DAP has sent out a ‘full alert’ to all DAP State Committees and Branches to be fully prepared for general elections to be held from 22nd October to 13th November

Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the Kota Kinabalu Airport on Saturday, 24th September 1994 at 11 am.

DAP has sent out a ‘full alert’ to all DAP State Committees and Branches to be fully prepared for general elections to be held from 22nd October to 13th November.

I have sent out a ‘full alert’ to all DAP State Committees and Branches to be fully prepared for general elections to be held from 22nd October to 13th November this year.

Although there has been speculation that Parliament would be dissolved, after the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, had presented the 1995 Budget in the Dewan Rakyat on Friday, October 28, 1994, I had never been very convinced by this possibility.

To me, the three possible-dates for the dissolution of Parliament remain October, January or March/April next year.

There is no need for the Barisan Nasional Government to wait for the 1995 Budget presentation on October 28 to create an euphoria over tax reliefs, including income-tax cuts, as such ‘goodies’ could also be promised by the Barisan Nasional in the course of its election campaign and would be equally effective in creating an euphoric mood in the country.

There is one consideration against the school of thought that Parliament would be dissolved after the budget presentation. By October 28, the Dewan Rakyat would have met for two weeks as it has been summoned to start its meeting from October 17.

If Parliament is dissolved after the budget presentation on October 28, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed could be accused of treating Parliament frivolously and not taking his Prime Ministerial duties seriously – for MPs would have met and passed Bills for over two weeks for nothing as all these businesses would have lapsed and be of no effect and the two or three weeks of Parliamentary sittings before dissolution would be a big waste of time of the MPs as well as a big waste of money for the country.

In his 1970 book, ‘The Malay Dilemma’, among the major indictments Mahathir made against Tunku Abdul Rahman – was that Tunku treated Parliament, frivolously and that the Malaysian Constitution was reduced to a ‘useless scrap of paper’ by the manner, frequency and the trivial reasons for their amendments.

If Mahathir dissolves Parliament in mid-Parliamentary meeting, when there is no government crisis to justify such an extreme measure – as the loss of simple majority – then Mahathir will go down in Malaysian history as the Prime Minister who had treated Parliament in the most frivolous and cavalier manner!

I do not think this is what Mahathir would want history to remember him in his relationship with Parliament.

Although I had earlier been inclined towards the possibility of general elections next year, there are several recent developments which might be indicative of general elections this year.

The first is the decision of the MCA to bring forward its distribution of donations for Chinese Independent Secondary Schools from Chinese New Year period next year to this year – indicative that the MCA leaders believe that general elections would be this, year rather than next year.

The timing for the end of the ‘leave’ for Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik as Malacca Chief Ministeron October 20 is also very interesting, and could be related to the general elections time-table of Mahathir.

I have received reports that UMNO had not been very successful in its campaign during the 21-day voters registration exercise – in July to register 400,000 new UMNO voters. If this is true, then another factor favouring next-year’s general elections of waiting for 400,000 new UMNO voters to be put on the elec¬toral register – would have been removed.

Furthermore, although the ‘macro’ political picture is favourable for Barisan Nasional, it is having a lot of ‘micro’ problems, whether the Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik scandals, the Ling Liong Sik Subang International Airport scandals, the Samy Vellu MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal, or the credibility of the Sabah Barisan Nasional particularly in the immoral and scandalous manner in which the elected State Government of PBS was toppled; and Mahathir might want to have elections this year rather than wait for general elections in April when more skeletons may come out of the cupboard with more Barisan Nasional scandals.

If general elections are to be held this year, I would not expect the Dewan Rakyat to meet on October 17. In fact, Mahathir could wait until October 17 to announce the dissolution of Parliament to obviate the holding of any meeting of Dewan Rakyat.

It is for this reason that I say that general elections could be held from 22nd October to 13th November 1994. From my personal point of view, I would prefer general elections to be held this year, as the whole general elections speculation and preparations had been dragged out for too long already – ever since last year!