Call on voters of Tampin to transform Repah from a non-seismic to a seismic zone to generate a political earthquake, of whatever Richter scale, to endorse the call of the voters of Teluk Intan for justice and fair play in Malaysia.


Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Tampin, Tuesday): I had said that I was not very keen in a DAP contest in the Repah state assembly by-election and I had asked the Negri Sembilan DAP State Committee to reconsider its decision recommending that the DAP field a candidate.

My reservations about the DAP contesting the Repah state assembly seat are firstly: Repah is a traditional stronghold of the Barisan Nasional, belonging to an even higher class of Barisan Nasional strongholds than the Teluk Intan parliamentary seat, which was once captured by the DAP 28 years ago in the 1969 general elections. In contrast, Repah had never fallen into DAP hands in the past three decades.

Secondly, in the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election on Saturday, 17th May 1997, the voters of Teluk Intan responded to the DAP call to "write history, create miracle" by creating a Richter 6 "political earthquake" when the Barisan Nasionalís 13,968-vote majority in the April 1995 general elections was wiped out with the DAP winning instead with a 2,916-vote majority - an awesome turnaround of 16,884 votes.

It is such an awesome turnaround of 16,884 votes which qualify the Teluk Intan by-election to be described as a political earthquake of Richter 6 scale.

If a general elections is held and there is a Richter 6 "political earthquake", three out of four MCA Ministers would be defeated, including the MCA President and Minister for Transport, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik (Labis), MCA Vice President and Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng (Bakri) and MCA Secretary-General and Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh.

Only the MCA Deputy President and Minister for Human Resources, Datuk Lim Ah Lek will surive a Richter 6 political earthquake, as the majority of the other three MCA Ministers were respectively 15,045 for Liong Sik, 12,318 for Jui Meng and 14,788 for Chew Peh and would not survive a 16,884-vote swingaround as happened in Teluk Intan. Lim Ah Lekís majority was 17,253.

The Presidents of two other Barisan Nasional parties, Gerakan President and Minister for Primary Industries Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and the MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Samy Vellu would also fall in a Richter 6 "political earthquake" as their respective majorities in the last general elections were 11,254 (Beruas) and 15,610 (Sungei Siput).

All in all, with a Richter 6 political earthquake, Barisan Nasional will lose a total of 27 Parliamentary seats presently held by its MPs to the DAP, comprising 10 in Perak (MCA 6, Gerakan 2, MIC 2); 4 in Penang (Gerakan 2 and MCA 2); five in Selangor (MCA 4 and MIC 1); three in Federal Terittory, two in Johore and Pahang and one in Negri Sembilan. These involve five Cabinet Ministers and four Deputy Ministers.

I am not saying that this will happen in the next general elections but to point out the magnitude of the meaning of the Teluk Intan by-election last Saturday.

Teluk Intan can be described as a politically "seismic zone" as there had been two "seismic" activities, once in the 1969 general elections when the DAP caused an upset when Chan Fu King defeated the MCA incumbent, the MCA Minister for Health, Dr. Ng Kam Poh to become the DAP Member of Parliament for Teluk Anson.

There was an earlier "seismic" history in Teluk Intan in a 1961 parliamentary by-election when the Alliance was defeated by an Independent candidate, Too Joo Hing - a former MCA Deputy Education Minister.

However, Repah is in a non-seismic zone, as there had been no "seismic" political history in the past, which is why the Barisan Nasional is so supremely confident about the Repah by-election, with the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Mohamad Isa, challenging the DAP to contest in Repah and MCA national leaders going round the country declaring that they would not only retain the Repah state seat, but with an even bigger majority than in the 1995 general elections.

It is for these two reasons that I was toying with the idea that MCA be given a walk-over. The argument against such a walkover for MCA is that the voters of Repah would be denied the many "goodies" in terms of instant development projects as well as promises of more development projects to come if the DAP contests in Repah.

However, this must be weighed against the expenses, resources and efforts which the DAP must mount in such a Class One Barisan Nasional traditional stronghold when fighting a by-election with all the odds stacked against our favour.

However, what swung me around in fully supporting a DAP contest in Repah is my great disappointment at the failure of the Barisan Nasional leaders to realise the historic importance, magnitude and meaning of the Teluk Intan Richter 6 "political earthquake", dismissing the 16,884-vote swing-around in the past two years as mere "sympathy votes" for the DAP.

This is an insult not only to the people of Teluk Intan but also to all Malaysians, for the voters of Teluk Intan voted and spoke up not only for themselves but for all Malaysians when they passed mid-term judgement on what the Barisan Nasional government had done in the last two years. This is also why the people of all races greeted the Teluk Intan by-election result, first with shock, then relief, joy and rejoicing - regarding the Teluk Intan by-election result as a gift to all Malaysians.

When the people of Teluk Intan responded to the DAPís call to "write history and create miracle", it is not to show sympathy to the DAP for our worst electoral debacle in the 1995 general elections, but to speak up on behalf of all Malaysians as to their concerns and dissatisfactions about many things which had gone wrong in the past two years.

High on the list of these concerns and unhappiness of the people are corruption; abuse of powers by the Attorney-General in his selective prosecution of the Opposition and NGOs; inflation and the unjustified increases of privatised services like the latest Tenaga Nasional hike in power tariffs; unfair alienation of land; insensitivity to the rights and proper place for the various languages, cultures and religions in Malaysia, like the most unpopular advance of RTM telecasts of Mandarin and Tamil news by another half an hour; etc.

The historic importance, magnitude and meaning of the Teluk Intan by-election result will go to waste if the Barisan Nasional is allowed to dismiss it as "sympathy votes" for the DAP.

This is where the people of Repah must play their historic national duty to transform Repah from a non-seismic to a seismic zone to generate a political earthquake on polling day of the by-election on May 29 - of whatever Richter scale - to endorse the call of the voters of Teluk Intan for justice and fair play, a good, clean and honest government.

Is this asking too much of the voters of Repah? Is it possible to transform a non-seismic zone like Repah to a seismic zone - even if not of the Richter 6 scale of Teluk Intan or the Richter 3 scale of Bagan by-electon on Sept. 9, 1995, but at least of whatever Richter scale.

It is well known that places in the world which are not in naturallyseismic areas can have induced earthquakes, as for instance, if a huge dam is constructed forcing radical movements of underground structures. This is why environmentalists are worried that the Bakun dam, the tallest dam of its kind in the world, might induce earthquakes in Sarawak although the state is not in a natural seismic zone.

I believe that this applies to the political scene as well. Although Repah does not fall into the natural seismic political zone, the frustrations, unhappiness and grievances against the injustices, abuses and misuses of power, corruption and all forms of fair play could be dammed up for so long that it could induce a political earthquake in the by-election.

This is the question all Malaysians will want to know on polling day of the by-election on May 29, as to whether Repah can create a political earthquake of whatever Richter scale to endorse the call of the voters of Teluk Intan for justice and fair play - or whether it would have been wiser for the DAP to give the MCA a "walkover" in the by-election.

(20/5/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong