Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the fifth Penang ‘Tanjong 3’ Marathon Thousand-People Dinner held at Penang Chinese Town Hall on Friday, 7th October 1994 at 8 p.m.
DAP will move a motion for a third time in the next Penang State Assembly directing the Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to make regular annual state Government grants to the Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in the state
Penang DAP Assemblymen will move a motion for a time in the next Penang State Assembly directing the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to Make regular annual state government allocations to the Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in the State.
Since his becoming Penang Chief Minister, the DAP twice presented motions in the Penang State Assembly that Penang State Government make regular annual allocations to chinese Indpendent Secondary Schools in the State, but in both cases, the motions were strongly opposed by the Gerakan Assembly men – and in particular the two Gerakan leaders from Dong Ziao Zhong who had declared in 1982 that they were ‘attacking into the Barisan Nasional to rectify the Barisan Nasional’ namely Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and Dr. Kang Chin Seng.
What t is this ‘Attacking into -the Barisan Nasional to rectify the Barisan Nasional’ when as Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon dare not prove again that ‘Penang Leads’ by setting the example for other State Governments in Peninsular Malaysia to provide regular annual allocations to Chinese Independent Secord- cry Schools?
In actual fact, Penang will be providing the first
such example in Malaysia, as the PBS State Government had bean providing regular annual to Sabah’s Chinese Independent Secondary Schools during its term of office.
The reason why Du. Koh Tsu Koon is not prepared to make regular and annual state government allocations to the
Chinese Independent Secondary Schools is because he is not really the ‘master’ in his own house.
Everybody knows that in Penang there are three Cheif Ministers – Dr. Koh Tsu Koon who is Chief Minister in name but
not in fact; Dr. Ibrahim Saad who is in name Deputy Chief Minis- ter but wields the real powers of Chief Minister at the state government level ; and Tan Gim Hwa who is as good as Chief Minis- ter at the Penang Island Municipal level.
Although it has been bruited that Dr. Ibrahim Saad would be moved to Parliament in. the next general elections, this would not change the Gerakan-UMNO relationship, because such a relationship of subservience is not because of a question of numbers in the State Assembly, but has become very deeply embedded in the mentality and psychology of Gerakan leaders.
If DAP forms the Penang State Government, there will be one Penang Chief Minister and not three as at present
This is why in the next general elections, the people of Penang have to decide whether they want to have a Chief Minis¬ter who is the head of government both in name and in fact, or whether they want to have the present ridiculous situation of having three Chief Ministers in Penang.
One thing the DAP can assure the people of Penang is that if the DAP forms the Penang State Government in the next general elections, there will only be one Penang Chief Minister and not three!
A DAP Penang State Government will also be one which will defend and uphold the integrity of the Penang State Consti¬tution from any outside interference and violation.
This was why the Penang DAP Assemblymen defeated. the constitutional amendment bill moved by the Penang Chief Minister in November 1992 aimed at increasing three Penang State Assembly seats without any increase of new Parliamentary seat for the state.
If the DAP had allowed the Barisan Nasional Federal Government to increase three State Assembly seats without any increase of Parliamentary seat, the redelineation of electoral constituencies would give room for the Barisan Nasional to gerry- mander with the constituencies as to make an even greater mockery of the democratic principle of ‘one-man, one vote’.
At present, the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, is mortally frightened of calling Penang State Assembly meetings, resulting in Penang State Assembly setting the dubious lead in the whole country as the only assembly which meets the least times when it should have the most number of meetings per year.
If not for the six-month rule in the Penang State Constitution requiring ‘the State Assembly to meet at least once in six months, Tsu Koon would probably have only one State Assembly meeting a year. In fact, in June 1993, Tsu Koon even tried to circumvent the six-month rule by adjourning the Penang State Assembly meeting immediately after the official opening by the Yang di Pertua Negeri and the debates did not begin until eleven days later!
It is because of this ‘mortal fear’ for the Penang State Assembly that Tsu Koon dared not present two constitutional amendment bills to the Penang State Assembly, although all other State Assemblies had already debated and decided on them.
