By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, October 20, 1991:
If the youths in last year’s general elections had all registered as voters, the Barisan Nasional would have definitely lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament
It is always sad and heart-breaking in every general elections to have large numbers of youths who come forward to help the DAP and the Opposition in the political campaign for democracy, freedom and justice, but who could not do the most important thing in a general elections – to cast his or her vote on polling day.
These youths were eligible to be voters as they have reached the qualifying age of 21 years, but they had not registered themselves as voters and therefore could not cast their vote in the general elections.
Many asked whether they could register immediately as voters during the general elections to enable them to vote on polling day, but his is not possible under the Malaysian electoral system.
There is no doubt that Malaysian politics would be very different today if all the youths or the overwhelming majority of them had registered themselves to qualify to vote on polling day in the general elections last year.
This is because the Barisan Nasional government would definitely have lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament, as despite the dirtiest and most undemocratic election campaign in its use of the politics of race, religion, money and intimidation, the Barisan Nasional kept its two-thirds majority by a razor-edged margin of 8,685 votes in eight Parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia.
These eight Parliamentary seats are and the narrow margin victory won by the Barisan Nasional are Seremban (77 votes), Jelebu (395 votes), Bruas (763 votes), Parit Buntar (846 votes), Sungei Siput (863 votes), Besut (994 votes), Nibong Tebal (1,636 votes) and Teluk Intan (2,111 votes).
If all the eligible youths in these constituencies had registered themselves as voters and had cast their vote for democracy, freedom and justice, then Malaysia would have a completely different political scenario where the government minus its two-thirds parliamentary majority would have to be more responsive, responsible and accountable to the needs and aspirations of the Malaysian people and not be so undemocratic.
It is vital and imperative, not only for the healthy growth of parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, but to defend, promote and advance our political, economic, educational, cultural and citizenship rights that every youth who is over 21 years should register themselves as a voter in the 42-day voters registration exercise beginning next week.
Every young Malaysian must understand that if he does not register as a voter, he is not only losing the right to vote, but also forfeiting the right to determine the his own future and the destiny of the nation.