Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at his second Sabah state general elections ceramah in Sandakan on Friday, 13th July 1990 at 9 p.m.
If Sabahans want to save PBS Government from the nine-year cycle of Sabah State Government and from falling in 19694, then they must vote for DAP Assemblymen on July 17 to check its excesses, abuses of power and corruption
Some businessmen in Sabah have told me that the PBS will definitely form the next Sabah state government after the general elections on July 16 and 17, but they believe that the PBS Government would be thrown out in the general elections after, and would be replaced by a USNO Government.
If these businessmen are right, then it will give credence to the theory of the nine-year cycle of the rise and fall of Sabah State Government. Tun Mustapha’s USNO ruled from 1967 and was toppled nine years later in 1976 by Berjaya. The Harris Salleh government of Berjaya was itself toppled nine years later in 1985 by PBS.
By this nine-year cycle theory, Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s PBS Government has still a life-span of another four years until 1994, when the next general elections after the present one might be held, before its ‘mandate’ to rule expires.
If the people of Sabah want to save the PBS Government from the nine-year cycle theory of the rise and fall of Sabah state governments and from falling in 1994, then they must vote for DAP Assemblymen to check its excesses, abuses power and corruption, so that the people would not become so disenchanted with the PBS Government that their only desire in 1994 is to get rid of the PBS Government, as happened to USNO in 1976 and to Berjaya in 1985!
If the people of Sabah are really concerned about the ‘larger situation, they have no choice but to vote the DAP on July 17
During the current election campaign, the PBS had been spreading the line that although the voters may not be happy with individual PBS Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Assemblymen or candidates, and are in full support of the DAP’s objectives, principles and political struggle, they should nevertheless vote for the PBS candidates for the sake of the ‘larger situation’.
In fact, the PBS Deputy President, Yong Teck Lee, had openly said in some PBS ceramahs that the voters could vote for the DAP in the Parliamentary elections, but definitely not for the Sabah state general elections, because of the ‘larger situation’.
This line of reasoning sounds quite persuasive on surface. However, on deeper scrutiny, it will be found that it is not only misleading, but is baseless and unfounded.
In actual fact, if the people of Sabah are concerned about the ‘larger situation;, then they should solidly vote for the DAP to ensure that several DAP Assemblymen are elected in the Sabah general elections on July 17. This is the subject I want to address tonight, to explain why for the sake of the ‘larger situation’, the people of Sandakan should vote for the DAP candidates on July 17.
Now what is this ‘larger situation’ that the PBS leaders and propagandists talk about, but have refused to define or spell out.
The ‘larger situation’ means that the PBS Government must not be allowed to fall, because firstly, the other alternative like a USNO Government or Berjaya Government is completely unacceptable because of their past record; secondly, because a PBS Government is more dependable than a USNO or Berjaya Government to promote and protect the constitutional rights and status of Sabahans which involve dealings with the Barisan Nasional Federal Government.
It is this theory of the ‘larger situation’ which insists that although the people of Sabah might be disappointed with the PBS Government in the past five years because of its many broken promises and pledges, the increasingly rampant corruption, abuse of power and various scandals in the State, as well as unhappiness with individual Minister, Deputy Minister, Assemblyman or candidate, the people should put aside and overlook all these reservations and discontents and for the sake of the ‘larger situation’, vote for the PBS candidates, regardless of whether they are Tom, Dick or Harry.
But this ‘larger situation’ is a false conception invented by the PBS.
In the first place, in the general elections on July 16 and 17, the PBS is not losing power. The DAP has no doubt that after the polls on July 16 and 17, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan will continue as the Sabah Chief Minister.
It is in the better and higher interest of the people of Sabah that Sabah should elect 30 PBS Assemblymen and 4 DAP Assemblymen instead of all 34 PBS Assemblymen
All the PBS leaders, ever since the dissolution of the State Assembly at the end of May, had publicly expressed their supreme confidence of being returned to power with well over 30 seats. Only yesterday, the PBS President, Datuk Joseph Pairin said in Sandakan that the PBS was sure of securing its two-third majority in the Sabah Assembly in the general elections.
