Sungai Bakap by-election - Ten Fundamental Positions, Demands and Aspirations

by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): On 9th September 1995, in less than five months after the April 1995 general elections, when democracy in Malaysia was plunged into darkness as a result of the worst general electoral debacle in the history of DAP, democracy was given a new hope and a new lease of life when the voters of Bagan in the Bagan by-election returned Lim Hock Seng as DAP Member of Parliament for Bagan with a majority 100 times bigger than the previous 118-vote majority - a stunning and unbelievable 11,802-vote majority. For this Bagan won the name "Bandar Democracy".

On 17th May 1997, the people of Teluk Intan "wrote history, created miracle" and generated a Richter 6 political earthquake in Malaysia when they wiped out the 13,968-vote majority of the Gerakan in the April 1995 general elections and elected M. Kulasegaran as the new DAP MP for Teluk Intan with a 2,916-vote majority - an awesome turnaround of 16,884 votes. For brilliantly upholding the fundamental constitutional rights of all Malaysians, Teluk Intan won the appellation of "Defend Constitution Town".

Sungai Bakap is a much more difficult seat for the DAP than either Bagan or Teluk Intan and the chances of DAP winning the Sungai Bakap hardly exists. In fact, a DAP victory in Sungai Bakap would be equivalent to a Richter 7 political earthquake - creating even greater political tremors and writing "greater history" in Malaysian politics than the Teluk Intan by-election.

I do not expect a Richter 7 political earthquake on Nov. 8 but I do not rule out a Richter 6 political earthquake in the Sungai Bakap by-election, which would be created when the Gerakan majority is slashed from 5,327 votes to below 500 votes.

A Richter 6 political earthquake in Sungai Bakap in reducing the Gerakan majority to less than 500 votes is as great a "history" and "miracle" as the DAP victory in the Teluk Intan by-election, although a Richter 7 political earthquake with a DAP victory, which is completely unthinkable and virtually impossible, would mean that the people of Sungai Bakap would have written written even greater "history" and created even greater "miracle" than the people of Teluk Intan.

The voters of Sungai Bakap have a tryst with history on Nov. 8 - whether to create a Richter 6 or Richter 7 political earthquake, which would send tremors throughout the country, make Sungai Bakap an instant household name among Malaysians and enter the history books to be the inspiration of future generations.

This is the occasion for the people of Sungai Bakap to use the by-election to speak up and be the conscience and voice of the Penang state and the Malaysian nation to demand for a better government, whether at state or federal level, not only for themselves, but for all Penangites, Malaysians and future generations.

Whatever the final outcome of the Sungai Bakap by-election result on November 8, let the voters of Sungai Bakap stand on the side of history by speaking loud and clear on behalf of Malaysians of all races in all parts of the country their fundamental demands, aspirations and stands.

The people of Sungai Bakap should make the Sungai Bakap by-election even more meaningful and historic by adopting the first Ten Fundamental Positions, Demands and Aspirations of the Sungai Bakap by-election for all Malaysians.

These first Ten Fundamental Positions, Demands and Aspirations of the Sungai Bakap by-election are as follows:

1. DECLARE clearly and unequivocally that the Sungai Bakap by-election is not a vote of confidence in Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister and deplore any mischievous, irresponsible and unpatriotic attempt to turn the by-election into such a vote of confidence, which is a no-win situation as a single vote loss from the previous Gerakan majority of 5,327-vote majority could then be used by the international media as proof of the failure of the Prime Minister to pass such a confidence test.

2. DECLARE full support to Mahathir as Prime Minister if there is any international conspiracy involving foreign powers, whether the United States or any Western nation, seeking to topple the Prime Minister as unwarranted and intolerable foreign interference in domestic political affairs as whether Mahathir should continue or resign as Prime Minister is an issue which must be decided solely by Malaysians themselves;

3. DECLARE full support to Mahathir to take all necessary measures to overcome the national economic crisis, which had started with the twin crisis of currency and stockmarket and which may spread to property market; but this support is not blind or uncritical support, reserving the right to criticise and even oppose policies and measures which are wrong, misguided or counter-productive to the primary objective of restoring national and international confidence in the economy.

4. CALL on Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to modify the 1998 Budget presented to Parliament on October 17 to take into account the hardships of the ordinary people, as in:

5. DISMISS as wild, irresponsible and preposterous the allegation by Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik that DAP "had joined hands with external enemies to destroy the people’s confidence in the government" which is clearly calculated to create conditions to justify the arrests of DAP leaders under the Internal Security Act on the grounds that they are disloyal, anti-national and traitors of the nation.

6. On the 10th anniversary of the Operation Lalang mass arrests of DAP leaders and MPs, social activists, trade unionists, Chinese educationists, religious workers, DEMAND the repeal of the Internal Security Act and other undemocratic and draconian laws and provisions which stifle the growth of democracy, like the Official Secrets Act, the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Police Act.

7. DEMAND that the Malaysian Government claim compensation from the Indonesian Government for the billions of ringgit of losses suffered by the economy, environment and health of Malaysians as a result of the national haze disaster, the worst global environmental catastrophe in recent times, and to demand that the Federal and the Penang State Government to give an undertaking that the 1997 haze would the last worst haze in the country and that the people and future generations are guaranteed clean air and water.

8. OPPOSE the unfair North-South Highway privatisation contract which gives PLUS the right to increase toll rates every year for the next 21 years until 2018, with the government having to pay compensation from the taxpayers’ money if any portion of such increase is not allowed; and DEMAND that the North-South Highway contract should be renegotiated to remove the right of PLUS to impose such annual toll rate increases.

9. RESTORE a strong and effective Opposition in Penang as between 1990-1995 when the DAP had 13 Assembly members in the Penang State Assembly.

10. DEMAND that the Northern Regional International Airport should be sited back in Penang state to check the general economic, social and political decline of Penang after the last general elections.


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