By DAP MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Padang Kota, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Friday, 26th October 1990:
DAP will co-operate with the new Penang State Government where it is in the interest of the people of Penang
With the swearing-in of Dr. Koh Tsu Koon as Penang Chief Minister and Dr. Ibrahim Saad as Penang Deputy Chief Minister, and the other four UMNO and three Gerakan Executive Councilors, a new Penang state government has been formed.
DAP will co-operate with the new Penang State Government where it is in the interest of the people of Penang. However, where the Penang State Government takes actions or makes decisions which are against the interest of the people of Penang, the DAP will be forth-right and firm in our opposition and even condemnation.
The first question that arises from the formation of the new Penang State Government is what is the constitutional basis for the appointment of a Deputy Chief Minister in Penang.
If there is to be a Penang Deputy Chief Minister, then the Penang State Constitution should be amended first. The DAP is prepared to consider supporting an amendment to the Penang State Constitution to create a Deputy Chief Minister’s post, but the creation of a Deputy Chief Minister’s post must be done properly and constitutionally.
It is true that in 1969, a Deputy Chief Minister was appointed in Penang, but its legality and constitutionality was openly challenged. The very fact that after the 1974 general elections, no Deputy Chief Minister was appointed is an admission and concession that such an appointment of a Deputy Chief Minister is improper and unconstitutional without an amendment to the Penang State Constitution.
The position of the Deputy Prime Minister cannot be used as a precedent here as it has become a constitutional convention for over 30 years, given recognition in specific annual budgetary allocations for the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
Yesterday, Penang UMNO chief, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, warned the DAP to stop trying to persuade the Gerakan to join hands in forming the State Government, and accused the DAP of making an insensitive attempt to form an entirely Chinese State Government which he said had angered the Malays in Penang.
Challenge to Anwar Ibrahim to prove that DAP wants to set up an entirely Chinese State Government, failing which he should resign as UMNO Vice President and Cabinet Minister
During the 1990 elections campaign, Anwar Ibrahim was one of top UMNO leaders who had blatantly resorted to communal and extremist appeals and tactics, while the DAP and GAGASAN RAKYAT had based its campaign on a multi-racial and Malaysian basis.
We have ample proof of the communal and extremist tactics and appeals made by Anwar Ibrahim in the elections campaign which made me feel sorry for him and for Malaysia.
I am very sad and shocked that even after the general elections, Anwar Ibrahim is still trying to stir up communal sentiments.
At the incitements of the Gerakan Penang State Chairman, Datuk Tan Ohim Hwa, he accused the DAP of wanting to set up an entirely Chinese State Government in Penang.
I challenge Anwar Ibrahim to prove that the DAP wants to set up an entirely Chinese State Government in Penang, and if he is unable to do so, then he should resign as UMNO National Vice President and Cabinet Minister!
The way that Anwar Ibrahim is talking these few days reminds me of UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Najib Tun Razak, in 1987, playing on Malay communal sentiments until the Operation Lalang mass detentions under the Internal Security Act of October 1987.
What is shocking is that Anwar Ibrahim is making such a communal pitch with the support and even encouragement of the Gerakan.
The DAP never intended to form a completely Chinese State Government in Penang,. It would be a multi-racial government. We believe that if the Penang Gerakan accepts the offer of the DAP to form a Penang State Government which reflects and fulfills the wishes of the people of Penang, then the basis would have been created for the formation of an even more multi-racial State Government in Penang than the present one, with all communities represented in the State Government, namely Chinese, Malays and Indians.