This means that as far as the PBS leadership is concerned, the question in the general elections is not whether they are going to be returned to power, but how big a two-thirds majority they are going to get, or how many seats above the two-thirds majority of 32 seats out of the 48 seats.
The PBS leaders are so confident that Yong Teck Lee has publicly declared that Berjaya would not win a single seat although it contested all the 48 seats.
In the general elections next week therefore, the question of USNO Government or Berjaya Government replacing the PBS Government does not arise at all, although this question will become a crucial one in the general elections after, say in 1994!
Going by the claims of the PBS leaders, and taking a conservative position, let us assume that PBS could win 34 State Assembly seats.
I will like to explain and stress that it is in the better and higher interest of the people of Sabah that they should elect 30 PBS Assemblymen and four DAP Assemblymen, then to elect all 34 PBS Assemblymen. I will in fact go one step further and contend that for the sake of the ‘larger situation’, the people of Sabah must ensure that the DAP makes a breakthrough in Sabah state politics and shoot several ‘rockets’ into the Sabah State Assembly.
The PBS Government will still have two-thirds majority if it wins 30 Assembly seats and the DAP wins four, because under the Sabah Constitution, the Government could nominate six Assemblymen. This will mean that the PBS Government would have 36 Assemblymen out of a total of 54 – exactly a two-thirds majority.
Once the PRS Government gets a two-thirds majority in the present general elections, it would have entered into its most dangerous phase which could lead to its downfall in 1994.
This was what happened to the previous USNO and Berjaya governments – whose worse periods of misgovernment took place after their second general elections. Power then got into their head, and there was no way to check or restrain their misgovernment, corruption and abuses of power except to topple them. They were the best examples of Lord Acton’s maxim, ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.
If there is no check or restraint on the PBS Government in its second term of office, the corruption, excesses and abuses of power that have caused so much pain and distress to PBS supporters in the past five years would be ‘small fish’ compared to what could happen after July 17.
The only force that could provide such a check and restraint to ensure that the PBS Government does not degenerate and repeat the history of USNO and Berjaya Governments is the DAP, and this could only be done if the DAP have Assemblymen in the Sabah State Assembly.
The first reason therefore why for the sake of the ‘larger situation’ the people of Sabah should vote for the DAP candidates on July 17 is to save the PBS Government from the nine-year cycle and its downfall in 1994, by constantly reminding the PBS Government in the Sabah State Assembly not to stray away from the straight and narrow path of good, honest, fair and responsible Government.
The second reason is that with the presence of the DAP Assemblymen, the Sabah State Assembly and Sabah Government would be able to more effectively and diligently protect and promote the constitutional rights and interests of the people of Sabah. Datuk Joseph Pairin would not be allowed to forget about the PBS election promises for five years at a stretch, as on the Labuan issue, the illegal immigrants question, ISA detentions, gas and oil royalties, etc. for there would be DAP Assemblymen to demand progress reports on these questions in the Sabah Assembly every time it meets.
The third reason is that the presence of the DAP in the Sabah State Assembly will not only provide backing to the PBS Government on constitutional rights and status of Sabahans arising from Federal-State relationship, the DAP would also play the even more important role to firm and prop up the PBS Government as well.
For instance, after the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir, issued a warning that the political parties in the Sabah general elections are ‘playing with fire’ in arousing anti-Federal sentiments, both Pairin and Datuk James Ongkili, the Parti Rakyat Sabah President, quickly backed down and announced that they would not talk about the Labuan issue anymore – although it was one of the highlights of their respective party manifestoes.
Both Pairin and Ongkili reacted as if they were naughty boys caught in the act of playing truant, and after being given a severe warning by the headmaster, both promised to be good and to behave themselves.
