Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Joint DAP-Semangat 46 Ceramah held at Port Dickson on Friday, 20th July 1990 at 9 p.m.
DAP calls for an emergency meeting of Parliament before next general elections to wipe out ‘money politics’ by fixing a limit to elections expenditures by political parties
I met the Commonwealth deputy secretary-general, Sir Anthony Siaguru and the Commonwealth Secretariat’s assistant director of international affairs, Dr. Neville Linton, in Parliament House today to discuss the proposed Commonwealth Observer Mission for the next general elections.
The DAP supports the invitation for a Commonwealth Observer Mission to ensure that the next general elections is ‘fair, free, clean and honest’, and the terms of reference of the Commonwealth Observer Mission should be wide and broad enough to enable it to play a meaningful role to monitor as to whether these four criteria had been met.
One of greatest blemishes in the general elections in Malaysia is the ‘politics of money’, where vast sums of money are used to buy votes and deny the voters the right to choose the candidate and party they wish.
Although the election laws limit the elections expenditure for a parliamentary candidate to $50,000 each and a State Assembly candidate to $30,000 each, these are all observed in the breach by every Barisan Nasional candidate. In fact, the legal limit to the elections expenditures permissible to a candidate probably represents 10 per cent, and sometimes, one per cent of what is actually spent by the Barisan Nasional candidates.
Only the Opposition candidates abide by the election laws on the legal limit to election expenditures!
Apart form the election expenditures by the individual candidates, the Barisan Nasional component parties also spent colossal sums of money during the general elections.
For the next general elections, for instance, we estimate that the UMNO Baru would be spending well in excess of $1 billion! This is why the UMNO Baru had to carry out the Renong exercise and to get involved in deals like the United Engineers Malaysia (UEM)’s North-South and Highway contract and the British arms deal.
If the next general elections is to be ‘free, fair, clean and honest’, then such wanton ‘money politics’ must be curbed if not eliminated altogether.
DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to summon an emergency meeting of Parliament to enact legislation to limit the election expenditures which political parties can spend during the general elections.
The general elections, if it is to be ‘free, fair, clean and honest’, should a contest of ideas, programmes and policies, and not a contest of money.