Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Alor Star on Tuesday, July 26, 1994 at 11 a.m.
DAP writes to Election Commission to formally propose the extension of 21-day voters’ registration exercise to 42 days till August 21 so as not to deny hundreds of thousands of Malaysians the right to vote in next general elections
Yesterday, I wrote to the Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Harun Din, formally making the DAP’s proposal that the Election Commission should extend the 21-day voters’ registration exercise to 42 days till August 21 so as not to deny hundreds of thousands of Malaysians the right to vote in the next general elections.
In my letter to the Election Commission Chairman faxed yesterday, I stressed: “The Election Commission’s responsibility under the Constitution is to ensure that every Malaysian above 21 years can exercise his franchise as a voter in the general elections, which means his registration as a voter. It is no concern of the Election Commission as to which political party the voter will support.
“Under the present voters’ registration arrangement however, especially in shortening the voters’ registration period from 42 days to 21 days, the Election Commission is effectively denying hundreds of thousands of eligible Malaysians the right to vote in general elections.
“The Election Commission has no good reason to refuse to extend the deadline for voters’ registration exercise from July 31 to August 21, so that the next general elections will be ‘free, fair and clean’.
“The next general elections cannot claim to be ‘free, fair and clean’ when hundreds of thousands of Malaysians are denied their right to vote because the Election Commission cannot provide satisfactory voters’ registration arrangements to get them on the electoral roll.”
In my letter to the Election Commission Chairman, I said that the conducting of a snap 21-day voters’ registration exercise when the general elections is due is most illogical and unjustifiable – for the very fact that general elections is around the corner should be the strong reason why the full 42-day period provided by law for voters’ registration should be adhered to so that every Malaysian eligible to vote can register and cast his vote in the general elections.
I am not optimistic that DAP’s proposal for extension of voters’ registration exercise till August 21 would be given serious consideration by Election Commission
I also told Harun Din one important reason why the Election Commission should extend its 21-day Voters’ Registration Exercise to 42 days is because the voters’ registration arrangements particularly in urban areas have proved to be very unsatisfactory, with many registration centres unmanned and many eligible voters still waiting for the mobile registration agents to visit and register them on their house-to-house rounds.
I am not optimistic that the DAP’s proposal for extension of the voters’ registration exercise till August 21 would be given serious consideration by the Election Commission.
It would be a very different story is it is UMNO which is proposing the extension of the voters’ registration exercise to August 21, as the ‘request’ of UMNO is as good as a ‘directive’ to UMNO.
It is open secret, for instance, that the current 21-day voters’ registration exercise is at the ‘request’ of UMNO.
UMNO had formed a high-powered committee under the UMNO National Vice President and Defence Minister, Datuk Najib Tun Razak, several months ago and identified that there are 400,000 UMNO members and supporters who have not registered as voters.
Since the start of the 21-day voters’ registration exercise on July 11, UMNO had mobilized its entire party machinery throughout the country as well as misusing government resources and personnel especially KEMAS to reach its target of registering 400,000 new UMNO voters.
In actual fact, there are a total of 900,000 eligible voters who have not registered on the electoral roll, but UMNO is not interested in registering the other 500,000 as voters.
Although there is greater public greatest in voters’ registration in the last two weeks as compared to the past two years the percentage of voters’ registration for the 500,000 is a factory from the high percentage of registration of the UMNO target of 400,000 new UMNO voters because of the unsatisfactory arrangements for voters’ registration in the urban areas.
I will not be surprised that by July 31, UMNO would have succeeded in registering 90 to 95 per cent of its target of 400,000 new UMNO voters, or 360,000 to 380,000 new UMNO voters, while there will only be some 30 to 35 per cent registration of the other 500,000 eligible voters, or 150,000 to 175,000.
This will give UMNO an enormous advantage in the next general elections to influence the outcome of parliamentary and state assembly results, not only in constituencies where UMNO is fielding candidates, but also in constituencies with MCA, Gerakan or MIC candidates.
This is why MCA and Gerakan are not interested at all in the present voters’ registration exercise, as they only want UMNO to succeed in registering 400,000 new UMNO voters to help MCA and Gerakan candidates in the next general elections.
MCA and Gerakan leaders have fully accepted the political reality that UMNO’s Malay votes hold the key as to whether MCA and Gerakan candidates can win in general elections, and this includes MCA and Gerakan Ministers.
Will Keng Yaik raise in Cabinet tomorrow the extension of voters’ registration exercise by another 21 days?
Gerakan President, Datuk Lim Keng Yaik, for instance knows that he would have been defeated in the 1990 general elections and lost his Ministerial post if he had not been saved by UMNO’s Malay votes, giving him a wafer-thin majority of 863 votes.
