by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjong and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Sunday, August 17, 1986:
Dr. Mahathir should not go on a witch-hunt but get down to the serious task of finding out the reasons why about half the total voters voted against Barisan Nasional in the General elections
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, seems to be back on the witch-hunt, looking for ‘scapegoats’ for his government’s faults and poor general elections performance.
A few days ago, he blamed ‘intellectual critics’ for the failure of government polices and their unpopularity, like the Look East Policy. Yesterday, in Alor Star, he reverted to his previous claim that there is an international Jewish conspiracy against him and his government.
He accused certain reporters (including Malaysians) of being Zionist tools of Jewish-owned foreign publications which are ‘dead set’ against Malaysia. He said that these Jewish-owned foreign publications supported the PAS and DAP in the 1986 general elections hoping the Opposition victories would lead to chaos in Malaysia.
Dr. Mahathir accusation is so far-fetched and ridiculous that it reflects on the accuser rather than the accused!
This is like his election statement that there would be chaos and May 13 if the Opposition wins. The DAP has won the unprecedented 24 Parliamentary and 37 State Assembly seats, but there is no trouble: This shows that the ordinary Malaysian is more responsible than the Prime Minister.
I had hoped that the Prime Minister’s far-fetched claims would and with the general elections, but I am disappointed.
I cannot speak for PAS, but I am sure Malaysians find Dr. Mahathir’s claim that Zionists are backing PAS as another ‘tall tale’ of the Prime Minister.
I am not aware that the foreign publications are supporting the DAP in the general elections. In fact, the leading English-language national daily owned by the UMNO carried an article last week pouring scorn and ridicule on the foreign press as to how they had missed the real battle in the 1986 general elections, for they all concentrated on the PAS’ challenge to Barisan Nasional, ignoring the DAP, when it was the DAP which emerged as the most serious challenger to the Barisan Nasional!
Dr. Mahathir claim that the foreign publications supported DAP in the 1986 general elections strains credibility, when the UMNO’s English-language newspaper is claiming the reverse: that they did not even realise the DAP’s elections potential!
Why should the Prime Minister go on a witch-hunt for scapegoats when he claimed a great landslide victory of the Barisan Nasional in the 1986 general elections, for this reflected uncertainty and lack of confidence.
The reason is very clear: Dr. Mahathir knows that although he won 148 of the 177 Parliamentary seats, Barisan Nasional secured only 55 per cent of the voter support in the country, which is a very poor performance.
Instead of embarking on a witch-hunt for scapegoats as to why the Barisan Nasional secured only 55 per cent of the total national vote, the Prime Minister should spend time to find out the reasons why half the voters voted against the Barisan Nasional in the 1986 general elections.
Dr. Mahathir is the Prime Minister not merely for 55 per cent of the electorate, but 100 per cent of the electorate, and he must therefore respect the hopes and aspirations of the other 45 per cent of the electorate who did not vote for Barisan Nasional. Only in this way can the government and Prime Minister regain National confidence, and put Malaysia on the right nation-building path for the next five years and in the 1990s.
DAP supports a referendum in Sabah and Labuan to ascertain the people’s wishes as to whether Labuan should remain Federal Territory or revent to Sabah
It is reported today that the Labuan issue would feature prominently in the first congress of PBS next weekend as there is strong feeling in the party that Labuan should be returned to Sabah.
The DAP fully supports a referendum to be held in Sabah and Labuan to ascertain the people’s wishes as to whether Labuan should remain as Federal Territory or revert to Sabah. In fact, this was contained in the DAP’s 1986 General Elections Manifesto.
The arbitrary and unilateral manner in which former Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris Salleh, gave Labuan to the Federal Government without consultation or consent of both the people of Sabah and Labuan, is a blot on democracy in Sabah.
So long as this blot on democracy is allowed to stand, Labuan will remain as a reminder of the deprivation of the democratic rights of the people of Sabah and Labuan. This historic wrong to the people of Sabah and Labuan must be put right.
This can be done by the holding of a referendum in Sabah and Labuan for the people to press their wishes on the future of Labuan, and for re-negotiation to be started between Sabah and Federal Governments on Labuan.
If Labuan is too eventually to remain as Federal Territory, then Sabah State should be adequately compensated in the same way that the Selangor State received $ 3 billion compensation for making Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory. Furthermore, there must be adequately guarantee and financial provisions for the development of Labuan.
If PBS Mps raise this matter in Parliament, even by way of Parliamentary motion, the DAP will give them full support.
Call on Minister of Finance and Bank Negara to explain how they propose to protect the interest of the depositors of the 23 co-operatives by allowing them to resume operations immediately without creating any runs
It has been reported that Bank Negara has completed its preliminary investigations into the 23 depositor-talking co-operative. Bank Negara claimed that it was acting to protect the interest of the 540,000 members, who have about $ 1.5 billion deposits in the 23 co-operatives, when it froze the assets of the co-operatives and director more than a week ago.
But surprisingly, Bank Negara was very fast in lifting the freeze on the assets of directors, in particular top MCA leaders, while refusing to allow the co-operatives to pay out salaries to their staff, or to meet any urgent need of the depositors.
If the Bank Negara could lift the freeze on assets of directors of the majority of the 23 co-operatives, then it should be able to lift the suspension of operations of the majority of the 23 deposit-taking companies.
If the interests of the depositors are paramount, then the Bank Negara, as well as the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, should explain how they are going to allow the co-operatives to resume operations immediately, without being accompanied by any runs.