Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the second Penang ‘Tanjong 3’ Marathon Thousand-People Dinner held at Penang Chinese Town Hall on Tuesday, 4th October 1994 at 8 p.m.
DAP to organize a National Conference on ‘Full Liberalisation’ and is prepared to invite Mahathir, Answar Ibrahim, Ling Liong Sik and Lim Keng Tail to participate together with Opposition leaders like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Joseph Pairin, Nik Aziz and Dr. Syed Husin Ali.
Yesterday, the DAP leunched its. First Declaration on Nation-Building Policies for Malaysia on “Full Liberalisation” and this morning, the DAP launched the Second Declaration on Nation-Building Policies on “Real Democracy and Human Right”.
DAP will organize a National Conference on “Full Liberalisation” and is prepared to invite Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Tail to participate together with Opposition leaders like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Joseph Pairin, Nik Aziz and Dr. Syed Husin Ali.
If the Barisan Nasional leaders oppose “Full Liberalisation” and the “Ten-Point Democratisation Programme” of the DAP, then let them come to the Nationa; Conference on “Full Liberalisation” and explain to the whole country the reasons why.
I would like, for instance, to hear the full arguments of Mahathir, Answar Ibrahim, Liong Sik and KengYaik as to why they are opposed to making the next general elections the most ‘free, fair and clear’ in Malaysia history.
Surely, there Barisan Nasional government leaders cannot be unaware of national and international criticisms of the serious flaws in the country’s general elections process, particularly in the ban on public rallies; the denial of fair mass media access to the Opposition parties whethere newspaper, radio or television; the shortness of the elections campaign; the unfairness of the redelineation of constituencies, the rigging of ‘phantom voters’ and the scandal of the 200,000 postal ballots which were cast without observing the secrecy of the vote; or the politics of money to buy votes.
The DAP has offered its co-operation both to the Election Commission and the Government to clean up the electoral system do that whoever wins in the next general elections, whether the mandate to govern or to be MP or Assemblyman will be through a free, fair and clean constest.
Only those who have a vested interest in the present electoral system, with all its flaws and abuses, would refuse to consider electoral refoms to make the next general elections the most ‘free, fair and clean’ in Malaysian history.
I have written officially to the Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Harun Din, suggesting that he convene an All-Party Conference to discuss how the next general elections could be the most ‘free, fair and clean’ in Malaysian history, but the Election Commission does not seem to believe it has the right or duty to ensure that general elections are ‘free, fair and clean’.
The DAP will invite the Election Commission Chairman and officials to the National Conference on ‘Full Liberalisation’ as having a free, fair and clean general elections is one of the acid tests as to whether there is meaningful democracy or not, I hope Datuk Harun Din and the Election Commission officials do not have to get the ‘clearance’ from the Government before if could respond to the invitation.
I do not know whether Liong Sik and Keng Yaik would have the courage to attend the proposed National Conference on ‘Full Libetalisation’, although I would want to know the public reason the MCA and Gerakan Presidents could give for opposing want to know the public reason the MCA and Gerakan Presidents could give for opposing the DAP’s call for ‘Full Liberalisation’ and the ‘Ten-Point Democretisation’ which include:
RECOGNISE all Malaysian citizens as equal and not divided into bumiputeras and non-bumiputras;
RESTORE the independence of the judiciary;
PESPECT the freedom of religion of all Malaysians and uphold Malaysia as a secular statel
WEED out the incompetent, the irresponsible and the corrupt in public service and the Cabinet;
RESTORE Local Government Elections; and
RESTORE press freedom in Malaysia.
Are Liong Sik and Keng Yaik seriously of the view, for instance, that if public rallies are in the next elections, there would be unrest and even riots in the country?
There can only be one reason for the Continued ban on public rallies – the fear of Barisan Nasional leaders that their public rallies cannot draw the crowds like those of the Opposition
Any student of history can tell Liong Sik and Keng Yaik that in Malaysia, public rallies had never been the cause of any public disorder.
This was why public rallies were immediately allowed when political activities were restored after the May 13 riots, and during the 1974 general election, public rallies were permitted.
There can only be one ground for the continued ban on public rallies –the fear of Barisan Nasional leaders that their public rallies cannot draw the crowds like those of the Opposition. But this has nothing to do with security considerations and cannot be used for stifling a fundamental freedom of the people affecting their right to be informed about the programmes and platforms of the various parties and candidates competing for their cupport (?) the general elections.
On the question of public rallies, Malaysia’s record is the worst in the ASEAN countries as well as in the Commonwealth, as all our neighbouring ASEAN countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore allow public rallies during general lections – not to mention Commmonwealth countries like Pakistan, india and sri lanka. Even South Africa permits public rallies during its general elections and this was how Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa.
The next general elections is not about ‘Minor Liberalisation’ but about ‘Full Liberalisation’
In today’s press, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Information Ministry, Fauzi Abdul Rahmn, tried to explain his threat in Malacca last week that if the Chinese do not support the ‘open, moderate and liberal’ government policies in the next general elections, UMNO will ‘review’ these policies.
The more Fauzi explains, the worst it is for him – for his explanation has only reinforced the conclusion that he had made a very clumsy attempt to threaten that UMNO would withdraw the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the past three years if the Chinese voters do not support the MCA and Gerakan candidates in the next general elections.
Fauzi as well as MCA and Gerakan leaders have missed the point altogether about the next general elections.
The next general elections is not about ‘Minor Liberalisation’but about ‘Full Liberalisaton’.
Malaysia do not object or oppose the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the past three years. But what they want is not ‘Minor Liberalisation’ but ‘Full Liberalisation’ so that every Malaysian, regardless of race, has an equal place under the Malaysian sun.