Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Tea Party-Ceramah organised by MIRI DAP Branch held in Miri, Sarawak, on Thursday, 19th June 1986 at 8 pm
Call on People of Sarawak to support the nation-wide campaign to deny Barisan Nasional two-third Parliamentary majority by voting for at least one third Opposition from Sarawak in next general elections
The single most obsessive question of Malaysians today is when would general elections be held, At this point of time, the possibility of July general elections cannot yet be ruled out, failing which, the next possibility is August/September or full term next year.
Regardless of when general elections are held, it is generally believed, by political observers as well as political parties inside and outside the Barisan Nasional that the coming general elections present an unprecedented opportunity for the denial of the traditional two-third majority of the ruling Coalition, presently Barisan Nasional and previously Alliance.
I call on the people of Sarawak to consciously and vigorously support the nation-wide campaign to deny the Barisan Nasional two-third Parliamentary majority by voting at least one-third opposition Members of Parliament from Sarawak in the coming general elections.
If general elections are held in July, the Elections Commission would not be able to redelineate the Sarawak parliamentary constituencies into 27 seats, and general elections would have to be held on the basis of the current 24 Parliamentary seats – and one-third would mean 8 Parliamentary seats.
The DAP hopes to at least double our Parliamentary representation in Sarawak from two to four, to add MLRI and SARIKEI to the present Kuching and Sibu seats; and the aim of trying to secure at least one-third of the Sarawak Parliamentary seats for the Opposition should not be an impossible target.
Removal of Two-Third Majority essential to restore meaningful parliamentary democracy
The removal of the traditional two-third parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional is essential if we are to restore meaningful parliamentary democracy in Malaysia.
The Barisan’s two-third majority – at present it enjoys four-¬fifth parliamentary majority, has resulted in an intolerable arrogance of power the tyranny of the majority, gravely undermining parliamentary democracy, eroding fundamental liberties, and damaging the doctrine of the separation of powers, checks and balances, and the principle of Federalism in Federal¬-State relationships.
The Barisan’s arrogance of power and contempt for the democratic rights and fundamental liberties of Malaysians could be seen by its most undemocratic action where on its instructions, the Elections Commission has shortened campaign period from the minimum of 14 days between Nomination and Polling Day to a mere seven days. The stage has therefore been set for the most undemocratic, unjust and unfair general elections in Malaysian history.
If such arrogance, tyranny and undemocratic actions are not checked, the Barisan Nasional may in future allow only three days for general elections, with Dissolution of Parliament on the first day, Nomination on the second day and Polling on the third day!
Deposits for Parliamentary candidates are also being increased five-fold from $1,000 to $5,000, while for State Assembly elections increased six-fold from $500 to $3,000, in an attempt to cripple the opposition financially, while on the other hand, making politics a game of the rich and wealthy.
The two-third majority of Barisan has made it undemocratic, for it could enact any laws it wants regardless of public opinion or public interest. The Constitution could be chopped and changed at its whim and fancy, retrospective laws passed to legalise past illegalities and government wrongs; and very repressive and restrictive laws imposed to suppress scandals from being exposed like to proposed amendment to the Official Secrets Act to provide for mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence for any offence under the Act.
The two-thirds majority of Barisan has made it irresponsible, ignoring its constitutional duties, responsibilities and functions, as illustrated by the 12 days of anarchy and lawlessness in Sabah in March where up to now, the Federal Government has not taken any action against anyone for the bombings, arson, illegal demonstrations and rioting despite five persons being killed and $10 million property damaged!
The two-thirds majority of Barisan has also made it unaccountable, and this is why up to now, Malaysians have been denied the full story about the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal. The Barisan leaders want Malaysians to believe that only four persons, namely Lorraine Osman, Hashim Shamsuddin, Rais Saniman and Ibrahim Jaffar, were responsible for the theft and fraud of $2.5 billion of the Malaysian taxpayers’ money. We cannot accept such attempt to cover up the scandal, for clearly, without top political involvement, the BMF scandal could not have reached its magnitude and enormity to rank as one of the biggest financial scandals in the world.
Denial of two-third majority would not lead to weak government, but more responsible, democratic and accountable government
Barinan Nasional leaders are going round the country claiming that it needs two-third majority to be strong and effective, and accusing the DAP of wanting to ensure a weak Government.
The removal of the two-third majority will not result in a weak and unstable government, for the Barisan would still have a large majority of over 50 MPs. It will only make the Ministers more humble and Barisan MPs more responsible. If the Barisan leaders say that they cannot govern effectively with a majority of over 50 MPs, then they don’t qualify to govern in any event, and a Prime Minister who makes such an assertion would be the most incompetent Prime Minister in the world. This is because many governments and Prime Ministers have governed with slender majorities of just a few seats!
With the approach of general elections, the Barisan leaders are now engaged in the exercise of dispensing sweet-sounding promises. Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, for instance, have been issuing daily promises this week. One day he would say that the New Economic Policy would be extended only after consulting the Barisan component parties and with the consent of the people, another day that the National Culture Policy must not be forced on the people.
Barisan Nasional leaders think that 20 years after Merdeka, Malaysians are still very naive who would accept whole the election promises, rather than to judge the Barisan by its record in the last three decades, and in particular in the last four years since the 1982 general elections!
Barisan leaders, for instance, boasts about how democratic, liberal and humane they are in their policies, but the latest study of human rights in the world placed Malaysia very low down in its human rights record. In fact, Malaysia’s human rights record is adjudged as being worse than the majority of South American nations.
The denial of the Barisan’s two-third parliamentary majority will serve as a severe warning to the government to stop undermining parliamentary democracy, human rights and the legitimate rights of the various strata and communities in Malaysia. If the Barisan Nasional does not mend its way despite the loss of two-third parliamentary majority, then in the general elections after there would be an irresistable wave for the toppling of the Barisan Nasional government.