Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Mp for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Malacca DAP Ceramah to launch the new book ‘Malaysia: Crisis of Identity’ held at Meng Seng Charitable Association Hall, Malacca on Monday, 7th July 1986 at 8 pm.
DAP suggests a round-table Meeting of all party leaders in Malaysia to ensure next general elections will be clean, democratic, fair and trouble-free by adopting a gentleman’s code of conduct
The DAP proposes a round-table meeting of all political party leaders in Malaysia before dissolution of Parliament to ensure that the next general elections will be clean, fair, democratic and trouble-free by adopting a gentleman’s code of conduct binding on all parties.
All political parties which take part in the elections must themselves to abide by the verdict of the people, and pledge that they will not seek to frustrate or thwart the will of the people in any way.
If the voters only the right to vote for one political party or one slate of candidates, but have no freedom to choose other competing parties or candidates, then we might as well have no elections.
With the coming general elections, all political parties must be prepared to reaffirm their commitment to the parliamentary democratic process, and whatever their political differences, agree to do their utmost to ensure that the coming general elections will be clean, democratic, fair and trouble-free.
In the past, the Election Commission always call an all-party meeting to agree on the “Dos and Don’ts’, but such electoral behaviour code is limited in purpose and scope. For instance, the code states that political leaders, candidates, agents and their supporters should set ‘ exemplary behaviour’; refrain tearing down or defacing election posters, banners of rival parties or candidates; should not use Secret Society or undesirable elements; should not use function organised by government officers to propagate their party platforms, etc.
But the electoral behaviour code refuses to spell out in clearer term what should constitute ‘exemplary behaviour’ of political leaders, especially in Malaysia political conditions. As a result, such a code has no real meaning or purpose.
The DAP suggests that all political parties should agree on a Code of Conduct which is meaningful to Malaysian political conditions, to ensure general election are held whereby the will of the electorate could be given full and proper expression.
For a start, all political parties and leaders should undertake not to resort to the politics of thuggery, blackmail, fear and corruption.
Bearing in mind out multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation, all political leaders should agree that anyone who threatens voters with chaos, May 13, bloddshed, or whatever other awful consequences if they voted for any particular party or candidates should be condemned as not fit or qualified to stand for elective office; for such person is prepared to use any means to frustrate the democratic process.
Are all political parties prepared to commit themselves to the undertaking that any political leaders or candidates is elected should be expelled immediately his party, and disqualified as a candidate for elective office?
The Election Offences Act 1954, under Section 9, provides that anyone by ‘duress, or any fradulent device or contrivance impedes or prevents the free exercise of the franchise of any elector or voter’ is committing an election offence of corrupt practice, liable to one0year jail or $1,000 fine or both.
However, with our Attorney-General, Tan Sri Talib Othman, who has shown himself to be very biased, forgetful of his constitutional duties to uphold the law without fear or favour, we cannot expect any strict enforcement of the Elections Offences Act against the government Minster and leaders.
Let the coming general elections be a test to all political parties whether we have matured in the last 29 years to become responsible democratic forces, by open taking a stand against the politics of thuggery, blackmail, fear and corruption.
The second important item which should be in the gentleman’s Code of Conduct binding all political parties in the strict aherence to the principle that there should be no misu of public resources for any contesting party or candidate.
The Elections Commission, if is mindful of its Constitutional responsibility to conduct fair and democratic elections, would be the best body to summon such an round-table conference of all party leaders.
I hope the elections Commission will give this suggestion serious consideration.
Call on Barisan Nasional to rectify the injustice of government scholarship allocations.
Last week, the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba said in Sungai Udang, Malacca that the Barisan Nasional would be fair to all races, and would rectify all cases of unfairness to ensure unity.
Ghaffar Baba should have been called the Minister for Election Promises, for this appears to be his primary function after his appointment as Deputy Prime Minister.
However, we have seen how injustices which occurred recently could not be rectified at all, as for instance, the injustices of students denied entry into universities or courses of study of their preference, although they obtained all the requisite qualifications in their STPM examination.
I will give another instance. Two days ago, I received the written answer to a question I asked in the recent Parliamentary meeting on the racial breakdown of Malaysian scholarship students sent to Australia and New Zealand for pre-university and university studies.
According to the government, a total of 747 student were sent to Australia and New Zealand for pre-iniversity studies on governemnt scholarship for 1985 and 1986, and out these 747 students, there were only two (2) non-Malays, both Chinese. This is indeed most shocking.
Thus, the figures on government scholarship students sent to Australia and New Zealand in these two years are as follow:
Australia 1985 1986
Bumi C. I. L. Bumi C. I. L.
