Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, when opening the Selangor DAP State Convention held in Klang on Sunday, 8th October 1995 at 10 a.m.
DAP should aim to recruit and nurture 800 young professionals and university graduates in the next three years to form the core of the new generation of DAP leaders to lead the DAP into the 21st century
In the April 1995 general election, the DAP faced its worst general election defeat in the 29-year party history, raising the quest.ion whether there is a future for the DAP in particular and democracy in general.
From 20 Parliamentary and 46 State Assembly seats before the April dissolution, the DAP was thrashed and left with nine Parliamentary and 11 State Assembly seats.
In Penang, DAP’ s Tanjong 3 Plan to capture the Penang State Government, was crushed and only Sdri .
Chong Eng managed to scrape through to the Penang State Assembly to become the lone Opposition Assembly representative.
The DAP result in the 1995 general election was worse than the 1982 general election, our previous worst general election debacle. Although the DAP ended up with nine Parliamentary seats when the results for both general elections were announced, this was in the context of of a total 154 MPs in I982 as compared to a total of 192 MPs in 1995.
The DAP Bagan “turn-around” after the dismal April 1995 general election result is faster and freater than during the Kepayang by-election “turn-around” after the 1982 general election.
However, the DAP has managed a “turn-around” which is both faster and greater than after the 1982 general election.
The “turn-around” for the DAP after 1982 general election was the Kepayang by-election in Perak. In the April 1982 general election, the DAP won the Kepayang state assembly seat with a 161-vote majority but in the by-election on October 16, 1982, the DAP won won a 9,764 majority.
The “turn-around” for the DAP after the April 1995 general election is the Ragan by-election, fighting a lower-general election majority of 118 as compared to 161 in Kepayang, and within four-and-a-half months after the previous general election as compared to some six months for Kepayang.
In the Bagan by-e1ection, the DAP achieved a faster and greater “turnaround” than the Kepayang by-election by secur¬ing a 11,802-vote majority which was 100 times greater than the DAP majority in the Bagan seat in the April 199S general election..
The message of DAP’s thumping Bagan by-election is very clear and should serve as a severe warning to the Barisan Nasional that it could face its worst result in the next general election before the year 2,000 if the government ignore the people’s desire for both democracy and development.
Just as with the Kepayang by-election in October 1982, the Barisan Nasional leaders know that the Bagan “turn-around” is no fluke.
After the 1982 general election, the DAP’s “turnaround” in the Kepayang by-election was confirmed in two subsequent by-elections, the Raub State Assembly by-election in Pahang and the Seremban parliamentary by-elect j on, both in 1983.
What Barisan Nasional. Leaders are most worried now is to have more by-elections in the traditional heartland of the DAP which, until the Bagan by-election, Barisan Nasional leaders believed had been converted into Barisan NasionaJ heartland – for they are afraid that these by-elections would confirm beyond a shadow of doubt that the DAP is on the tracks of a political comeback alter the disastrous April general election result.
This must be the reason which prompted the Gerakan leadership to quickly announce that it would stop the defeated Gerakan candidate for Jelutong, Rhina Bhar, from proceeding with her election appeal to demand for fresh election – tor they knew, in their heart of hearts that. in a by-election against Karpal. Singh in Jelutonq, the results could be very start ling and shock¬ing to the Gerakan indeed!
While I regard the Bagan by-election as a “turn-around” for the. DAP after the dismal general election results, in the April polls, it will be a great mistake for anyone to misread the Bagan by-election in concluding that the PAP has fully recov¬ered .
Even before the Bagan by-election, the DAP at all levels had agreed that there is a need for a radical programme of party reform.to renew and revive the DAP.
The Bagan by-election victory must be regarded as a catalyst to embark on this three-year programme of party reform and rejuvenation, which must involve the following elements:
*Re-thinking of party policies, strategies and approaches;
*Renewal of party leadership and membership;
*Talent-scout, nurture and develop a new generation of leaders to take over the future leadership and direction of DAP.
The greatest challenge for the party in the next three years is to re-invent the DAP to meet the aspirations of a new generation of Malaysians.
I would propose to the Central Executive Committee at its meeting next week the ambitions target of recruiting and nurturing 800 young professionals and university graduates into the party in the next three years to form the core of the new generation of DAP leaders to lead the DAP into the 21st century.
DAP to form a IT department to encourage party leaders to keep abreast with IT revolution.
What I read recently in another context on change and renewal is relevant to this three-year DAP programme of party renewal and revival:
“Yesterday natural resources defined power. Today knowledge is power .
“Yesterday hierarchy was the model, Today synergy is the mandate.
“Yesterday leaders commanded and control Led. Today .leaders empower and coach..
“Yesterday leaders were warriors. Today leaders are facilitators.
“Yesterday leaders demanded respect. Today leaders encourage sel f-respect.. ”
In the three-year party reform and revival, DAP must be fully conscious on the information technology (IT) revolution which has created a new paradigm where knowledge has replaced natural resources in defining power.
The DAP will set up an IT department to encourage party leaders and activists to keep abreast, with the TT revolu¬tion.
Parliament should get on-line with Ministers and MPs accessible to the public through the e-mail.
