Barisan Nasional government would lose two-thirds parliamentary majority if there is a 12 per cent swing of its votes to the Opposition

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Joint DAP-Semangat 46 National Ceramah held at Malacca on Sunday, 25th March 1990 at 9 pm

Barisan Nasional government would lose two-thirds parliamentary majority if there is a 12 per cent swing of its votes to the Opposition

Tonight marks the end of the first series of the Joint DAP-Semangat 46 National Ceramah which also started a series of political earthquakes in Malaysia, beginning in Penang on 17th February, followed by Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Seremban, Kluang last night and Malacca tonight.

Tens of thousands of people came to every one of our Joint Ceramah to demonstrate support for the co-operation between the DAP and Semangat 46, and to indentify themselves with the our movement to save democracy, restore human right, establish socio-economic justice and create genuine multi-racial unity.

The great success of this first series of the Joint DAP-Semangat 46 National Ceramah have sent several loud and clear messages to the Barisan Nasional government.

One message is that it is not just the people in Poland, Czechoslavakia, East Germany, Hungary, Rumania and Russia who want change, Malaysians also want political change in the 1990s.

Another message is that for the first time in Malaysian electoral history, the Barisan Nasional parties have no more safe seats in the next general elections. The days in previous general elections when the ruling parties coalition could win over 40 parliamentary seats on nomination day because they were uncontested are no more. Also gone are the general elections when Barisan Nasional leaders could regard scores of constituencies as safe which they need not cultivate or nurture during the election campaign.

Many Barisan Nasional party leaders will fighting for their own survival in next general elections

In the next general elections, most leaders of Barisan Nasional parties would be fighting for their own personal survival. This is why many Barisan Nasional leaders, like the MCA President, Datuk Dr.Ling Liong Sik, MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, MCA Secretary-General, Datuk Ng Cheng Kiat, Gerakan President, Datuk Dr.Lim Keng Yaik, MIC President, Datuk Samy Vellu, are looking around for ‘safer’ seats to contest in the next general elections.

Previously, a nomination by the Barisan Nasional for candidature in the general elections is as good as election as a Member of Parliament or a State Assemblyman. But this is no more. Nimination bu Barisan Nasional no more guarantees election!

A new political landscape has emerged in Malaysia, where for the first time in Malaysian elections history, the removal of the two-thirds parliamentary majority of Barisan Nasional Government is within reach.

The two-thirds parliamentary majority has been the root cause of all the political abuses of power, the violation of human tights and democratic freedoms, economic and financial scandals, resulting in a prolonged crisis of confidence in the Mahathir government.

Based on the results of the 1986 general elections, if there is a 12 per cent swing of the voters of Barisan Nasional to the Opposition, history would be created in Malaysia for the Barisan Nasional government would have lost two-thirds parliamentary majority, which would make it more humble, democratic, accountable, responsible and accommodating to the legitimate aspirations and views of ordinary Malaysians.

If there is such a 12 per cent swing in the next general elections, the Barisan Nasional will lose 24 seats to the Opposition in Peninsular Malaysia. Assuming that the present Opposition seats, namely 24 DAP, 12 Semangat 46 and 1 PAS MPs retain their seats, this will bring to a grand total of 61, which would have denied Barisan Nasional government its coveted two-third majority in Parliament.

These are of course pure electoral statistics and suppositions. Elections are not won by electoral suppositions but by hard work and dedicated campaigning. But these electoral statistics offer a significant glimpse into the unprecedented political possibilities in the next general elections.

For the first time since Merdeka, Malaysians have the power in their hands to change the structure of political power on the country and initiate democratic reforms. They should use this power and opportunity wisely in the next general elections.

Appeal to Yang di-Pertuan Agong not to give Royal Consent to the Constitution Amendment Bill and the Election Amendment Bill and to remit them to Parliament for reconsideration

The Sanate passed the Constitution Amendment Bill by 47 voted to nil Thursday. In the Dewan Rakyat on 16th March 1990, it was passed by a narrow shave of 124 votes, a mere six votes above the two-thirds majority of 118 needed to amend the Constitution.
The latest Constitution Amendment Bill is a frivolous abuse of the two-third parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional government to disqualify a Member of Parliament from standing for re-election for five years if he resigns his seat.

There are many important areas in the Constitution which should be amended, such as the restoration of democratic freedoms and human rights of Malaysians, but the Mahathir government could only think to seek a new mandate from the electorate over policy questions or important political principles.

Another major amendment which has passed both Houses of Parliament is the Elections Amendment Bill, which change the system of counting on polling day, from a centralised counting centre in a parliamentary constituency to counting in the respective polling centres.

The greatest objection to this change in the election law is that it was made on the directive of the government, and without any prior consultation or discussion with the Opposition parties, demonstrating that the Election Commission is not respected by the Barisan Nasional government as an independent body entrusted with the constitutional responsibility of conducting free, fair, clean and honest general elections.

For this reason, although both the Constitution Amendment Bill and the Election Amendment Bill have passed both Houses of Parliament, I appeal to the Yang di Pertuan Agong to invoke his new constitutional powers to refuse to give his Royal Consent to both these Bills, and remit them back to the Dewan Rakyat for reconsideration.

Such an action by the Yang di Pertuan Agong will be a particularly salutary reminder to the Government to pay special regard to the democratic spirit and the principles of Rukunegara before any amendment is made to the Constitution.