Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang DAP Hqrs at Kinta Lane, Penang on Saturday, July 24, 1993 at 11.30 a.m.
Penang DAP calls on the people of Penang to “Be A Voter For Tanjung 3” as the next 32 days are the last chance for them) to register as voters before the next general elections which should be held next year
Penang DAP has launched a campaign to call on the people of Penang to “Be A Voter For Tanjung 3” as the next 32 days are the last chance for them to register as voters before the next general elections which should be held next year.
Penang DAP has formed two committees in Penang State to spearhead this campaign, the island headed by DAP Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Sdr. Cheah Teik Hoe and Seberang Prai headed by DAP Assemblyman for Bagan Jermal, Sdr. Phee Boon Poh.
This ‘Be A Voter for Tanjung 3′ campaign will include poster, leaflet and ceramah campaigns in the Penang State. During the next 32 days, Penang DAP State leaders will be visiting the various constituencies and branches to monitor the progress of the campaign. I am also drawing up a schedule to visit, the various constituencies and branches in the last three weeks of the voters’ registration exercise.
In the 1990 general elections, the DAP narrowly missed the opportunity to capture the Penang State Government by three seats, namely:
Kebun Bunga – 84 votes
Tanjong Bunga 1,012 votes
Sungai Pinang 1,698 votes
This means that if 1,398 voters had decided in the 1990 general elections to vote for the DAP instead of Barisan Nasional in these three constituencies, the DAP would have today formed the Penang State Government.
Alternatively, if at least 3,000 of the Malaysians, particular youths, in these three constituencies who supported the DAP in the last general elections but could not cast their vote as they had not registered as voter, had been able to exercise their right to vote, DAP would be in power in Penang today.
I estimate that there are at 80,000 to 100,000 eligible voters in Penang who have not registered as voters, which means that they could not exercise the right to vote in the next general elections next year.
It is very sad that in every general elections, we see multitudes of youths who flocked to the DAP to support the DAP cause, but, who are so frustrated on polling day because they could not cast their vote as they had not registered as a voter in the previous voters’ registration campaign.
Unlike in the past, the Penang DAP cannot help the eligible voter’s to directly register as voters, as the Election Commission has refused to give Penang DAP the registration forms.
Suspension of Penang Port Commission ferry fares in-creases an expression of people’s power
What we seek to achieve in our campaign is to create a people’s consciousness movement about the importance of this voters’ registration exercise, as it is the last before the next general elections, and the need for the people to get themselves registered as voters however inconvenient it might be, and to get their friends, neighbours and work-mates to register themselves as voters.
The right to vote is an important fundamental right of a citizen and it must be cherished,, for it is the right to protect our fundamental rights. It is the votes which give the people the best, way to express ‘people’s power’.
The suspension in the increase of the Penang Port Commission ferry fares scheduled to be introduced from August 1 is a good example of such ‘people’s power’. The Penang DAP MPs and Assemblymen were the most vocal, in Parliament and the Penang State Assembly, in expressing their opposition to the increase in Penang ferry fares as it will affect the low-income people most. It is precisely because the Barisan Nasional government is fully aware of the public support the Penang DAP commands that it had to give consideration to the views and stands of the Penang DAP.
DAP calls on the Penang Election Commission Office to instal a hot-line from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day for the people to check their voter registration
The Election Commission’s voter registration system is most unsatisfactory, as in every general elections, there would be numerous complaints by voters that their names had disappeared from their traditional voting areas.
The invariable response of the Election Commission is that this is the fault of the voters because they should have taken the trouble to check their name on the electoral roll every year there is a voters’ registration and revision exercise.
This time, the Election Commission has reduced the registration centres in each parliamentary constituency from the past practice of over 20 centres to less than ten centres. This means that it is even more inconvenient and impossible for the people to check their voter’s registration, as many of these centres are not manned at all.
During the general elections, the Election Commission would instal a hot-line with several telephone numbers where a voter could ring up to check his voter’s registration. Penang DAP calls on the Election Commission to instal such a ‘hot-line’ every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the next 32 days of the voters’ registration campaign-to facilitate the public checking their voter registration.
DAP to lodge formal protests to the Election Commission against unfair and undemocratic redelineation of electoral constituencies
The DAP will lodge formal protests to the Election Commission against the unfair and undemocratic redelineation of the electoral constituencies in the latest draft proposal made public yesterday.
The first DAP Penang objection is that the Election Commission should have proposed an increase of two additional Parliamentary and six additional State Assembly seats in its review of the electoral constituencies in Penang – as it has the constitutional power to do so.
Secondly, the unfair distribution of electoral seats between the Penang Island and Seberang Prai. Penang island, with 297,403 voters which is 53 per cent of the Penang State electorate, is again given five Parliamentary and 15 State Assembly seats as compared to the six Parliamentary and 18 State Assembly seats for Seberang Prai.
Thirdly, the unfair and undemocratic rural weightage given for the Penang state assembly seats with regard to the disparity in the electorate between urban and rural constituencies. Although the rural weightage for the Penang State Assembly seats have been reduced from 150 per cent in last year’s first proposal by the Election Commission, it is still very high at 121 per cent.
As Penang is the most urbanised state in the country, it should have the lowest rural weightage in the country. In Perlis, for instance, which is definitely very ‘rural’ compared to Penang, the rural weightage is only 24 per cent. At most, the rural weightage in Penang should not exceed 50 per cent.
With a rural weightage of 121 per cent, Penang would be in the comparable position as Trengganu (128 per cent), Negri Sembilan, (135 per cent) and Johore (150 per cent) which have huge rural hinterlands. This is most unfair and undemocratic.