(1)Pre-University 360 – – – 50
(2)University 70 1 – – 191 – – –
(1)Pre-University 64 – – – – – – –
(2)University 4 1 – – 1- – – –
503 2 – – 242 – –
How can the Barisan Nasional government justify such injustices where out of 747 schlorship students send to Australia and New Zeland Zealand in 1985 and 1986, only two were non-Malays? Is Ghaffar Baba prepared to give a full list of racial breakdowns of government scholarship students overseas doing pre-university and university studies?
Call on Government to convince Malaysians that the Bill to save ‘ailing companies’ is not a self-serving device to bail out trouble companies belonging to leading Barisan Nasional leaders or their supporters,
Last Thursday, the Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh said in Perlis that a Bill to help ‘ailing’ companies which had been summoned for failing to settle their debts would be tabled by the Trade and Industry Ministry at the next Parliamentary sitting.
Tengku Razaleigh said that Bill would allow the companies to appoint auditors to inspect their accounts, and temporarily set aside courts orders issued against them. When companies received the court order, they would be given a grace period to improve their performance and settle all their debts.
I call on Tengku Razaleigh to convince Malaysian that this Bill to save ‘ailing’ companies is not a self-serving device to bail out troubled companies belonging to leading Barisan Nasional leaders or those of their strong supporters.
It is open knowledge that many companies of Barisan Nasional leaders, including those belonging to senior Cabinet Minister, are in great financial trouble.
Before the government take any further action on its plan to save ‘ailing’ companies, it should make public all the ‘ailing companies’ belonging to Barisan Nasional leaders or those of their strong supporters, who would benefit from such government intervention.
I also call on Tengku Razaleigh to give MPs adequate time to study this Bill, as Parliament is to meet on next Monday, and not dump the Bill on the MPs’ table expecting a debate in 24 or 48 hours’ time.
Nik Rashid’s debate challenge to MCA shows the lowly position and influence of MCA not only in the eyes of UMNO, but even civil servants.
Institut Teknologi Mara director, Datuk Nik Abdul Rashid Majid, challenged the MCA leaders to debate on the justice and fairness in the distribution of the country’s wealth when closing the Perlis ITM branch campus orientation week last Thursday. This was Nik Rashid’s response to speeches of MCA leaders at the MCA Convention previous Sunday. This has caused panic among the MCA leaders, who did not know how to react. The MCA leaders dare not accept Nik Rashid’s challenge, and yet dies not want be seen to be backing out.
But what intrigues me is that Nik Rashid’s challenge shows the lowly place and influence of the MCA and its leaders not only in the eyes of UMNO, but even among the civil servants.
Could anyone for instance imagine the principal of the Tunku Abdul Rahman college openly challenging the UMNO leaders, especially Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, Ghaffar Baba and Anwar Ibrahim to a public debate on their political speeches and statements at UMNO Conventions or seminars?
If there had been such a Tunku Abdul Rahman College principal who dare to do what Datuk Nik Rashid has done, UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders and branches would be demanding for his ‘head’ and MCA leaders will submit and get such a principal ‘sacked’!
I do not believe Tan Koon Swan, Ling Liong Sik or Lee Kim Sai would dare to defend the right of the principal of Tunku Abdul Rahman College to challenge the political speeches and statement of UMNO leaders, in the way that Ghaffar Baba and Musa Hitam are defending the right of Nik Rashid to challenge the MCA leaders.
Ghaffar Baba, for instance, when commenting on Nik Rashid’s challenge, said anybody wishing to have a debate on an issue is free to do so as the country practises freedom of speech. Will Ghaffar Baba similarly defend the right of the principal of Tunku Abdul Rahman College who should attack and challenge his speech as UMNO leader at some UMNO function?
Surely not. Ghaffar Baba would demand MCA sack the Tunku Abdul Rahman College principal or the government will suspend its financial subsidy to Tunku Abdul Rahman College.
Datuk Musa Hitam welcomed the debate between Nik Rashid and MCA leaders. Would he be qually consistent, if this challenge had been the Tunku Abdul Rahman College principal, and the target the UMNO leaders themselves?
I believe Ghaffar Baba and Datuk Musa Hitam are being hypocritical here.
What is important about the Nik Rashid challenge therefore, is not how MCA get out of the challenge, but why Nik Rashid, as a public servant, is allowed to make this challenge and why MCA Minister dare not do to discipline Rashid.
If MCA Minister and leaders cannot even handle a Nik Rashid, how can they be expected to handle UMNO Minister abd heavyweights like Anwar Ibrahim, Ghaffar Baba and Dr.Mahathir Mohamed?
On the Nik Rashid matter, the MCA leaders have again brought shame and dishonour to the Chinese they claim to represent, for they show that they occupy a very lowly place, not only in the Barisan leadership, even in the ordinary government machinery!