As a result, Penang is the only state which has not debated the constitution amendment bill whereby there would be no by-election if an elected state assemblyman dies or resigns his seat within two years of the completion of the five-year term.
This is why the first three of the seven election pledges which the DAP had made in our fifth Declaration of Nation-Building Polices on the first part of our programme on ‘Penang as a Model State’ spells out what a Penang DAP State Government would do, namely:
PPOVIDE a Chief Minister in name as well as in fact;
DEFEND AND UPHOLD the integrity of the Penang State -Constitution from any outside violation; and
HOLD frequent State Assembly meetings to get regular feedbacks from the people as well as to carry out State Assembly reforms so that it becomes the highest legislative and political forum in. the State.
Recently, the Penang Gerakan Chairman, Tan Gim Ewa, had made public his intention to contest a State Assembly seat in the next general elections.
Gim Hwa has picked on the safest Gerakan seat of Bayan Lepas to position himself to become the next Penang Chief Minister
The most suitable seat for Tan Gim Hwa to coonstest
should be the Batu Lanchang state assembly seat, where he contested in the 1986 general elections ections and was given a whopping defeat by DAP’s Tan Loo Jit, who won with a majority of 4,499.
But Gerakan leaders are not like DAP leaders, who are prepared to put their heads ‘on the chopping block’, as in the 1990 general elections, where ill the Penang DAP leaders left strongholds to contest in ‘dangerous seats’ with the aim of achieving a breakthrough for the DAP in Penang.
Tan Gim Hwa, however, is not interested in achieving a ‘breakthrough’ for Gerakan, but only for himself, and this is why he has foresworn Batu Lanchang and has picked on the safest Gerakan seat of Bayan Lepas – dropping the incumbent, Lim Aun or sending him to fight a difficult seat.
Tan Gim Hwa’s ulterior -motives in wanting to get into
the State Assembly at all costs by- securing for himself the safest Gerakan seat are clear to all – he wants to position himself to be able to become the next Penang Chief Minister- in place of Dr. Koh Tsu Koon.
The 1990 General Elections was not the ‘first chance, last chance’ for DAP to capture Penang State Government because the DAP denied the Barisan Nasional the two-thirds majority to amend the State Constitution to gerrymander with the state constituencies
In the 1990 general elections, I called on the voters of Penang to vote in a Penang DAP State Government because it was the ‘first time, last time; first chance, and last chance’ that DAP can form a Penang State Government.
The DAP failed to capture the Penang State Government in the 1990 general elections by three seats. The Gerakan and MCA now claim that the DAP must fail in the Battle of Tanjong 3 to capture the Penang State Government because I had said the last general elections was the ‘first opportunity, last opportu¬nity’ for a Penang DAP State Government.
I was half right and half wrong – right in that the 1990 general elections was the first chance for the DAP to capture Penang State Government; wrong in that it was not the ‘last chance’.
It was the people of Penang who ensured that the 1990 general elections was not the ‘last chance’ for the DAP to capture the Penang State Government, by voting in 14 Penang DAP Assemblymen and denying the Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in the State Assembly to change the State Constitution at the whims and fancies of the Federal Government to gerrymander with the constituencies.
If in the 1990 general elections, the Barisan Nasional had won two-thirds maority in the Penang State Assembly and could change the State Constitution to affect the redelineation of electoral constituencies as and how it likes, then today, the DAP will stand no chance whatsoever to bid for the Penang State government under the Battle of Tanjong 3 and can only content to be an opposition party.
For the next general elections, the DAP will be fielding the largest slate of candidates for the Penang State Assembly seats in DAP history – more than the 23 candidates which the DAP fielded in Penang for the 1986 general elections. We will strive on our own to be able to form a Penang DAP State Government.
I admit that the Battle of Tanjong 3 will be more difficult than the Battle of Tanjong 2, but if the people understand the great issues at stake in the next general elections, I believe that there are chances for the success for the Battle of Tanjong 3 to establish a Penang DAP State Government.