Ghafar Baba should not panic about the next general elections and calmly leave to the voters to decide his future and those of various political parties

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the meeting with officials of Kluang DAP branches held in Kluang, Johore on Saturday, 25th August 1990 at 3 pm.

Ghafar Baba should not panic about the next general elections and calmly leave to the voters to decide his future and those of various political parties

With the Gulf crisis, and the imminent threat of international recession when war erupts resulting in double-digit inflation in the country, the likelihood of general elections being held next month or early October has become very much stronger.

With the approach of the general elections, the Barisan Nasional leaders are also becoming more panicky, which have made them to say things they would not say in normal times.

A good example is the statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, in Petaling Jaya yesterday attacking the DAP for having made no contribution whatsoever to the national construction of the country, and his assertion that the country might as well not have such a political party.

It was only four months ago that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, paid tribute to the DAP leaders for their political role in a press interview, where he said that the Barisan Nasional would not have governed the country so well if not because of the contributions of the DAP leaders in their continuing criticisms.

As Ghafar Baba has always publicly regarded Dr. Mahathir as ‘all-knowing’ and ‘always right’, the Deputy Prime Minister must concede that his outburst against the DAP was completely baseless and unjustifiable, and the result of general election-jitters.

I would advise Ghafar Baba not to panic about the next general elections, and calmly leave to the voters to decide his future as well as the future of the political, parties in the country.

What Ghafar Baba should do is to set a good democratic example and declare that he would calmly accept the verdict of the voters, whether it be victory or defeat for himself or the Barisan Nasional?

Is Ghafar Baba prepared to make this public commitment, which is the test of whether he is a genuine democrat? Or is Ghafar a democrat so long as he can win elections but not when he is defeated?

The Opposition is prepared to accept the election results of the people, whether win or lose. Is Ghafar Baba and the Barisan Nasional parties prepared to make a similar commitment?

The commitment of the Barisan Nasional leaders to the demo¬cratic process is highly suspect, as recently, more and more Barisan Nasional leaders are using the May 13 threat to frighten and black-mail the voters.
Last week, even the usually-reticent, Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, also joined the bandwagon in Sungei Patani in trying to frighten the people with the May 13 threat.

I want to ask Ghafar Baba, whether he is prepared to publicly declare that he and the Barisan Nasional will democratically accept the verdict of the voters in the next -general elections, win or lose, and that they will not use the politics of fear and blackmail to frighten the people with threats of May 13?

Dr. Mahathir would not accept the NECC recommendations with or without DAP participation.

With the ‘unconstructive’ DAP absent from the NECC, why is the Barisan Nasional Government not prepared to accept the NECC recom¬mendations? I would have thought that without the DAP
‘creating trouble in the NECC’, the Barisan Nasional Government should find it very much easier to make a commitment that it would accept all the recommendations of the NECC.

Yet, Dr. Mahathir has jumped on the DAP’s withdrawal from the NECC as an excuse why the Government would not accept the NECC recommendations. This is completely illogical. This is clear proof that with or without the DAP’s participation in the NECC, UMNO and Dr. Mahathir have no intention of accepting its recommendations.

As Dr. Mahathir never intended to take the NECC seriously, which explains for the low-level representation by UMNO and the refus¬al by the Government to release all available socio-economic data to NECC members, the DAP’s decision to withdraw from the NECC was correct and prescient.