two-third parliamentary majority wkll plunge Malaysia into instability, chaos and havoc is an irresponsible leader, who should be condemned by every Malaysian and hounded out of civilized society.
There will also be those would advice Dr. Mahathir to employ the ‘fear and spectre of May 13’ to intimidate voters, by warning the voters that if they vote for the DAP and the Opposition, there would be another May 13. Some would even suggest that the elections should be timed to be held in May so that this ‘May 13 threat’ could be more real in reminding of the actual May events in 1969.
Call on Dr. Mahathir not to allow anyone to exploit ‘May 13 fears’ by not holding general elections in month of May
It is not only UMNO, but MCA and Gerakan leaders, who would want the general elections to be held in May so that they could fully exploit the ‘May 13 fears’.
This will be utterly irresponsible too. I call on the Prime Minister not to allow anyone to exploit ‘May 13 fears’ in the coming general elections, and the first step is for him to announce that the general elections would not be held in the month of May. There are many taboos in our multi-racial, multi-culture and multi-religious society. Exploiting ‘May 13 fears’ should be a taboo in our political society, and not general elections in Peninsular Malaysia should be held in May.
In fact, if MCA and Gerakan leaders are responsible Malaysians, they would prevent the Prime Minister from calling any May general elections, but it is too much to expect MCA and Gerakan to act with responsibility.
The DAP must sternly warn political desperadoes who are prepared to jeopardize the harmony and stability of the people and country by resorting to ‘May 13 fears’ just to keep themselves in Parliament and the State Assemblies, for the Malaysian people must reject them even more decisively.
No one in the DAP wants troubles and disorder for Malaysia, for this is our only homeland, where we born, bred, live and will die. Our political mission is to bring about democratic political changes and not to incite riots and bloodshed.
Those who talk and threaten about another May 13, if voters vote for this party or did not vote for that party, are the very ones who want to create May 13 incidents, and should be regarded as as the Public Enemy No. One of all peace-loving Malaysians.
The DAP will prepare a Roster of the nation’s Public Enemy No. 1 who are so irresponsible and unscrupulous as to threaten and blackmail voters with May 13 troubles, and will give the first to head this list of Public Enemy No. 1 by being the first to use the May 13 threat.
DAP must be prepared to face elections to be held any time
Dr. Mahathir’s worry about losing two-third parliamentary majority is the chief reason why there has been so much uncertainty about the election date. A responsible Prime Minister would avoid a general elections in May. As Dr. Mahathir has not said that he would avoid a general elections in May, general elections could fall in one of the three following periods:
(i) On May 3 or 6th, to coincide with the Sabah State general elections;
(ii) During the Puasa Month in May;
(iii) In July.
As far as the DAP is concern, we must be prepared to face general elections any time.
We are fighting great odds, with great limitations on our financial and material resources. If the elections campaign period is reduced to seven days – which would mean five days of actual campaigning when we take into account the nomination and polling days – our handicaps would be the greatest we would face in our party history.
We must wake up for what we lack in money and resources, and the undemocratic handicaps and odds, by our fighting spirit and the support of the people.
We will launch immediately a nation-wide campaign of ceramahs with the theme ‘Deny Barisan Nasional two-third majority’ not only to explain why the Barisan’s traditional two-thirds majority must be removed, but to call on all Malaysians of like-minded political outlook to join the DAP in our political mission in the coming general elections.
The campaign to deny the Barisan Nasional its two-third majority is not a DAP campaign, it must be the campaign of every Malaysian who cherish democracy and justice in Malaysia. I call on them to join us in this common could just participate actively in the campaign to deny the Barisan Nasional two-third majority.
At every ‘Deny Barisan Nasional two-third majority’ ceramah, we will invite Malaysians to either (i) to join the DAP or (ii) enrol in the ‘Deny Barisan Nasional two-third majority’ Campaign.
I call on all Malaysians to make the coming general elections a memorable political opportunity where the people regain control and direction of their own political future.