Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP or Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the ‘Towards Tanjung Two’ Dinner held at Lucky Restaurant at Butterworth on Thursday, 7th June 1990 at 8 p.m.
Keng Yaik was so unsure about the future of UMNO Baru and Gerakan after the Johore Bahru by-election in August 1988 that he tried to buy political insurance by reaching some secret arrangements with DAP and Semangat 46
For the first time in Malaysian electoral history since Merdeka 33 years ago, nobody can be certain what could be the real outcome of the next general elections.
In the previous seven general elections in 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1978, 1982 and 1986, it could be predicted with great certainty and accuracy well before and that the ruling parties will not only continue in power, but that their two-third parliamentary majority will also be retained. The only question is how many seats the Opposition can win, without seriously threatening the two-third majority lock-hold of the Barisan Nasional, and previously the Alliance, in Parliament.
For the first time in Malaysia, nobody could predict the outcome of next general elections
The outcome of the next general elections is however going to be anybody’s guess. It could on the one hand be a repetition of the previous seven general elections where the Opposition might gain more parliamentary seats without seriously threatening the two-third parliamentary majority of Barisan Nasional, let alone its power base in government.
On the other hand, the general elections could see the end of the Barisan Nasional monopoly of political power by losing its traditional two-third majority in Parliament. If there is a great wind of change, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed may even be toppled from power and become the new Leader of Opposition, with the Barisan Nasional taking its seats in the Opposition benches.
Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, had himself forecast at the Penang Gerakan Assembly on 20th May that PAS may win 25 Parliamentary seats in the next general elections.
This is a scenario where Dr. Mahathir and UMNO have lost power, for if PAS can win 25 Parliamentary seats, then Semangat 46 should be able to win about 45 parliamentary seats. This is because Semangat 46 would contest in more parliamentary seats than PAS in the next general elections. Dr. Mahathir and UMNO Baru would then be left with less than 20 Parliamentary seats!
In actual fact, Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership had long been haunted by the future political prospects not only of UMNO Baru also of Gerakan itself.
The worst period for Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership was after the Johore Bahru parliamentary by-election in August 1988, where Shahrir Samad, with the combined support of Semangat 46 and DAP, dealt Dr. Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional a resounding defeat.
On the basis of Johore Baru by-election result, Barisan Nasional would be left with only one Parliamentary seat in next general elections!
The Barisan Nasional, which won the Johore Bahru parliamentary constituency in the 1986 general elections with a majority of 2,235 votes, lost in the by-election with a shocking 12,613 votes. The 19,349 Barisan Nasional votes in Johore Bahru in the 1986 general elections fell to 10,968 votes, which represented a swing of 43.3 per cent.
If in the next general elections, there is a swing of 43.3 per cent of the votes from Barisan Nasional to the Opposition, the Barisan Nasional would only be able to secure only one Parliamentary seat, namely Kota Tinggi, now held by Datuk Musa Hitam. Even the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir would lose his Kubang Pasu seat with a 30 per cent swing, and Deputy Prime Minister Ghafar Baba lose his Jasin seat with a 34.5 per cent swing. Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, would lose his Permatang Pauh seat with a 29.1 per cent swing.
This was why the Johore Bahru by-election result created such gloom among the Barisan Nasional parties, for the entire Gerakan would have been wiped out without a single MP or Assemblyman left.
This was also why the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, sought by buy political insurance for himself and the Gerakan at that time by sending out feelers to reach some secret arrangement with the DAP and Semangat 46, should everything be lost to the UMNO and the Barisan Nasional in the next general elections.
Although the Ampang Jaya by-election victory of Barisan Nasional gave Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership some confidence in Dr. Mahathir, they were still very panicky. This was because although the Barisan Nasional won the Ampang Jaya by-election, an analysis of the Ampang Jaya by-election results showed that there was nothing for the Barisan Nasional to be very confident about its future prospects.
On the basis of Ampang Jaya by-election result, Barisan Nasional would be left with 14 Parliamentary seats
Although the Barisan Nasional won the Ampang Jaya by-election, it majority of over 30,000 votes in the 1986 general elections was slashed to 4,000 representing a swing of 35.6 per cent of voters against the Barisan Nasional.
If there is such a 35.6 per cent swing against the Barisan Nasional in the next general elections, the Barisan Nasional would be left with 14 parliamentary seats! This was a distinct improvement from the Johore Bahru by-election result, from one Parliamentary seat to 14 Parliamentary seat, but it could not be very comforting to Keng Yaik.
Two new factors then came into play, which stopped Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leadership from pursuing further his attempts to buy political insurance with the Opposition. The first factor was that the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir, was aware of the Gerakan’s goings-on. Secondly, the increasingly improved picture for the Barisan Nasional in the subsequent Barisan Nasional by-election victories, as in Parit Raja, Bentong and Tambatan.
I would not have mentioned Keng Yaik’s attempt to buy political insurance for the Gerakan after the Johore Bahru by-election if not for his most unethical, dishonest and immoral conduct in April, publicly concocting lies about the so-called DAP-PAS secret meeting in Jakarta, to create the impression that the DAP was so unprincipled that it would agree to the establishment of an Islamic State.
Keng Yaik had many dishonourable objectives for telling the lies about the DAP-PAS secret meeting in Jakarta, many of which I had mentioned previously. He had one other dishonourable objective which I want to reveal tonight.
This was to try to regain the confidence of Dr. Mahathir at the expense of Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik of MCA – in other words, competing for the fabours of Dr. Mahathir by attempting to put down Liong Sik.
Kim Sai faction in MCA accuses Liong Sik as having lost confidence of Dr. Mahathir on the ground that the Prime Minister knew that Liong Sik had two secret meetings with Tengku Razaleigh
The Johore Bahru by-election result in August 1988 was not only traumatic for Keng Yaik and the Gerakan, it also shook up Liong Sik and the MCA leadership. It was not only Keng Yaik who trie to buy political insurance for Gerakan in the fast-changing political scene, Liong Sik of MCA also did the same.
This was why in the recent preparatory battle in the power struggle between Liong Sik and Lee Kim Sai for the MCA presidency (which was suppressed by Dr. Mahathir in the last minute on the ground that general elections was around the corner), one of the issues which the Kim Sai faction used against Liong Sik was that the MCA President has lost the confidence of the Prime Minister. The reason was that Dr. Mahathir knew that Liong Sik had two secret meetings with Tengku Razaleigh to reach some secret understandings with Semangat 46 in the event of UMNO Baru losing power in the next general elections.
This story is not spread by outsiders, but by the Kim Sai faction in the MCA itself! I myself heard it from my sources from inside the MCA.
Keng Yaik wants to tell Mahathir that he is a dependable loyalist while Liong Sik is a dubious client.
These background demonstrate how volatile is the political scene today because of the uncertainty as to what could be the outcome of the next genera elections.
Keng Yaik told the lies about the secret DAP-PAS Jakarta meeting, and launched a ferocious attack on Semangat 46, to publicly prove his loyalty to Dr. Mahathir and to send a message to Dr. Mahathir that he is a dependable loyalist, while Liong Sik is a dubious client, and in the process, hope to outsmart Liong Sik and MCA in the eternal game of one-up-manship between the MCA and Gerakan for UMNO’s favours.
Even now, no one can be sure what the next general elections has in store for every political party. Dr. Mahathir himself is uncertain whether he could retain two-thirds majority in Parliament, or even lose power, in the next general elections.
This explains for a lot of the antics and lies of the Barisan Nasional leaders of late.