DAP proposes that Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah be the new Parliamentary Opposition Leader

Speech by DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Padang Kota, Lim Kit Siang, at a meeting of newly-elected Penang DAP MPs and Assemblymen in Penang on Monday, 22nd October 1990 at 6 p.m.

DAP proposes that Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah be the new Parliamentary Opposition Leader

In the 1990 general elections on Oct. 21, the DAP in Penang achieved the best results throughout the country, winning six of the 20 Parliamentary seats and 14 of the 44 State Assembly seats won by the DPA throughout the country.

In terms of the previous performance, we maintained the six DAP Parliamentary seats in Penang and bettered our previous number of 10 Assembly seats to 14.

However, the whole DAP in Penang, particularly the leaders, including all those who have won in the general elections, felt no joy or jubilation. On the contrary, they were surrounded by a thick blanket of despondency and gloom.

This is because although we made headway in Penang in increasing from the previous 10 Assembly seats to 14, the DAP was just three short of its Tanjung 2 objective to have a majority of the State Assembly seats to form the new government in Penang.

It was so near and yet so far. This is why during the election campaign period, I had urged the people of Penang to either vote for the entire DAP slate of 20 candidates or let us lose in all the 20 seats, so that there could be a clear-cut choice by the people for the future of Penang.

The greatest agony of my political life in the past 24 years

I share the feelings of the newly-elected DAP MPs and Assemblymen who could feel no joy in their victory. Since the full state and national results have come in, I myself have been very depressed, despondent and desolate at the election results, and my heart bleeds.

We have all tries so hard, and put every ounce of our energy, spirit and resources into this effort, not only to accomplish Tanjung 2 in Penang, but to being about meaningful political change throughout the country for the first time in Malaysian history. This is the greatest agony of my political life.

I have never felt so disappointed and discouraged in my 24 years of political struggle, not even in the 1982 general elections when the DAP suffered the greatest electoral debacle in party history.

This is why although I should have gone round Padang Kota and Tanjung this morning to thank the people for their great support for me in the Padang Kota state and Tanjong parliamentary elections, I have too heavy a heart to do so.

I ask for understanding from the people of Padang Kota and Tanjung for not making my rounds to thank them for their vote on Sunday – and in many cases, votes given at great personal inconvenience and discomfort, having to queue up for long hours, and in some cases, going from centre to centre for half a day to look for their voting station.

However, whatever the personal dispositions, the DAP as a political party must soldier on, because the party has political commitments to live up to and political ideals and principles to pursue. What happens to me is not important. This is a separate issue and a separate decision. The party as a party has no choice and alternative but to continue to lead and represent the people who had put their faith and trust in it.

Party leaders can come and go, but the party as a party must go on.

I have just spoken to Semangat 46 leader, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who told me that the Semangat 46 leaders are even more resolute to go in their political struggle, although they have suffered great and grievous setbacks outside Kelantan.

I have asked Tengku Razaleigh to become the Parliamentary Opposition Leader as the GAGASAN RAKYAT in Parliament has a total of 42 Parliamentary seats, make up of DAP’s 20, Semangat 46’s eight and PBS’s 14.