Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Kuching DAP Branch Dinner held at Kuching on Monday, 23.6.1986 at 9pm
Call on every voter to make ‘Deny Barisan Nasional Two-third majority’ his personal political mission in coming general elections to restore democracy, human rights, justice and equality in Malaysia
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had wanted to hold national general elections on May 3, but had to change his plan because he was worried that he might be the first Malaysian Prime Minister and UMNO President to lose two-third parliamentary majority.
In actual fact, Dr. Mahathir had originally planned to summon national general elections in 1985, for by 1984, all indicators point to a worsening and deepening economic recession well into 1987.
However, Dr. Mahathir’s plans for 1985 general elections were foiled by two factors: firstly, the 22-month marathon power struggle in the MCA between Tan Koon Swan and Neo Yee Pan faction; and secondly, the April 1984 general elections in Sabah State where the Barisan Nasional was crushed with the toppling of Berjaya from power and the personal defeat of Harris Salleh.
Dr. Mahathir next turned to early 1986, around February and March, for his next general election date, but again, he was frustrated by MCA, whose newly-elected President, Tan Koon Swan was arrested in Singapore in late January for 15 criminal charges involving criminal breach of trust, fraud and cheating over the Pan E1 crisis.
The May 3 date for general elections was spoiled by another eruption in Sabah political crisis, where for 12 days in March, there was anarchy and a conspiracy to topple the elected Sabah government by organised violence, as illegal demonstrations, bomb blasts, arson and rioting.
The double-standards of the Barisan Nasional, and in particular the blatant refusal of the Federal Government to discharge its constitutional duty to protect life, limb and property in Sabah, permitting lawlessness to resign supreme for 12 days, created a revulsion not only among the people of Sabah but also all right-thinking and peace-loving Malaysians.
As a result, the Barisan Nasional was even more decisively rejected in the Sabah State General Elections in early May, and if national general elections had been hold in May, the Sabah factor would have also led to Barisan Nasional’s serious defeat throughout the country.
The other factor which made the May 3 plans for general elections impossible was the UMNO internal power struggle, where the 2M Government since 1981 was reduced to a 1-M Government, with the resignation of Datuk Musa Hitam as Deputy Prime Minister.
Whatever the press may publish about pictures of Datuk Musa and Dr. Mahathir Mohamed having patched up their differences, shaking hands and embracing each other at various public functions, the inesoapable fact is that Datuk Musa’s refusal to withdraw his resignation as Deputy Prime Minister is the most eloquent and resounding declamation that the Deputy UMNO President has no confidence in the UMNO President, Dr. Mahathir, as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. If UMNO’s N0.2 man has no confidence in the UMNO Leader as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the ordinary rakyat would have lesser confidence in Dr. Mahathir as Prime Minister.
Deep Crisis of Confidence in Malaysia
Datuk Musa’s departure from the Cabinet does not create, but only highlight the deep crisis of confidence afflicting Malaysia for quite some time.
This deep crisis of confidence in the government leadership arises from the over-widening gap between government promise and government action, the double-standards of government leaders, and the failure to fulfil the host of 2M government pledges, like ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’, ‘Leadership by Example’ and other slogans.
This has resulted in an aggravating economic and financial crisis, where foreigners are not only unprepared to invest in Malaysia, but Malaysians take their capital out of the country to put their money in countries which they feel are safer.
Malaysia has a foreign debt of over $40 billion, but according a recent study on capital flight from Malaysia in the last ten years, Malaysia’s external debt could have been reduced to $8 billion or 80 per cent if there had been no such capital flight of Malaysians.
The biggest disappointment of the Mahathir government is of course complete betrayal of the pledge for a ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy Government’.
Never before in Malaysia’s history in the last 29 years has there been more widespread allegation and belief about rampant corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places.
In the last few days, Dr. Mahathir and other top UMNO leaders like Ghaffar Baba and Anwar Ibrahim have been going round the country accusing the Opposition and others of trying to erode the people’s confidence in the leadership by using dirty tactics.
