by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, January 19, 1995:
Challenge to Barisan Nasional Government to hold a ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections for people to decide whether there is no need for an Opposition in Malaysia
Two days ago, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said in Kuching that the people can do without the Opposition as the Barisan Nasional is able to play “the Opposition’s role” effectively.
Barisan Nasional leaders should not get so arrogant as to deny the role and contribution of the Opposition to nation-building in Malaysia, as it seems to be becoming a fad for Barisan Nasional leaders and propagandists to claim that the Opposition in Malaysia is not ‘worth a sen’ and should be wiped out.
This reminds me of a similar phase of Barisan Nasional thinking when the Barisan Nasional was first formed in 1973, when a top Barisan Nasional leader made the preposterous statement that an Opposition in Malaysia was both ‘unnecessary’ and an ‘evil’.
The Malaysian people however believed otherwise as in the past two decades, the DAP received consistent support from the urban electorate, receiving even 19.6 per cent of the national vote for the 1982 parliamentary general elections – although the 1982 general elections was the worst election year in DAP history.
In the past two decades, the DAP has proved that it had made a great contribution to nation-building in standing up for democracy, opposing human rights violations and checking the country from a divisive and destructive policy which repudiates the multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious character of Malaysia.
Without the firm and unrelenting stand of the DAP for the great principles of justice, equality and national unity both in Parliament and outside in the past two decades, Malaysia could not have started on the self-correction in nation-building policies in the past four years – which the DAP has described as ‘minor liberalisation as it is still far short of the ‘full liberalisation’ which we want.
The Opposition parties have in fact made a great political contribution to work the democratic process since Merdeka, for the political stability and the economic status enjoyed by Malaysia is not solely the contribution of the Barisan Nasional, but of all opposition parties and the Malaysian people.
The Barisan Nasional leaders are now embarked on a new attempt to crush and wipe out the Opposition in the next general elections.
If the Barisan Nasional is convinced that there is no need for an Opposition in Malaysia, then I challenge the Barisan Nasional government to hold a ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections to let the people decide whether there is no need for an Opposition in the country.
If the Barisan Nasional government wants to have a ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections, it should fully respect the independence of the Election Commission as allowing it to determine the election campaign period; immediately lift the ban on public rallies; restore press freedom by allowing free and equal access to the mass media, including radio and television, to the Opposition leaders and root out money politics.