On Sunday, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik said that Gerakan would call for a major revamp of the public service at its annual delegate’ conference next week.
This is a great irony. How can Keng Yaik be serious about a major revamp of the public service when he cannot see the need and urgency for an immediate and total revamp of the voters’ registration exercise so as not to deny hundreds of thousands of Malaysians the right to vote in the general elections?
Will Keng Yaik support the DAP call for the extension of the current 21-day voters’ registration exercise from July 31 to August 21? Is Keng Yaik prepared to raise this issue in tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting and propose that the 21-day voters’ registration exercise be extended by another 21 days?
I doubt very much, as we know that Gerakan has its own special agenda in the current voters’ registration exercise, including the infiltration of several thousand ‘phantom voters’ to strengthen shaky Gerakan seats, such as the Bruas parliamentary seat in Perak and the Tanjong Bungah state seat in Penang.
Gerakan is not bothered that hundreds of thousands of Malaysians would be denied the right to vote in general elections under the present voters’ registration arrangement, so long as they could ‘plant’ several thousand ‘phantom voters’ in certain Gerakan constituencies and fall back on UMNO’s 400,000 new voters as a ‘safety net’ in the next general elections.
Ghani Osman should sue Financial Times for the missing golden coin bribery allegation to teach British mass media a lesson that they must bear responsibility for their reports
Law Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar is right when he said on Sunday that the golden coin bribery allegation against the Minister for Youth and Sports, Abdul Ghani Othman, is no more a personal issue but a matter which involved national pride.
For this reason, the Cabinet at its meeting tomorrow should give Ghani Osman the ‘green light’ to institute legal proceedings against the Financial Times of London for the missing golden coin bribery allegation. This is to teach the British mass media a lesson that they must bear responsibility for their reports and allegations against Malaysian government leaders.
I do not believe that Ghani Osman could be bribed with a golden coin, worth US$10,000, although I am sure that the Malaysian public are baffled as to how the US$10,000 golden coin could have been misplaced with nobody seeming to know where this golden coin had gone to.
A 10-sen, 20-sen, 50-sen or a RM1-coin could simply disappear, but surely a US10,000-golden coin cannot simply disappear into thin air in Malaysia.
The Cabinet should seriously consider offering an award of over RM10,000 for anyone who could throw light as to the whereabouts of the US10,000 golden coin.
I expect the normalization of relations between the Malaysian Government and British companies to be announced latest by October
The missing golden coin episode has affected the restoration of normal trading relations between Britain and Malaysia and the calling-off of the Malaysian Government boycott of all British companies with regard to Malaysian contracts and privatization projects.
If not for the missing golden coin episode, the Malaysian government might have announced the calling off of its boycott of British companies for Malaysian contracts and privatization projects any time now.
However, despite the golden coin episode, I believe that it should not seriously affect the normalization of relations between the Malaysian Government and British companies, as I would expect such normalization to be announced latest by October this year.
Kedah Mentri Besar Osman Aroff should publicly declare his assets as to whether he has acquired unusual wealth since he has changed his mind about suing Syed Mansor to prove his innocence and integrity against the latter’s corruption charges against him
I hope Malaysians will not suffer another disappointment after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, with Datuk Syed Hamid changing his mind and announcing that there is no point in Ghani Oman suing the Financial Times.
This was what the people of Kedah and Malaysia felt when the Kedah Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Osman Aroff, announced his change of minds about taking legal action against a Kedah businessman, Syed Mansor bin Syed Salim, who had publicly accused him of corruption.
As it was Osman Aroff himself who had earlier announced that he would file legal action against Syed Salim to prove his innocence and integrity against the latter’s corruption charges against him, why has Aroff Osman changed his mind.
Unless Osman Aroff can give a satisfactory and convincing reason for his change of mind, the public can only draw adverse inferences which is not good for Aroff Osman’s innocence and integrity.
As Osman Aroff has backed down from his earlier announcement that he would sue Syed Mansor, the Kedah Menteri Besar should publicly declare his assets as to whether he has acquired unusual wealth.
In Parliament I had referred to the allegations of corruption which Syed Mansor had made against Osman Aroff, but no Minister, Deputy Minister or Parliamentary Secretary was prepared to comment on the charges, which had already been reported to the Anti-Corruption Agency.
If Osman Aroff has changed his mind about going to court against Syed Mansor, he is still subject to the principle of public accountability, and he should respond to each of the charges which had been made by Syed Mansor so that the people can judge for themselves as to who is right and who is wrong.