(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): DAP will contest the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election next month and Perak DAP State Committee has been instructed to set up a Teluk Intan by-election committee to prepare for the by-election.
There have been two schools of thought as to whether the DAP should contest the Teluk Intan by-election.
The view that the DAP should stay out of the Teluk Intan by-election is that the DAP has not fully recovered from the 1995 general elections debacle where the DAP in Perak was totally wiped out, losing all parliamentary seats and managing to win only one State Assembly seat in Sitiawan. Furthermore, Teluk Intan is a strong Barisan Nasional seat and the by-election would be a very uphill difficult battle for the DAP.
In favour of taking part in the by-election is that the DAP should not allow the Barisan Nasional to win uncontested in Teluk Intan. But even more important are the strong views of the people of Teluk Intan that the DAP should contest the Teluk Intan by-election to give the voters in the constituency the chance to make their voice heard - whether it be about the endless increase in prices despite the government’s "zero inflation" campaign or the failure of the Barisan Nasional to look after the developmental needs of Teluk Intan.
The DAP respects the views of the people of Teluk Intan and we will be contesting in the Teluk Intan by-election and we hope that we can get good support from the voters of Teluk Intan.
The DAP may have to face three by-elections - the parliamentary constituency in Teluk Intan, the State Assembly seat of Kemena in Sarawak and the Parliamentary constituency of Kota Melaka.
On Monday, 28th April, 1997, the Malacca High Court would hand down the judgment on the trial of DAP Deputy Secretary-General, DAPSY National Chairman and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, for offences under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act which could, on conviction, lead to his disqualification as Member of Parliament.
The announcement by the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud that Datuk Celestine Ujang anak Jilan would remain as Sarawak Minister of Land Development although his election in the state assembly constituency of Kemena in the Sarawak state general elections last September had been declared null and void by the election court is most shocking and an example of the arrogance of power of the Sarawak Barisan Nasional and utter disrergard of basic democratic norms and practices as well as the sensitivites of the people.
Taib’s claim that "In our system, the Chief Minister can appoint a person to the post of Cabinet Minister if the same person is to be nominated as a candidate within a six-month period" as justification for allowing Celestine Ujang to remain as State Minister is unacceptable and insupportable whether from the standpoint of political morality, democratic accountability or constitutional authority.
There must be a clear distinction between the dissolution of the State Assembly, where the State Ministers remain in office as an "interim government" until the holding of the general elections, and the case of Celestine Ujang - whose election in September last year had been declared null and void, meaning he should never had been considered as an Assemblyman after September last year. This means that Celestine Ujang had been an unlawful Minister for more than seven months.
What constitutional law is there to permit Celestine Ujang to continue as an unlawful State Minister for another six months? Does this mean that even if Celestine Ujang is defeated in the Kemena by-election which must be held in the next 60 days, he could still remain as State Minister of Land Development if the Chief Minister decides to create another by-election within the remaining four months where Celestine would be fielded as a candidate and given a second by-election to fight to find a seat in the Sarawak State Assembly?
This is a most preposterous argument completely without constitutional basis or democratic legitimacy. DAP has instructed our lawyers to study the legality of Celestine Ujang remaining as Sarawak State Minister of Land Development despite his election as an Assemblyman being declared null and void by the election judge on Monday - and we will not hesitate to institute legal proceedings to challenge this preposterous practice.