Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Tanjong 3 dinner at Sungai Merak, Nibong Tebal on Saturday, July 23, 1994 at 7 p.m
DAP has a modest membership and has never claimed to have 11,000 Malay members in Tanjong and Bukit Bendera in Penang
Early this week, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed led the entire Cabinet to Penang to give the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon a three-day boost in the face of the challenge mounted by the Penang DAP in Battle of Tanjong 3 in the next general elections.
The fact that the entire Cabinet had to fly to Penang to hold its weekly Wednesday meeting is not a sign of confidence in Tsu Koon but a clear indication of doubt on the part of Mahathir as to whether Tsu Koon fight off the DAP challenge.
For public consumption, Mahathir said that the Barisan Nasional will throw DAP Tanjong 3 Project ‘into the sea’. This, however, will have to be decided by the voters of Penang in the next general elections and not by Mahathir or Lim Keng Yaik.
What is of interest is the great play by Mahathir after the Cabinet meeting at Hotel Equatorial about ‘claims’ that 11,000 Malays in Penang had joined DAP, which was repeated by the Penang Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Saad the next day, who even narrowed down the 11,000 Malay members of Penang DAP in the Tanjong and Bukit Bendera parliamentary constituencies.
How can the DAP claims to have 11,000 Malay members in Tanjong and Bukit Bendera when the total Malay electorate in these two constituencies are only 14,300, with 3,453 Malay voters in Tanjong and 10,845 Malay voters in Bukit Bendera?
If the DAP has 11,000 Malay members in the two parliamentary constituencies of Tanjong and Bukit Bendera, then the DAP membership in Penang state must run into hundreds of thousands.
DAP is a political party which has a modest membership. We have never claimed to have 11,000 Malay members in Penang, let alone in the two parliamentary constituencies in Tajong and Bukit Bendera.
DAP is not like UMNO which claims to have close to two million members or the MCA, which claims to have 800,000 members.
However, in general elections, the DAP can consistently get the support of a million voters unlike the MCA which, despite its claim to be the third largest Chinese political party in the world after China and Taiwan, could only get the support of 200,000 to 250,000 Chinese voters.
The question is the reason for the great play about 11,000 Malays joining the DAP in Penang, to the extent that the Prime Minister’s comments on it was reported extensively in the mass media.
I can only think of only two reasons. Firstly, Tsu Koon and UMNO leaders are ‘rattled’ that the Penang DAP is making headway to win Malay support in the Battle of Tanjong 3 in the next general elections. The sources of information of UMNO leaders, whether at Federal or State Level, cannot be so bad that they could believe their own figure of 11,000 Malays joining the Penang DAP, whether in the whole state or in the two parliamentary constituencies of Tanjong and Bukit Bendera.
But these sources of information are not wrong when they informed UMNO leaders that DAP is getting Malay support in the next general elections, which will affect the prospects and outcome of the Battle of Tanjong 3.
This may be one reason why Tsu Koon is panicking and the MPPP workers instructed to tear down DAP posters and banners urging the people of Penang to register as voters to make a success of Tanjong 3!
Challenge to Tsu Koon o set up a joint DAP-Gerakan ‘Phantom Voters-Busting’ Unit to ferret out and disqualify all ‘phantom voters’ registered in Tanjong Bungah
This brings me to the second reason for the big play by Barisan Nasional about 11,000 Malays joining DAP – for Tsu Koon to present a strong case to Mahathir that he requires a special rescue operation if he is to fight off the DAP’s Tanjong 3 challenge in the next general elections.
This may be the reason and justification for the Save-Koh Tsu Koon-Operation during the current 21-day voters’ registration exercise where the Barisan Nasional aims to register 2,000 Malay workers as voters in Tanjong Bungah state constituency although they are residing and working in Bayan Baru, as well as to register a few thousand other ‘phantom voters’ in Tanjong Bungah from other constituencies, including from the Penang mainland.
Apparently, the registration of several thousand ‘phantom voters’ in Tanjong Bungah is regarded as the most crucial element in the Save-Koh Tsu Koon-Operation as in the 1990 general elections, Tsu Koon only won with a 1,012-vote majority.
Although Tsu Koon has denied that there is a Barisan Nasional Plot to register several thousand ‘phantom voters’ in Tanjong Bungah, his denial is very weak and unconvincing, especially as it has taken him one week to issue such a denial.
If Tsu Koon claims that there are in ‘phantom voters’ in Tanjong Bungah, meaning that the Gerakan had not registered voters in the constituency although they are outsiders in that they neither stay nor work in Tanjong Bungah, then I challenge Tsu Koon to set up a Joint DAP-Gerakan ‘Phantom, Voters-Busting’ Unit to ferret out and disqualify all ‘phantom voters’ registered in Tanjong Bungah.
Seven days left for people of Penang to register as voters to make a success of Tanjong 3 Battle for Penang to be the ‘engine-head’ for ‘Big Liberalisation’ in Malaysia
There are only seven days left before July 31 for the people of Penang to register as voters to make a success of Tanjong 3 Battle for Penang to be the ‘engine-head’ for ‘Big Liberalisation’ in Malaysia, where all Malaysians regardless of race can enjoy an equal place under the Malaysian sun.
In Penang, only DAP and UMNO are asking the people to register as voters, while Gerakan is only interested in the registration of ‘phantom voters’.
This is the reason why Gerakan will always play ‘second fiddle’ in a Barisan Nasional State Government in Penang and the situation will remain the same regardless of whether Dr. Ibrahim Saad is transferred to the parliamentary level in the next general elections.
In the next general elections, an important decision the people of Penang must make is whether they want to have a Chief Minister who is the head of the state government in both name and power, and not as at present, where there is a Penang Chief Minister only in name but not in real power and who has to serve two ‘masters’ in the Penang State itself.