by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Monday, 30th May 1994:
Mahathir should not misread the meaning of the Shahbandar Raya by-election result which is no great victory for Barisan Nasional, but a setback because of the silent protest by the majority of the voters
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, should not misread the meaning of the Shahbandar Raya by-election result in Selangor, which is no great victory for Barisan Nasional, but a setback because of the silent protest by the majority of the voters.
For the first time in Malaysian by-election and even general elections history, the Shahbandar Raya by-election voter turn-out is the lowest on record, registering only 48.25 per cent of the voters who bothered to cast their votes on Saturday.
The overwhelming majority of the Shahbandar Raya voters stayed away from the ballot in protest, and they have many reasons to protest, including the following:
• The failure of the MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu to give a full and satisfactory accounting for the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal and the inability of the Anti-Corruption Agency to date to take action against Samy Vellu;
• The failure of the police to take action against certain MIC leaders, including State Assemblymen, who had resorted to criminal actions as assault against MAIKA shareholders and con¬cerned Malaysians who wanted a full accounting of the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal. Datuk T.M. Thurai was one of these MIC leaders, and no police action had been taken against him until his sudden death on March 30; and
• The failure of the Barisan Nasional and MIC to explain the real cause of death of Datuk T.M. Thurai.
Barisan Nasional leaders conveniently overlooked the fact that the majority of the Shahbandar Raya voters stayed away from the by-election in silent protest, but focussed on Barisan Nasional’s 10,000-vote majority in the by-election as compared by the 2,957-vote majority in the 1990 general elections.
In 1990 general elections, the Barisan Nasional had to contest against the Gagasan Rakyat candidate, while in the by-¬election, the Barisan Nasional candidate faced two very weak independent candidates.
The so-called 10,000-vote majority is not significant at all when compared to the fact that the Barisan Nasional Candidate, S. S. Rajagopal, could only secure 13,909 votes – 552 votes more than in the 1990 general elections – although the total electorate had increased by 6,483 votes in the last three years.