Dr. Mahathir should consult with the Opposition on the details of the Commonwealth observer mission for the next general elections

By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 22nd June 1990:

Dr. Mahathir should consult with the Opposition on the details of the Commonwealth observer mission for the next general elections

DAP welcomes the announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, about the government’s decision to invite a Commonwealth observer mission for the next general elections, subject to the government of the Opposition.

The Kuala Lumpur CHOGM in October 1989 set up a high-level Commonwealth Study Group headed by Dr. Mahathir as Prime Minister of the host country, to examine how the Commonwealth could help strengthen democracy in the Commonwealth countries by reinforcing their election and other constitutional processes through sending observer missions during general elections.

Ever since then, the DAP has made the invitation for a Commonwealth observer mission to the next general elections in Malaysia one of our main demands, both inside and outside Parliament.

For instance, at the Human Rights Seminar organised by the DAP Council on Human Rights at Hotel Merlin, Kuala Lumpur, on 19th November 1989, I publicly called for Malaysia to ‘set an example and invite all the Commonwealth countries to send an observer mission for our next general elections to ensure that the election and other processes at our general elections are genuinely democratic.”

The Prime Minister should consult all Opposition parties about the details of the Commonwealth observer mission, with regard to the membership as well as the programmed of the mission. This is because we do not want problems to emerge in the future of members of the Commonwealth observer mission are selected on the basis of their one-sided bias towards the Barisan Nasional Government.

The Commonwealth observer should not and cannot be regarded as the sole observer and monitoring body for the general elections. The six-man Election Watch, comprising eminent and distinguished Malaysians, is as important as ever to ensure that the next general elections is fair, just, clean and honest.

The Commonwealth observer mission cannot have a monopoly of observer role in the next general elections. In fact, what we want is not a monopoly but a multiplicity of observer missions or groups, whether locally or from overseas, to monitor the next general elections. Apart from the Commonwealth observer mission, the DAP will also welcome other foreign observer missions constituted by other international organizations concerned about democracy.