(Penang, Saturday): The "ace" strategy of the Gerakan in the Sungai Bakap by-election is the "Mahathir card", to turn the by-election into a vote of confidence in Mahathir as Prime Minister and coerce the people to vote for Gerakan candidate by making the voters believe that a vote for Gerakan is a vote for Mahathir to continue as Prime Minister while a vote for DAP is a vote wanting Mahathir to resign as Prime Minister. I hope I have made my point that this "ace" strategy is a "strategy of poison" for there is no basis or truth in it.
Gerakan has a second strategy, the "development" card - to tell the people if they want development in their constituency, they should vote the Gerakan as a vote for the DAP is a vote against development; and furthermore, the threat that if the Gerakan loses in Sungai Bakap, all development projects and funds would be frozen and Sungai Bakap would be sent back to the "stone age"!
The Gerakan leaders forget that these "development" funds come from the taxpayers' money and as such, every Malaysian is entitled to development as a fundamental citizenship right - and not because he or she voted for the Gerakan. To hold otherwise is to countenance abuse of power and corruption of politics.
In September 1995, the people of Bagan spoke loud and clear that they want democracy as well as development and I call on the people of Sungai Bakap to give full endorsement to the people of Bagan and launch a new political movement in Penang where the government fully recognises the right of the people to development, and stop using it as a bait for votes.
In any event, the people of Sungai Bakap should have no fear that if the unthinkable happens, as Goh Kheng Huat is elected as State Assemblyman, all development projects and funds in the constituency would be frozen and the people sent back to the "stone age".
Firstly, DAP has enjoyed representation in many areas in the country in the past three decades, both at the parliamentary and state assembly level, and these constituencies had been among the most developed areas in the country rather than belonging to the "stone age".
Secondly, the reverse in fact is likely to happen. If the unthinkable happens, and the DAP wins the Sungai Bakap state assembly seat, there would be unprecedented development whether in Malay, Indian or Chinese areas unseen of in the past three decades - for the Barisan Nasional would go all out to win back the seat in the next general elections less than three years away.
The people of Sungai Bakap has nothing to lose and everything to gain in voting for the DAP in the by-election. It is in fact a "Double Win" situation - winning the benefits for the people and state in voting for the DAP while also winning more than what the Barisan Nasional would otherwise give in terms of development for the area for the next two or three years in the run-up to the next general elections.