Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Mp for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Federal Territory Ceramah held at Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, to launch the new book:”Malaysia: Crisis of Identity” on Sunday, July 6, 1986 at 8.30 p.m.
DAP calls for general elections to be help after a parliamentary debate on ‘corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places’ next week
Two national leaders, former Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, and former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, have called on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, to put an end of this period of ‘indecisiveness’ and call for general elections at once.
Tun Hussein Onn, who said that a strong opposition would be beneficial to the long-term interest of the people and nation, does not think that it would be advantageous to the Government to hold the general elections later.
Datuk Musa Hitam in Johore Bahru that UMNO and Barisan Nasional member become ‘tired and bored of playing the guessing game’.
Dr.Mahathir should indeed make up his mind. He had wanted to hold general elections in 1985, but the 22- month MCA power struggle and the toppling of the Harris Salleh and Berjaya government in Sabah general elections in April 1985 spoiled his plans.
His plan to hold general elections in end February /early March this year was sabotaged following the scandal of the arrest in Singapore of MCA President, Tan Koon Swan, on 15 charges on criminal breach of tryst, cheating and fraud in connection with the plan El crisis, which closed down the stock market of two countries for three days and wiping out $10.8 billion from the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.
Dr.Mahathir’s next plan to hold general elections in early May was again foiled bu another eruption in the Sabah political crisis, resulting in the 12-day anarchy and sanctioned lawlessness in Sabah in March, as well as the demolition of the 2m team, reducing it to a One M Government with the departure of Datuk Musa Hitam from government,
Dr.Mahathir Mohamed has reason to be hesitant, uncertain and indecisive about when to hold general elections, because for the first time in Malaysia’s general elections history, it is generally agreed by political leaders both inside the Barisan and in the Opposition that the Barisan Nasional could lose its two-third majority this time.
In previous general elections, whether in 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1978, or 1982, the denial of two-third parliamentary majority for the government wan never a serious possibility.
Dr.Mahathir has therefore good reason to worry about the coming general elections (to the extent that he disappeared with his ‘think-tank’ secretly for week overseas last month to work on his election strategy). Dr.Mahathir is worried not because the loss of two-third parliamentary majority will topple the Barisan Nasional Government, for he knows that this is mere ‘scare; propaganda.
Dr.Mahathir can calculate that even if the Barisan Nasional loses two-third majority, with the Opposition comprising DAP and PAS capturing say 60 parliamentary seats, the Barisan government will still have 50-seat majority. This is be a very strong, healthy and comfortable majority for any government to govern effectively.
What Dr.Mahathir worries is that if he becomes the first UMNO President to lose two-third parliamentary majority, he will lose his Prime Ministership, and would be made to step down from office by other UMNO leaders in the way Tunku Abdul Rahman was forced to step down as Prime Minister in 1970.
Dr.Mahathir prides his government as an ‘efficient’ one, but for about two years, his Minister and government have stopped governing, as they were more concerned with ‘electioneering’!
Ghaffar Baba, 1for instance, since his appointment as Deputy Prime Minister, has spent his waking hours rushing around the country making election speeches and promises. He should have been appointed Director of Barisan Nasional elections campaign rather than Deputy Prime Minister!
Dr.Mahathir should stop being ‘hesitant, uncertain and indecisive’ and make up his mind on the general elections date, whether it be now, October or full term next year.
In view of the long-standing uncertainty of the election date, showing that the crisis of confidence in the country have gone up to the very heart of government itself, the DAP calls for ealry general elections to be held.
I suggest that the Prime Minister hold general elections after the parliamentary debate next week on the DAP motion on corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places. It would be most fitting that the final act of this Parliament is a debate on corruption, abuse of power and breach of trust in Dr.Mahathir’s slogan of ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ Malaysia. Government was one of the most effective and powerful slogans in the 1982 general elections, contributing to his landslide electoral victory.
Before the nation goes to polls again, this ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ motto should be subject to parliamentary and nation-wide review and scrutiny, and this could be done with the Prime Minister agreeing to allocate time for Parliament to debate, as its first item of business on July 14, on my motion on the widespread allegations and belief about corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places.
This parliamentary debate will be a grand national inquest into the Barisan Nasional Government’s 1982 election pledge of a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government.
I know there are UMNO, MCA , Gerakan an d MIC leaders who suggest that to avoid such a parliamentary debate, Parliament should be dissolved henceforth. They should explain to the Malaysian public why they are afraid of such a public debate on the government’s promise of a clean, efficient and trustworthy record? Is it because they agree that never before since Merdeka in 1957 has Malaysia become so unclean, corrupt, and decadent, despite the ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ slogan?
DAP reserves the right to take legal action against Elections Commission if it does not set fair and reasonable time for general elections campaign to be held
It is because of Dr.Mahathir’s fear that the Barisan Nasional may lose its two-third parliamentary majority that he wants the next general elections to be the most undemocratic and unfair.
The Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 have been amended to provide for a legal minimum of seven days to be provided for general elections campaign from Nomination to Polling, deposits have increased five time for Parliamentary candidates from $1,000 to $5,000 while State Assembly candidate deposits increased six times from $500 to $3,000; public rallies are banned for the Opposition while the Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional leaders hold illegal public rallies throughout the country, misuse public funds and abuse public resources to carry out elections campaigning.
The Dap gives notice that we reserve the right to take legal action against the Election Commission if it does not set fair, democratic and reasonable time for the general elections campaign to be held, regardless of the amendments to the Elections Regulations.
DAP lawyers have been instructed to be ready to file legal action should the Elections Commission submit to the pressures of the Barisan Nasional Government to provide for only seven days campaigning.
Last week, when DAP Deputy Secretary-General, Sdr.Lee Lam Thye and I met the Election Commission Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Talib, and the full Commission Members, we reminded them of their duty not only to conduct elections, but to ensure that it is conducted democratically where the contesting parties and candidates have the opportunity to explain to the voters the issues at stake in the general elections.
Dr.Mahathir had said many times in public that he is not power-crazy, and that once he is not wanted, he would not tarry for one minute in his high office. Why then should be he so frightened that given democratic conditions for meaningful elections to be held, the people may speak out loud and clear of their objection to his policies and stewardship of the country as Prime Minister?
Sdr.Lam Thye and I had asked the Elections Commission to revert to the old regulation where there is a legal minimum of 14 days of campaigning between Nomination and Polling, and we hope that this two-week minimum for campaigning would be adhered to, if we are not to invoke our rights to challenge the Elections Commission in the courts.
DAP reaffairms its uncompromising opposition to PAS’ objective of an Islamic State
While the DAP is keen to make maximum of the present political climate, which is most unfavourable to the Barisan Nasional, by co-operating with PAS to deny Barisan the two-third parliamentary majority we are not prepared to be’political opportunists’ to sacrifice basic principles with far-reaching consequences for any short-term gain.
For the last 20 years, the DAP had been in the forefront in the political arena to establish the Malaysian identity- where every Malaysian, regardless of race or religion, are equal and first-class Malaysian citizens.
For the DAP to agree to the PAS’ objective of an Islamic State, would be for us to agree to the substitution of the present division of Malaysians into two unequal division of ‘Muslims’ and ‘non-Muslims’.
This is because an Islamic State rejects the principle of majority rule, the principle of the sovereignty of power residing in the people, and non-Muslims would not be able to occupy important executive, legislative and judicial positions and offices. Non-Muslims cannot become Minister, MPs, top government officials, judges, etc.
In an Islamic state as envisaged by PAS, there would even have to be separate electoral rolls, one set of for non-Muslism: with Muslims electing those who could become Prime Minster, Minister, MPs , while non-Muslims only electing from amongst their number those who have mere advisory function.
Malaysia, a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural democratic country, will be taking a major step backwards if an Islamic State is established in Malaysia.
This is why the DAP will not compromise, just to gain extra parliamentary seats, and agree to the PAS’ objective of an Islamic State.
If the DAP is in political for seats, and not political principles and convictions, we could have accepted UMNO’s political objective, joined Barisan Nasional and become Minister and Deputy Minister long long long ago, and behaved like the MCA and the Gerakan!
Any Opposition front based on the condition of PAS’ Islamic State is completely unacceptable to the DAP, and we will have nothing to do with it. The DAP is not suggesting that the PAS repudiate its objective of an Islamic State, but it musr recognise that the purpose of an Opposition Front is to deny the Barisan Nasional two-third parliamentary majority.
PAS must openly recognise that support for the Opposition Front cannot be regarded as any support fir an Islamic State, and that those who support Opposition Front include those who openly oppose an Islamic State!
The DAP dose not want a situation after the next general elections where the UMNO, again returned to power, have the excuse to use the people’s support for the Opposition Front as the people’s desire for an Islamic State, resulting in th UMNO spearheading the further Islamisation of Malaysia toward an Islamic State.
If the PAS is not prepared to compromise on the Islamic State issue, withdrawing it as a perequisite for the formation of an Opposition Front, then the DAP will stand and flight the general elections with other opposition parties or on its own.
The DAP’s call for the denial of the two-third parliamentary majority of Barisan Nasional in the coming general elections will not be jeopardised if the united Opposition front cannot be achieved. It will only be more difficult. This is because in our political calculations, the denial of two-third parliamentary majority to the Barisan Nasional is achievable, whether with or without an United Opposition Front.
With an United Opposition Front, this target is easier to achieve. It dose not become impossible without such a United Opposition Front.
After all, it must not be forgotten that there was no understanding of any sort between the PAS (or PMIP at the time) and the other opposition parties in 1969.