Let me tell Dr. Mahathir, Ghaffar Baba and Anwar Ibrahim that those who have done the most to undermine public confidence in the government is none other than the Government leaders themselves.
The Barisan Nasional government has failed to explain fully, clearly and satisfactorily what it has done to bring to book those involved in the various scandals which have rocked the country, like the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) Scandal, the UMBC scandal, the EPF Scandal, the $1 billion mysterious tin-buying scandal, and a host of other scandals which have not yet come to public knowledge.
Instead of fulfilling its 1982 election promise to ensure a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government by leaving no stone unturned to ferret out and punish everyone involved in corruption, abuse of trust and misuse of public funds, the Mahathir Government has done the opposite, in trying to sweep all these scandals under the carpet.
What is worse, the Mahathir Government now purposes to amend the Official Secrets Act 1971 to make it a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year for any offence for disclosing government information, which, if passed by Parliamentary, will make every Member of Parliament liable to e disqualified as an MP and be jailed for one year if he should reveal any government scandal – as I have been doing in the BMF scandal, UMBC scandal, EPF scandal, the $1 billion mysterious tin-buying scandal, etc.
Yesterday, Dr. Mahathir said in Kuala Lumpur that someone was distributing a photograph showing him dining with those involved in the BMF scandal in Hong Kong, including Kevin Hsu – one of the three creditors of BMF resulting in the colossal $2.5 billion loss of taxpayers’ money.
I am glad that the Prime Minister has mentioned the existence of such a photograph, although I must clarify that the DAP is not involved in any way with its circulation. However, Dr. Mahathir must explain why of the three BMF creditors – namely George Tan of Carrian, Eda Holdings and Kevin Hsu – the Government did not want the Armad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee to investigate into the loans and bed debts involving Kevin Hsu?
Dr. Mahathir should why in April 1982, he won the greatest general elections victory in Malaysia history, and yet today, his government faces the greatest crisis of confidence ever faced by any of the three previous Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Hussein Onn, to the extent that he is now preparing to stage the most undemocratic, unjust and unfair general elections in Malaysian history.
On the Government’s directive, the Elections Commission had meekly amended Elections Regulations whereby the elections campaign period could be held in seven days between Nomination Day and Polling Day. This is to ensure that the Opposition will have no time and opportunity to explain to the electorate the importance of the coming general elections, and this is also why every voter should deny Barisan Nasional its two-third parliamentary majority.
For quite some time, the Barisan Nasional government has misused government resources through its control of the radio, television, press and government machineries like the Information Department, to spread Barisan Nasional propaganda.
In fact, Radio/TV Malaysia has now degenerated into Radio/TV Barisan Nasional, with Dr. Mahathir and other Barisan leaders regularly appearing to advertise the Barisan Nasional for the coming general elections.
The Barisan Nasional is prepared to be so unfair and democratic as to ban public rallies for the Opposition, while the Prime Minister and other Barisan leaders openly defy such ban by holding illegal public rallies throughout the country.
I have no doubt that despite its obvious unpopularity at present, the Barisan Nasional could win an undisputed two-third parliamentary majority in the coming general elections, there would be a sever assault on democratic rights, freedom and forces in Malaysia, with very repressive laws enacted in Parliament to restrict freedom of speech, assembly and association.
Present gold opportunity to deny Barisan Nasional two-third majority must not be missed
For the first time in Malaysian nation-building since 1957, all political forces, whether in Opposition or in Barisan Nasional, are agreed that the coming general elections is going to be an Opposition year, where the possibility of denial of two-third majority of Parliament could take place.
If Malaysians miss this opportunity to deny the Barisan Nasional its two-third majority, then we are missing the historic opportunity to restore democracy to Malaysians, as well as regaining human rights, equality and justice.
This is why the battle for the denial of two-third parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional is not only the battle of the DAP, it must the political mission of every Malaysian who want to see light to replace the long political darkness all these years.