At present, there are only a handful of DAP leaders who are on the Internet. This is most, unsatisfactory. We should aim for a situation where getting on-line to the Internet and having access to the Information Superhighway is the rule rather than an exception.
In fact, this should not be confined to the DAP but should apply to all political parties. Parliament, should get online with Ministers and MPs accessible to the public through e-mail.
The Federal and State Governments should lead, the private sector in the use of the Internet, and work out a programme where more and more departments will be on the Internet.
This is why the DAP has been calling for a National Information Infrastructure (NII) policy for Malaysia where an important, strategy is for the Government, to act as a model user and customer of the information highway TO stimulate private sector developrnent.
The information highway infrastructure must be regard¬ed as an essential infrastructure for Malaysia, as. communication and information are the new resources upon which economic prosperity and competitiveness of nations will be built.
Mohamad Rahmat does not understand the concept of “a civil Society” a vocated by Anwar Ibrahim or he would not have banred the Justice Bao television series.
The information technology revolution has brought new ideas and challenges and all Malaysian political leaders, whether in government or opposition, must be keep abreast with them it they are not to be frowned by them.
The recent controversy over the ban on local television stations from telecasting the Justice Bao television series is a good example of how a strategic government department in the information sector had failed to rise up TO the challenges or an information society.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has become the strongest, advocate for “a cavil society” in Malay¬sia, speaking on it not only in his 1995 budget in Parliament last October, but returning to it as a recurrent theme in many of his speeches.
However, Anwar has not made sure that all his Cabinet Ministers understand the concept of “a civil society”
For instance, if the Information Minister, Datuk Mohamed Rahmat had understood the concept, of ”a civil Society”, the farce of the ban on the Justice Bao television series would not have occurred.
Last month, when speaking at the 1994 Annual Press Night, Anwar called on journalists to play a significant role in the creation of a free, civil society by stimulating the growth of government and non-governmental organisations including polit¬ical parties, professional bodies and volunteer organisations.
He said that a civil society had to stimulate diversity and seek a fair and open society where discussions of problems could be made in an open, clear and objective manner without being shackled by feudalistic thinking or being afraid of change.
He said a civil society should take into consideration the local situation, conditions, historical experience, and moral and cultural considerations.
“In creating a civil-society, we should not forget, our cultural and moral roots,” he said.
Malaysia cannot be creating “a civil society”, which promotes the importance of social movements to protect, the public sphere from governmental and commercial encroachments, when local television stations are not even allowed to telecast Justice Bao series.
What is most shocking is that the Information Ministry Secretary-General, Datuk Zawawi Mahmuddin, had said that Malay¬sians should be forward-looking, and not to look for the lessons of history from costume dramas from a foreign country, or the country would be going against the vision 2020.
The Cabinet, should impose a regulation making it mandatory for the Information Ministry chiefs to read and understand speeches by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister for they will find that they often quote Prophet Mohamad exhorting Muslims to be prepared to seek knowledge from any quarter.
When he visited China last August, where he also visited Confucius’ birthplace in Qufu, Shandong and addressed the International Conference on China and South-East Asia in the 2ist Century, Anwar referred to Prophet. Mohamad’s saying that one should seek knowledge in distant lands such as China.
Anwar said that. China was recognised even then as “a repository of wisdom and a fountain of the great truths and teachings which are indispensable for human civilization”.
What then is wrong for Malaysians to learn from Justice Bao series for its “good core Asian value such as justice, fairness, sharing, caring, looking after the downtrodden and disadvantage” and the uncompromising fight, against corruption?
In banning the Justice Ban television series, the Information Ministry is forgetting the moral and cultural roots, of significant sections of the Malaysian population.
The MCA President. Dat.uk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, who has undertaken to raise the issue of the ban on Justice Bao televi¬sion series on Wednesday’s Cabinet, should refer to all the speeches which Anwar Ibrahim had made on promoting “a civil society” in the past three years to buttress his arguments.
I hope Liong Sik and the Cabinet would not disappoint Malaysians with the good news of the lifting of the ban on the Justice Bao television series on Wednesday.
DAP calls on the Government not to proceed with the proposed amendments to restrict parliamentary questions and kill motion of urgent, definite public importance as they are against the spirit of “a civil society”
The proposed amendments to the Parliamentary Orders to restrict parliamentary questions to rive each for an MP tor a parliamentary meeting and the effective “killing” of mo¬tions of urgent definite public importance is another development which is against the spirit of “a civil society”.
Although these proposed amendments were withdrawn at the last minute from the last Parliamentary meeting, the indica¬tions are that they would be re-tabled in the forthcoming meeting of Parliament without, any amendments.
The Opposition MP on the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders Committee Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, tells me that no meeting of the Standing Orders Committee had been scheduled.
DAP calls on the Barisan National Government not to proceed with these draconian amendments to the Parliamentary Standing Orders, which will make the Malaysian Parliament, a mockery in the world.
There is an urgent need for parliamentary reforms to modernise parliamentary proceedings and procedures to make Parliament more relevant to changing needs and times in the era of information technology, but the proposed amendments are taking Parliament backwards instead of forwards.
I will seek a meeting with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to propose the establishment of an All Party Speaker’s Conference with wide-ranging terms of reference to consider and recommend parliamentary reforms, including amend¬ments to parliamentary proceedings, procedures and the Standing Orders.