Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at a Penang DAP political discussion held at Bukit Mertajam DAP Branch premises on Thursday, 18th February 1993 at 8 p.m.
Setback for Mahathir’s plan to hold next general elections under new constituency redelineation by more than six months as a result of DAP’s latest victory without battle’ to defend democratic and constitutional rights of Malaysians
In the past few days, the Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Harun Din as well as Barisan Nasional leaders had been doing their utmost to convince the people that the unprecedented cancellation of the Election Commission’s exercise to review and redelineate parliamentary and state assembly constituencies had nothing to do with the DAP legal action against the Election Commission.
This had been a futile exercise as nobody would believe that the Election Commission would have cancelled the constituency review and redelineation exercise if the DAP had not filed legal action taking the Election Commission to court for illegal and unconstitutional redelineation of the constituencies.
The DAP’s great and historic victory is the latest in the DAP’s long record of struggle and sacrifice to defend and uphold the democratic and constitutional rights of Malaysians.
No Gerakan or MCA leader would have dared to oppose or criticize the Election Commission for violating the democratic and constitutional rights of the people
This is another illustration that DAP has no equal in the Malaysian political arena as no other political party could even approach the DAP’s record in our struggle and sacrifice to uphold the democratic and constitutional rights of Malaysians.
In the past four months, no Gerakan or MCA leader had dared to say a single word of opposition or criticism of the Election Commission for violating the democratic and constitutional rights of Malaysians in its review and redelineation exercise. This is because they did not have the ‘approval’ of UMNO leadership to ‘speak up’ against the Election.
It is open secret that Gerkaan and MCA leaders had to depend on UMNO’s Malay votes to be elected into Parliament and the various State Assemblies, and this is why they are so subvervient to UMNO. It is pathetic therefore to see comic attempts by certain Gerakan and MCA leaders recently to picture themselves as great defenders of the democratic and constitutional rights of Malaysians.
When it comes to defending the democratic and constitutional rights of Malaysians, Gerakan and MCA leaders could only challenge the DAP to go to court, but they would not dare to take the issue to court themselves.
This was why Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, challenged the DAP to take the Election Commission to court on the redelineation exercise, but when we have done it and won a ‘victory without battle’, there is complete silence from the Penang Chief Minister.
The Dap’s ‘victory without battle’ forcing the cancellation of the constituency review and redelineation exercise has also caused the setback by more than six months of the plan by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to hold the next general elections with new Parliamentary and State Assembly constituencies.
In fact, the reason the Election Commission committed its greatest political and constitutional blunder in history is to be traced to its attempt to complete the redelineation exercise in the shortest possible time to fulfill this objective.
The Election Commission was rushing to complete the entire constituency review and redelineation process by the third quarter of this year so that Dr. Mahathir will have the freedom and flexibility to call the next general elections under new constituency redelineation as early as the last general elections under new constituency redelineation as early as the last quarter of this year.
Although Mahathir’s plan to hold the next general elections under new constituency conditions had been set back for more than six months, this would not rule out the possibility of early general elections either at the end of this year or early next year.
All it means is that if Mahathir feels compelled by political reasons to hold early general elections at the end of the year and early next year, the present parliamentary and state assembly constituencies will have to be used.
Invitation to Koh Tsu Koon for a joint Penang State Assembly demand for two additional Parliamentary and six State Assembly seats for Penang under new redelineation
After DAP’s victory without battle’ against the Election Commission, forcing the cancellation of the constituency redelineation exercise, the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, said that the Penang State Government would seek an extra parliamentary and three additional state assembly from the Election Commission.
I am glad that Dr. Koh Tsu Koon is benefiting from the DAP’s insistence in the Penang State Assembly that Penang deserves increases of both Parliamentary and State Assembly representation.
In the past few months, the Gerakan leaders were competing with each other to say that the DAP was wrong and unreasonable and why the people of Penang should be happy that there was to be no increase of parliamentary seats for Penang state.
I will ask Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the State Executive Council to refer to my speech in the emergency sitting of the Penang State Assembly on November 2 last year, when history was made by the 13 DAP Assemblymen in denying two-thirds majority to the 1992 Penang State Constitution Amendment Bill to increase three State Assembly seats for Penang.
I had said in the Penang State Assembly on Nov.2 that “A fair redelineation for Penang would have been 13 parliamentary seats and 39 State Assembly seats” – which means an increase of two parliamentary and six state assembly seats.
Furthermore, both the increase of two parliamentary and six state assembly seats should be on the island of Penang, so as to reflect a higher electorate on the island.
If Dr. Koh Tsu Koon is prepared to put the interests of Penang above all other political and personal interests, then the DAP invite him and the Penang State Government to work together to produce a joint Penang State Assembly demand for two additional parliamentary and six additional state assembly seats for Penang.
I am prepared to meet Dr. Koh Tsu Koon immediately, if he is prepared to work together with the DAP for the interests of the people of Penang to get two additional Parliamentary and six State Assembly seats.
The people do not want Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to merely go on public record as asking for additional parliamentary and state assembly seats, without any political intention or will to secure Federal Government and Election Commission agreement.
The final test for a Chief Minister is whether he could deliver the goods – as in getting for Penang additional Parliamentary and State Assembly seats – and not just issuing a press statement on it.