But is the demand that Labuan be returned to Sabah ‘playing with fire’? If Pairin and Ongkili now admit that to call for Labuan’s return to Sabah is ‘playing with fire’, then are they going to amend their party election manifestoes to delete the demand for Labuan’s return to Sabah?
DAP rejects any suggestion from any quarter, including the Prime Minister, that to demand the return of Labuan to Sabah is to ‘play with fire’. We also reject the contention that any espousal of the constitutional rights and status of Sabahans is ‘anti-federal’ or ‘anti-Malaysia’.
DAP to continue to demand for Labuan’s return to Sabah unless Mahathir amends the Constitution to make such a call seditious
How can Sabah’s demand for greater national recognition of the constitutional rights and status of Sabahans be ‘anti-federal’ when Sabah is an integral part of the Federation of Malaysia?
If Malaysia is a genuine parliamentary democracy, then there must be room for the people of Sabah to demand for governmental rearrangements or even Constitutional readjustments to give proper recognition to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Sabah with regard to their constitutional rights and status.
The only pre-condition is that such demands should be made and pursued within the Constitutional framework and within the parameters of parliamentary democracy, and not through any advocacy of unconstitutional or violent means of struggle.
National leaders of the Barisan Nasional should not use words like ‘anti-federal’ or ‘anti-Malaysia’ lightly or loosely, for this can only deepen the grievances of the people of Sabah that their loyalty to Malaysia is always suspect and under doubt.
As far as the DAP is concerned, the DAP will continue with our demand for the return of Labuan to Sabah unless Dr. Mahathir amends the Malaysian Constitution to make such a call a sedition offence.
Four Reasons why in the ‘Larger Situation’ the people of Sabah should vote for the DAP
The fourth reason why the people in Sabah should vote for the DAP in the interests of the ‘larger situation’ is that the presence of the DAP in the Sabah State Assembly will ensure that the rights and welfare of the people on subjects strictly falling within the jurisdiction of the State or local government could be championed and advocated by the DAP in the Sabah Assembly.
By voting for the Dap on July 17, therefore, the people of Sabah would achieve four objectives which they would not get if they vote for PBS or any other party’s candidates.
*To Save the PBS from its downfall after nine years’ rule in 1994;
*To Back and Support the PBS Government to more effectively protect and promote the constitutional rights and status of Sabahans;
*To Firm and Prop up the PBS Government in its dealings with the Barisan Nasional Federal Government on the constitutional rights and status of the people of Sabah; and
*To Defend and Promote the rights and welfare of the people of Sabah under the PBS Government.
In the past 12 months, there were unprecedented political changes all over the world, Malaysia is entering a new political era and great political changes are in store for the coming national parliamentary general elections.
The same applies to Sabah. I hope that on July 17, Sandakan can again lead Sabah in striking out in new political directions, which had always been the historic role of the people of Sandakan.
In 1967, during the first Sabah state general elections, the people of Sandakan voted out the incumbent Sabah Chief Minister, Peter Lo. In 1969, the people of Sandakan again threw their weight behind the Independent candidate, Chong Thian Vun, who would have won and become Sandakan Member of Parliament if the Sabah general elections had not been suspended because of the May 13 incident in Kuala Lumpur.
In 1975, the people of Sandakan led by Chong Thian Vun provided the most vital support to launch off the Berjaya movement to topple the USNO Government of Tun Mustapha. In 1978, the people of Sandakan again made history by electing Fung Ket Wing to become DAP’s first Sabah MP.
Let the people of Sandakan again write history on July 17 by voting DAP Assemblymen into the Sabah Assembly, creating a breakthrough not only for the DAP in Sabah state politics, but to save PBS Government from the nine-year cycle and fall in 1994.
If despite the DAP’s best efforts in the Sabah State Assembly, the PBS Government cannot be saved from falling in 1994, then with the DAP’s presence in the Sabah State Assembly, the people of Sabah as well as the DAP should seriously consider the options for 1994. If PBS Government must fall in 1994, why should it be replaced by a USNO Government and not by a DAP Government?