Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Ceramah at Buntong, Ipoh on Saturday, July 30, 1994 at 8 p.m.
DAP calls on Mahathir to lift the ban on public rallies to show the world that Malaysia can conduct a ‘fair, free and clean’ general elections
Two days ago, Sin Chew Jit Poh reported that Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed has become the ecountry’s longest-serving Prime Minister, beating the 13-year record of Tunku Abdul Rahman.
The next general elections will be Mahathir’s fourth general elections as Prime Minister. There is however a great difference between the general elections called by Tunku Abdul Rahman and the general elections held under Mahathir.
One great difference is that in all the general elections held under Tunku Abdul Rahman, public rallies were allowed – including the sixties when the country was facing an armed communist insurrection.
This is not the case with Mahathir’s general elections from 1982 onwards, when public rallies were banned.
There is no justification whatsoever for the continued ban on public rallies. Recently, in the South Africa general elections which brought Nelson Mandela into power, public rallies were also allowed.
I call on Mahathir to mark his becoming the longest-serving Prime Minister by lifting the ban on public rallies to show the world tat Malaysia can conduct ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections.
If the police force can cope with public rallies in the first 20 years of Merdeka, I do not believe that the present police force under the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, cannot cope with public rallies if the ban is lifted.
Barisan Nasional leaders, including Mahathir, have been expressing great optimism about Barisan Nasional chances in the next general elections, that the Barisan Nasional is heading for a great win at the expense of the Opposition.
If this is the case, then Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional leaders should have no worries about allowing public rallies, especially as Barisan Nasional victory in the next general elections will be even more ‘sweeter’ and legitimate after allowing public rallies to be held.
Election Commission must find an immediate remedy to ensure that hundreds of thousands of Malaysians are not disenfranchised in next general elections because they have not registered as a voter
A key factor in a ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections is that every eligible voter can cast his vote in general elections.
At present, hundreds of thousands of Malaysians will be disenfranchised in the next general elections because they will not be able to cast their vote as they have not registered as a voter and the Election Commission is duty-bound to find an immediate remedy for this grave electoral defect.
This is why the DAP has written formally to the Election Commission to ask it to extend the 21-day Voters’ Registration Exercise which ends tomorrow by another 21 days.
The law allows 42 days of voters’ registration every year and it is most illogical for the Election Commission to halve the voters’ registration to 21 days when general election sis around the corner – for the Election Commission should try to get every eligible voter onto the electoral roll.
I have asked the Election Commission to extend the voters’ registration period by another 21 days from July 31 – the deadline for the current voters’ registration exercise – until August 21.
However, this extension of another 21 days for registration of voters need not follow from July31, but can start after one or two weeks of preparation, such as beginning from August 8 or August 15.
The important point is that the Election Commission must leave no stone unturned to put every eligible Malaysian onto the electoral register or the Election Commission would be failing in its constitutional duty to conduct ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections in Malaysia.