Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Bagan DAP Chinese New Year Gathering held in Butterworth on Thursday, 9th February 1995 at 8 p.m.
If Mahathir wants to be the Prime Minister who straddles two centuries, then the general election date is more likely to be second half of the year rather than the first half
If Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed wants to be the Prime Minister who straddles two centuries – the 20th and 21st centuries – then the general elections date is more likely to be the second half of the year rather than the first half.
Although the 1990 general elections were held on October 21, 1990, the present term of Parliament goes on until December 2, 1995.
This is because under Article 55(3) of the Malaysian Constitution, it is stipulated that “Parliament unless sooner dissolved shall continue for five years from the date of its first meeting and shall then stand dissolved”.
The first meeting of the present Parliament after the last general elections was December 3, 1990, and this would mean that the five-year term of the present Parliament would be complete only on December 2, 1995.
Technically, if Parliament is dissolved in December this year, general elections could be held in 1996 – as Article 55(4) provides: “Whenever Parliament is dissolved a general election shall be held within sixty days from the date of the dissolution and Parliament shall be summoned to meet on a date not later than 120 days from that date” although this is most unlikely, as it would mean a fairly long election campaign period.
If Parliament is dissolved in early December, the new Parliament after the next general elections could hold its first meeting as late as early April 1996. In these circumstances, the five-year term of the new Parliament would not expire until April 2001.
Although the dissolution of Parliament could be deferred till as late as December this year, the DAP must not work on this assumption.
The first premise we must work on is that general elections could be held next month, as the new 1994 electoral roll has finally been gazetted today and is ready for use in the new general elections.
If general elections are not held in March, then the next likely date should be between June to August.
This will mean there will be another Parliamentary meeting, which I understand has been fixed from April 10 to May 9, with the Senate meeting till May 30.
The next general elections is the most important in Malaysian history – as it will decide whether Malaysia will move towards Full Liberalisation or whether the minor liberalisations of the past four years are reversible
The Barisan Nasional leaders will want Malaysian voters to believe that there are no issues in the next general elections and that the people should give a full endorsement for the more liberal and open attitudes of the Barisan Nasional government in certain selected fields in the past four years which could be summed up as ‘minor liberalisation’.
In actual fact, the next general elections will be the most important in Malaysian history – as it will decide whether Malaysia will move towards Full Liberalisation or whether the minor liberalisations of the past four years are reversible.
This is why DAP’s Battle of Tanjong 3 is not only important for Penang, but also for the whole of Malaysia, for it is to be the engine-head to propel Malaysia towards Full Liberalisation and to ensure that the minor liberalisations of the past four years are irreversible.
Furthermore, Malaysia must open up and democratise the political life in the country in keeping with Malaysia’s development and the citizenry’s aspiration for a Malaysian democracy where the people have a greater say in the decision-making process, whether at the national, state or local government level.
If in Sabah, the post of Sabah Chief Minister could be rotated among the three main communities, why can’t the same idea be applied to all important national posts all over the country?
3In the next general elections, therefore, the issue is not whether the people endorse the minor liberalisations of the past, four years, but for the people to make it clear that they want the country to move towards Full Liberalisation which will make the minor liberalisations of the past four years irreversible as well as to embark Malaysia on a greater democratisation programme.