DAP calls on the people of Sarawak to play a leading role in a great and historic movement for political change in Malaysia for freedom, justice and unity

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Kuching DAP Anniversary Dinner held in Kuching on Monday, 2.7.90

DAP calls on the people of Sarawak to play a leading role in a great and historic movement for political change in Malaysia for freedom, justice and unity.

Yesterday, East and West Germany took the historic step of establishing an economic union and erased their border controls, ending East Germany’s sovereignty and marking the most important development towards a single Germany. In six months’ time, a single German nation will be created by a political treaty preceded by a common election.

A few months ago, the very idea of German unification, not only for 1990 but for the next generation, would have been unthinkable. But in a matter of a few months, what was unthinkable and unimaginable, had not only become thinkable and possible, but unstoppable!

Malaysians are also at the threshold of such great political changes in the next general elections, for what was unthinkable an impossible for the past three decades have now become thinkable and possible in the next general elections.

In the previous seven general elections held in Malaysia in the past 33 years, the most the people could do was to vote in a small group of Opposition MPs to act as a check on the excesses and abuses of power by the Barisan Nasional.

The DAP won 24 Parliamentary seats in the 1986 general elections, which is the best electoral achievement not only for the DAP, but for any Opposition party, in Malaysia’s electoral history. However, the 24 DAP MPs could not act as a real check on Barisan Nasional excesses and abuses of power, because we do not even constitute one-sixth of the Parliamentary seats.

A real check on government excesses and abuses of power will be the denial of the two-thirds majority to the Barisan Nasional government.

This time, the scenario is completely different, and this explains for the hesitancy and indecevisiveness of Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed in deciding when to call for general elections.

Based on the 1986 general elections results, if in the next general elections, 12 per cent of the voters who voted for Barisan Nasional support the Opposition, Dr. Mahathir would lose two-third majority in Parliament. If there is 20 per cent swing in the next general elections, then there is possibility that Dr. Mahathir would become the new Parliamentary Opposition Leader, and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah become the fifth Prime Minister in Malaysia.

Whether the next general elections will see a 12 per cent swing to deprive the Barisan Nasional government of its two-third majority or a 20 per cent swing to topple the government of Dr. Mahathir will have to be decided by the voters. The important difference is that in all the previous seven general elections in the past 33 years, such possibilities were unthinkable.

But today, like the unification of Germany, the possibility of denying Dr. Mahathir two-thirds majority and even toppling him from power, is possible and achievable.

It is our challenge to make what was unthinkable in Malaysian politics in the past 33 years thinkable, possible and unstoppable in the next general elections.

The greatest issues before all Malaysians in the next general elections are to save democracy, restore human rights, establish socio-economic justice and build a genuinely united Malaysian nation.

In this new Malysian political order, the legitimate aspirations of the people in Sarawak and Sabah should be given full respect and recognition. For this reason, the DAP is committed to a new Malaysian order where Sarawakian and Sabahan interests are given recognition as through the following principles and measures:

1. Raising the oil and gas royalty for the states from 5% to 10%;

2. Prompt sealing of the First Trunk Road System and the Pan Borneo Highway linking Sarawak and Sabah within a period of five to ten years;

3. Establishment of a complete and full university in Sarawak and in Sabah;

4. A second airline for Sabah and Sarawak or a total overhaul of MAS to improve its service in Sarawak and Sabah;

5. Speed-up of development in all sectors in Sarawak and Sabah;

6. Eradication of poverty among the rural poor in Sarawak and Sabah; and

7. Special attention and respect to be given to the unique political, social and historical background of Sarawak and Sabah when formulating national policies.