Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Monday, 5th March 1990
If Dr. Mahathir is confident that all UMNO candidates will win in next general elections, he would not keep putting off the general elections date and insist on registration of 300,000 UMNO Baru members as voters first
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, made a most remarkable statement after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. Dr. Mahathir said all UMNO candidates will win in the next general elections, including Parliamentary and state seats in Kelantan.
The Cabinet member who seems to have an additional portfolio in getting Malaysia into the Guinness Book of Records, Information Minister, Mohamed Rahmat, should apply to get this statement into the Guinness Book of Records as a statement by a Prime Minister which nobody believes in, not even the Prime Minister himself. This is quite an achievement – and deserves an immortal place in the Guinness Book of Records.
If Dr. Mahathir was really confident that all UMNO candidates will win in the next general elections, both at Parliamentary and State constituencies, he would not have kept putting off the date of the general elections, and UMNO Baru will not insist on having the 300,000 UMNO Baru members registered as voters first before having the next general elections.
Dr. Mahathir will try not only to retain two-thirds majority in Parliament, but if possible, to have a one-party Parliament
Or was Dr. Mahathir meaning to say that the results of the ‘mock election’ exercise conducted by UMNO Baru for two weeks last month showed that if the UMNO Baru could get the 300,000 UMNO Baru members registered on the Electoral Roll during the current snap voters’ registration exercise, and carry out other rigging activities like transferring or deleting existing pro-Opposition voters, UMNO Baru stands a good chance of winning all the seats it would contest?
For this reason, Dr. Mahathir’s statement should not be taken lightly or dismissed as a wild claim. On the contrary, Dr. Mahathir should be taken seriously as making a statement of intention that he would do all that he could to try to win all seats – and retain not only two-thirds parliamentary majority, but having only a one-party Parliament!
This is why the attack on the independence of the Election Commission is so ominous. Since my statements in January, I have established beyond a shadow of doubt that the Election Commission had been given a secret directive by UMNO Baru to conduct the current 27-day snap voters’ registration exercise to register 300,000 UMNO Baru members.
Proof that the snap 27-day voters registration exercise is on the secret directive of UMNO Baru
No one in either the Election Commission or the UMNO Baru dare to deny that the snap voters’ registration campaign from March 1 – 27 is at the directive of UMNO Baru. This is because it is a fact and completely undeniable.
In fact, I have here a circular dated February 26, 1990 sent by the Secretary of the Kelantan UMNO State Liaison Committee, Hj. Ahmad Shahibuddin bin Hj. Mohd. Nor to all Kelantan UMNO Baru divisional secretaries directing all divisions to register UMNO Baru members and supporters as voters.
The circular, among other things, said:
2. Sebagimana yang kita semua memaklumi bahawa gerakan ini mungkin merupakan peluang terakhir untuk mendaftar sebagai pemilih atau berpindah tempat mengundi disebabkan oleh perpindahan tempat tinggal. Malahan gerakan ini diadakan awal atas permintaan kita setelah menyedari masih ramai ahli UMNO yang belum mendaftar sebagai pemilih diseluruh Negara.
3. Memandangkan gerakan ini sangat penting dan mungkin merupakan peluang kali terakhir sebelum pilihanraya umum, maka Badan Perhubungan sukacita meminta tiap-tiap Bahagian mengambil langkah berikut:-
i. Mengadakan Majlis perjumpaan kepada pemimpin-pemimpin Cawangan agar mengambil tindakan khusus mendaftar ahli dan penyokong UMNO di Cawangan masing-masing yang belum lagi mendaftar supaya didaftarkan. Untuk tujuan pendaftaran kali ini mereka yang layak mendaftar ialah mereka yang lahir pada atau sebelum 28hb. Feb., 1969.
ii. Mengadakan Jawatankuasa Khas di peringkat Bahagian untuk menglaksanakan perkara ini.
3. Melantik pelari-pelari sebagaimana yang dibuat semasa gerakan pendaftaran tahun 1989. Untuk tujuan ini Badan Perhubungan bersetuju untuk membayar sedikit habuan kepada pelari-pelari ini. Pelari-pelari ini seberapa boleh adalah mereka yang telah dilantik dilantik menjadi pelari dalam masa gerakan daftar pemilih tahun 1989 dulu. Setiap Kawasan DUN diperuntukan seorang pelari. Pelari dikehendaki memunggut ‘counter-fail’ atau kaki boring pendaftaran bagi penyokong kita.
4. Setiap Bahagian dikehendaki menyerahkan satu penyatabilangan ahli penyokong kita yang baru berdaftar.”
Paragraph 2 of the UMNO Baru Kelantan circular is clear proof that the snap 27-day voters’ registration exercise was the result of a secret directive to Election Commission by UMNO Baru, although the UMNO Baru Kelantan phrased it euphemistically as “Malahan gerakan ini diadakan awal atas permintaan kita setelah menyedari masih ramai ahli UMNO yang belum mendaftar sebagai pemilih diseluruh negara.”
UMNO Baru allowed to help register voters, but Opposition parties banned from doing so
UMNO Baru had started preparing its entire party machinery throughout the country in early January for this snap voters’ registration exercise, while DAP and other Opposition parties were kept completely in the dark.
The Election Commission has said that it would not permit political parties to participate in the snap voters’ registration exercise this time, but from the circular from Kelantan UMNO Baru Secretary to all divisions, UMNO Baru is in the thick of the voters’ registration exercise, to the extent that incentives are given by UMNO Baru for a maximum registration of voters.
From this, it is clear that the ban by the Election Commission on political parties from helping voters to register themselves on the Electoral Roll apply only to Opposition parties.
Apart from the registration of the target group of 300,000 UMNO Baru members, the Election Commission does not seem to be keen about the registration of other voters and this is why there is minimal publicity about the voters’ registration, and why the Election Commission has refused to supply the DAP and other Opposition parties with the new 1989 Electoral Roll to assist the public in the voters’ registration.
The DAP is not asking the Election Commission to supply us with a free set of the new 1989 Electoral Roll, as we are prepared to pay for them. But we have been told by the Election Commission that it could only sell us after the snap voters’ registration exercise on March 27-by which time, it would have been useless for the voters’ registration exercise.
I have no doubt that UMNO Baru has access to the new 1989 Electoral Roll, to enable its national party machinery to be actively involved in the registration of UMNO Baru members and supporters as voters?
Independence and integrity of Election Commission under great cloud
The independence and integrity of the Election Commission is under a great cloud, as these hanky-panky in the voters’ registration exercise begin to multiply. There is now the proposed changes to election rules and regulations, and together with the secretive ‘mock exercise’ conducted by UMNO Baru last month, justify the legitimate concern of all Malaysians that there would be an attempt to rig the next general elections to ensure that Dr. Mahathir commands not only a two-third parliamentary majority, but a one-party Parliament.
The formation of the six-man Election Watch under Tun Suffian is most timely and important. In fact, international attention is being focused on the integrity and honesty of the Malaysian electoral process. I call on the Election Commission to explain why it had submitted to the secret directive of UMNO Baru to conduct the snap 27-day voters’ registration exercise, without consultations with all opposition parties.