I take this opportunity in Kuching tonight to send out a nation-wide call to Malaysians, whether in Sarawak, Sabah or Peninsular Malaysia, to unite in one common political cause to deny Barisan Nasional its two-third parliamentary majority in the coming general elections, and pledge ourselves to do whatever we can to make this objective come true.
Malaysians will enjoy a new lese of democracy and freedom when Barisan Nasional is denied its traditional two-third parliamentary majority. In actual fact, the Barisan Nasional at present enjoys the indecent majority of having some 90 per cent of all MPs in Parliament.
With such overwhelming majority, the Barisan Nasional has been corrupted by the arrogance of power, resulting in the tyranny of the majority, in utter contempt of the legitimate rights and aspirations of the people of different races, religions, cultures and region for a fair and equal deal under the Malaysian sun.
Let us all resolve to make a political commitment to play our to deny Barisan Nasional its two-third parliamentary majority, that the government is taught a several lesson that power comes from people, and that it must be democratic, responsible and honour the principle of accountability.
The denial of the two-third parliamentary majority of Barisan Nasional will also be a public declaration by the Malaysian people that they themselves from and repudiate the series of scandals which have rocked and shamed Malaysians, and that they want the fullest and disclosure about all these scandals.
It will also be a loud and clear declaration by the people that they the unpopular and disastrous nation-building policies of the Barisan Nasional, like its One Language, One Culture Policy; National Culture Policy, New Economic Policy and its extension after 1990; the National Political Policy which progressively reduces the political power of the non-Malays through inequitable and undemocratic delineation of parliamentary and assembly constituencies; etc.
Barisan Nasional leaders will try to threaten the voters by increasing chaos, anarchy and disaster if Barisan Nasional is denied its two-third majority. These are scare tactics which had failed miserably to Sabah, and should not be allowed to succeed in Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia.
If general elections are held in July or September, there will a total of 177 Parliamentary seats, and to deny Barisan its two-third majority, the Opposition must collectively get at least 60 MPs. This will leave the Barisan with 117 MPs – and a parliamentary majority of 57 MPs.
If any one claims that a government with a 57 majority in Parliament cannot be strong and stable, he is either a fool or a liar – for we have seen many governments and Prime Ministers all even the world are governing effectively with a wafering majority of three or five seats!
There will be those who will raise the spectre of May 13 to frighten the voters. Nobody, least of all the DAP, wants another May 13, and I am confident that the conditions in 1986 are completely different from 1969 and that there would not be another May 13.
Firstly, in 1969, no one, either the Government or the Opposition, had expected the Alliance to lose badly. At that time, the DAP was calculating on the basis of winning three or four Parliamentary seats, but we actually won 13 Parliamentary seats. So it came as a shock, both to the Government parties and the Opposition, which enabled it to be made used of by irresponsible political elements to create May 13. The of the 1969 general election results, for both the Government and Opposition, irresponsible politics forces to create the May 13 trouble.
In the coming general elections, it is apparent to both the Government parties and the Opposition that the Barisan Nasional could lose two-third majority – and the DAP has in fact started on a nation-wide campaign to psychologically prepare the Barisan Nasional for losing two-thirds majority. So when such a loss of two-third majority eventually takes place during the coming elections, it would not come as a shock at all.
Secondly, after the May 13 events, and the bitter lessons learnt from it, everyone will be doing their utmost to prevent a recurrence, which could do no one any good. DAP is a party of nationalist and patriotic Malaysians whose only homeland and loyalty is to Malaysia. We want to make Malaysia a better country, and not to destroy it.
Thirdly, 1986 is not 1969, as after the NEP implementation for 16 years, there has emerged a NEP class of the new rich, who will have a lot to lose if there is chaos and trouble in Malaysia.
Those who raise the May 13 scare in the coming general elections, must be regarded as the Public Enemy No.1 of all Malaysians, for clearly they are the very ones who want to destroy the democratic rights of Malaysians by threats and intimidations. The people of Sabah have proved that Malaysians cannot be coweed, and it is now for Malaysians in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia to demonstrate that they could stand up for their rights as well as our Sabah brothers and sisters.