Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Bagan by-election ceramah at Bagan Lallang on Wednesday, 6th September 1995 at 9 p.m.
The three Barisan Assemblymen in the Bagan constituency, including two Exco members Dr. Sak Cheng Lum and Dr. K. Rajapathy should resign if they claim that they could not bring development to Bagan if the Barisan Nasion losses the by-election on Saturday
The Barisan Nasional has threatened that Bagan would be left out of the mainstream of development if the MCA candidate loses in the Bagan by-election on Saturday.
It is very sad that 38 years after Merdeka, there are still political parties and leaders who do not respect the democratic right of the people to freely exercise their vote to elect the MP they want and must resort to the politics of threats and bribery.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has again resurrercted his special vote-getter, speaking in Mandarin that “We are All One Family”.
Anwar Ibrahim had not used this Mandarin phrase for four months since the April general election.
It would appear that the people would be told, and in Mandarin, that “We are One Family” only when there are elections around the corner to get votes for the Barisan Nasional.
If Malaysians of all races are “All One Family”, then it should not be used as a slogan during elections but be the central plank of the government policy at all times, starting with ending the division of Malaysians into bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras.
By dividing Malaysians into bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras, the Barisan Nasional Government is maintaining that there are at least who families and not “One Family”.
If Anwar is serious about the slogan “We are All One Family”, then why should the voters and electorate be distinguished between “Barisan constituencies” and “Opposition constiuencies” claiming that Opposition consituencies, unlike the former, would be left out of the mainstream of development.
In any event, all Malaysians are entitled to the right to development, not only as a human right, but as a citizenship right because they are all tax-payers.
Surely the Barisan Nasional is not suggesting that constituencies which voted for the Opposition need not pay taxes because they will be discriminated against for development purposees?
History has shown that there is no way the government could discriminate against Opposition constituencies, for this will be self-defeating driving away development and investments which can only undermine state and national development.
If the Barisan Nasional wants to embark on a policy of denying development to Opposition constituencies, then it can forget about its Vision 2020 of making Malaysia a developed nation and allow Malaysia to degenerate into a ‘banana republic’.
The Barisan Nasional threat of leaving Bagan out of the mainstream of development if the MCA loses in the Bagan by-election is also most foolish, for the Barisan Nasional leaders forget that the three constituent state assembly seats in the Bagan parliamentary seat are held by Barisan Assemblymen – two of of whom are State Excos, Dr. Sak Cheng Lum and Dr. K. Rajapathy.
Is the Barisan Nasional seriously suggesting that if DAP’s Lim Hock Seng wins thr Bagan by-election, they will not be able to bring development to Bagan? If so, will the three Barisan Assemblymen in the Bagan constituency, including the two Exco members Dr. Sak and Dr. Rajapathy resign to allow for three by-elections to take place if they claim that the Barisan Nasional could not bring development to Bagan?
Or will the three Barisan Assemblymen in Bagan resign if Hock Seng is elected as Bagan MP on Saturday in order to force a situation where there will not be a single Barisan MP or Assemblymen in the constituency to implement the Barisan Nasional threat of denying development to the constituency?
In fact, if we are talking about ‘development’ for Bagan, there is an even stronger reason why the voters of Bagan should vote for Lim Hock Seng on Saturday.
This is because if the three Assemblymen in the constituency come from the Barisan Nasional, and the MP is from the DAP, there will be a healthy competition as to who can serve the Bagan people better.
If in Bagan, all the four elected representatives – three Assemblymen and one MP – are all from the Barisan Nasional, then it is only a matter of time before the voters of Bagan are completely forgotten and neglected as there will be no competition to keep the elected representatives on their toes.
There will be no need for a ‘longkang’ MP for Bagan if the three Barisan Nasional Assemblymen in the constituency had not failed in their duties or the Barisan Nasional-appointed Municipal Councillors slept on their jobs.
I had said that the choice in the Bagan by-election is a stark one between choosing a MCA ‘longkang’ MP or a DAP MP who can champion the rights of the people of Bagan as well as symbolise the will of the people of Malaysia to save democracy and the DAP after the dismal results of the Opposition in the last general election.
MCA spokesmen have responded by asking whether Bagan does not need an MP to look at ‘longkangs’! I am surprised at this low political level of MCA leaders and strategists.
I am not saying that MPs should be too ‘high-class’ to look at longkangs, but that if the Municipal Councillors (who are all Barisan appointees) and the three Assemblymen (all of whom are again Barisan with two as State Excos) are responsible and do not neglect their duties, there would be no need for the MP of Bagan to become a ‘longkang’ MP.
This is because the ‘longkang’ problems would have been resolved at the Municipal or State Assemblv level – without the need to come up to the MP for attention and intervention , allowing him to deal with the larger issues involving the people and nation.
If the Bagan MP has to become a ‘longkang’ MP, then it could only mean that the three Barisan Assemblymen in the area have not only failed miserably in their duties but all the Barisan Nasional-appointed Municipal Councillors have also been sleeping on their jobs!
Call on Bagan voters to give DAP a great victory in the by-election to send an unimistakeable message to Mahatir that the people want development as well as democracy
The Bagan by-election is one which could bring a great democracy ‘uplift’ to Malaysians if there is a DAP victory, for it would mean that four months after the April general election, Malaysians have turned a dark corner and have returned to the road of recovery not only for democracy in Malaysia but also for the DAP.
However, the DAP will suffer even greater trauma than the general election and the democracy rights of the people come under greater threat if DAP loses by Bagan by-election on Saturday.
With the short Bagan by-election campaign coming to a close, I have no confidence whatsoever that the DAP can win in the by-election.
For this reason, the DAP will need every vote to ensure a victory and forestall a defeat in the by-election.
However, I still hope that if there is a DAP victory, it could be a victory of the first magnitude with the greatest majority ever won by the DAP. This is not for the sake of Lim Hock Seng or even the DAP – but for the sake of democracy to send an unmistakeable message to the Barisan Nasional Government and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that Malaysians want development as well as democracy.