Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Prai by-election ceramah at Taman Kurau, Prai on Saturday, 20th July 1991 at 9 p.m.
DAP calls on the 14,000 voters of Prai to pioneer the ‘Spirit of Tanjung 3’ in the by-election to set the stage for political change in the next general elections
Although the Prai by-election on July 27 concerns only one seat, it is one of the most important by-elections in Malaysian political history, and this is why the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, has also come to Prai to campaign today although he seldom appears during by-election.
It cannot be that V. Muthusamy, the Barisan Nasional candidate, is very important. In actual fact, Barisan Nasional leaders all moan in private that the MIC President, Datuk Samy Vellu, could not select a worse candidate. They all admit that man-to-man, in terms of personal qualities, commitment and record, Muthusamy is just no match to Karpal.
It is unthinkable that Dr. Mahathir will specially come to Prai just to campaign for such a Barisan Nasional candidate.
Prai by-election is not a battle between Karpal Singh and V. Muthusamy, but between Karpal Singh and Dr. Mahathir
The first reason Dr. Mahathir has come to Prai is something very personal. He wants Karpal to lose in Prai, because Dr. Mahathir regards Karpal as one of the DAP leaders he would like to eliminate politically.
Mahathir has therefore come to Prai not to help Muthusamy win – for he couldn’t care less whether Muthusamy wins or loses – but to defeat Karpal.
Mahathir sees the Prai by-election as a Mahathir versus Karpal Singh fight.
The people of Prai has the opportunity to decide whether on July 27, they want to help Mahathir fulfil his wish to see the elimination and defeat of Karpal Singh, or whether they are going to give endorsement to Karpal Singh based on his political record for the past two decades, and tell Dr. Mahathir that he was wrong and being too personal in wanting to finish off Karpal in Prai.
Karpal’s defeat in Prai will also be my personal defeat too
There is a second reason why Dr. Mahathir has become to Prai. He regards Karpal’s defeat as also delivering a defeat to me. I accept the position. If Karpal is defeated in Prai on July 27, I will regard it as my personal defeat.
This is also a decision for the 14,000 voters on polling day.
The third reason why Dr. Mahathir rates such importance to Prai is because Prai will be regarded as forerunner of the DAP’s Tanjung 3 Battle for the next general elections.
The DAP failed in our Tanjung 2 project to capture the Penang State Government in the last general elections. The DAP is prepared to fight the Tanjung 3 battle in the next general elections.
Although the Prai by-election has nothing to do with the Battle of Tanjung 3, the decision of the people of Prai on July 27 will be regarded as a prelude to the Battle for Tanjung 3.
For this reason, I call on the 14,000 voters of Prai to pioneer the ‘Spirit of Tanjung 3’ in the by-election to set the stage for political change in Penang in the next general elections.
When future history is written, let it be recorded that the people of Prai demonstrated the spirit and flew the standard of Tanjung 3 well before the next genera; elections.
There is a fourth reason for Dr. Mahathir’s coming to Prai. The DAP has made the Prai by-election the battle for political integrity, morality, responsibility and accountability.
The very fact that there is a by-election in Prai is because the DAP is serious about political integrity, morality, responsibility and accountability.
The Barisan Nasional leaders were shocked that the DAP Central Executive Committee accepted S. Asamaley’s resignation, for the very idea that an elected representative and political leader must accept personal responsibility for his actions is utterly alien to the Barisan Nasional leadership.
Only on Thursday, Dr. Mahathir was arguing in Parliament a to why the Kedah Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Osman Aroff, need not be held responsible and accountable for the $71 million Masjid Tanah ammunition depot scandal, although Tan Sri Osman was the director and shareholder of the company responsible for the scandal.
If the DAP wins in Prai, it would mean that the people of Malaysia now understand and accept that political leaders are required to have high political integrity, morality, responsibility and accountability.
This would mean that Tan Sri Osman Aroff may have to resign not only as Kedah Mentri Besar, but also from his position as Kedah Assemblyman, creating a by-election in the state seat of Jitra, which is one of the two State Assembly seats in Dr. Mahathir’s Kubang Pasir parliamentary seat.
Sixth Malaysia Plan begins with ten new financial scandals
The last thing the Barisan Nasional leadership wants is an increasingly critical electorate which demands high standards of political integrity, morality, responsibility and accountability from the political leaders, especially those in government.
The Sixth Malaysia Plan and the National Development Policy is starting with ten new financial scandals which I raised in Parliament last week.
If Barisan Nasional leaders have to resign because of involvement in political, financial and moral scandals, then there will be frequent Parliamentary and State Assembly by-elections in the country for the next ten years!
This is why Dr. Mahathir is doing his utmost to ensure that Prai does not set a new precedent and a new standard of political integrity, morality, responsibility and accountability.
Dr. Mahathir would want the DAP to lose in Prai to be able to tell the whole country that nobody is bothered about political integrity, morality, responsibility and accountability.