Sabah voters should teach Barisan Nasional a Lesson in next general elections

Speech by Parlimentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, when declaring open the Sabah DAP State Convention held at Sanbay Hotel Conferrence Hall, Sandakan on Saturday, 24th September, 1994 at 5pm.

Sabah voters should teach Barisan Nasional a Lesson in next general elections.

As the general elections could be held any time between October 22 and November 13, the DAP throughout the country must be put on a ‘all systems go’ footing and be placed on top gear to fight the next general elections.

In Sabah, DAP is determined to regain our previous Parliamentary position.

The DAP has declared in April that we are prepared to cooperate with PBS to reach an electoral understanding in Sabah for the next general elections, but up to now, there has been no positive response from the PBS.

There had in fact been contradictory responses, with the PBS Chairman, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan publicly turning down the DAP overture while another PBS leader stating that discussions could be held with the DAP on the allocation of Chinese-predominant par1iamentary constituencies.

In the past 25 years, the DAP had fought six general elections from 1969 to 1990. In four out of these six general elections, the DAP had fought the Barisan Nasional alone, and we are prepared and feel quite comfortable in fighting the Barisan Nasional solely on our own.

As the PBS had not responded positively to the DAP overture, the DAP will now proceed on the basis that we will have to ‘go it alone’ in Sabah in the next general elections, although we will keep open the door for discussions if the PBS changes it mind.

However, the DAP rejects out-of-hand any proposal from any quarter that discussions about electoral understanding with PBS should be confined to the so-called ‘Chinese predominant’ constituencies.

The DAP has always been a multi-racial party representing the legitimate rights and aspirations of Malaysians from all races, cultures and religions since our formation in 1966.

Recently, in Peninsular Malaysia, the DAP has started to make inroads in the rural areas with Malays changing their impression about the DAP. From the sixties to the eighties, the Malays were poisoned by false and vicious propaganda that the DAP is anti-Malay and anti-Islam. The Malays have, however, come to realise that such a propaganda is untrue and there are more and more instances where the Malays have found that the DAP is the only party they could turn to for the defence of their basic citizenship and constitutional rights.

In the next, general elections, the DAP should be able to field a more multi-racial slate of candidates, not only in Peninsular Malaysia, but also in Sabah.

The DAP will be turning the clock back if we agree to discussions with the PBS to allocate the so-called ‘Chinese-predominant’ constituencies, as we intend to field Kadazan and if possible, Malay candidates in Sabah in the next general elections.

In the next parliamentary elections, the people of Sabah should unite behind the DAP to teach the Barisan Nasional a three-point lesson, namely;

1. that the people of Sabah have principles and guts and cannot be bought simply with money, as the Barisan Nasional thought in the state general elections;

2. that the people of Sabah do not want to be cheated by the ‘political frogs’ in Sabah; and

3. that the people of Sabah condemn the dishonourable, unethical and undemocratic manner in which the duly-elected PBS state Government was toppled in March this year.

I believe in the whole of Sabah, the DAP is the only party which could call on the people of Sabah to teach the Barisan Nasional this lesson without any guilty conscience or hypocrisy.