Let the 30-Point Sungai Bakap Declaration for Good Government be the basis for Political Reforms in Penang and Malaysia for the next five years

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Thursday): During the Sungai Bakap by-election campaign, I had been at pains to explain the historic significance and possibilities of the by-election and to emphasise that it is not just deciding who should be the State Assemblyman for the area, but can affect the fundamental rights of all Penangites and Malaysians as well as future generations.

I had said that the voters of Sungai Bakap have a tryst with history on November 8, and the question is whether the people of Sungai Bakap will keep or miss this appointment with history on Saturday.

This appointment of the people of Sungai Bakap with history on Saturday is to be the voice and conscience of the Penang state and the Malaysian nation to demand for a good government and a better life for the people, whether at state or federal level, not only for themselves, but for all Penangites, Malaysians and future generations.

The DAP had put forward for endorsement by the people of Sungai Bakap on Saturday 20 Fundamental Positions, Demands and Aspirations as to why they want to "write history, create miracle", and I am proposing another ten Fundamental Positions, Demands and Aspirations For Good Government.

Let this be the 30-Point Sungai Bakap Declaration For Good Government and let it be the basis for Political Reforms in Penang and Malaysia for the next five years to bring about a good government and a better life for all.

The third batch of Ten Fundamental Positions, Demands and Aspirations For Good Government of the People of Sungai Bakap are as follows:

21. WELCOME the reductions of the motor vehicle, goods and public service vehicle driving licences to an increase of RM10 instead of the previous RM30 to RM40 increase, and CALL on the Barisan Nasional Government to cancel the increases in passports fees which were increased only 30 months ago immediately after the Barisan Nasional landslide victory in the April 1995 general elections, causing a 500-600 per cent increase in passport fees in a matter 30 months - which is clearly unfair and exorbitant, which can only confirm that another meaning of Barisan Nasionalís short-form as BN is "Barang Naik".

22. DEPLORE the inceasingly undemocratic practices in Parliament and the Penang State Assembly as a result of the landslide Barisan Nasional victory in the April 1995 general elections, reducing the DAP to a shadow of its former self, with the latest undemocratic manifestation being the slashing of the traditional nine-day debate in Parliament for budget to eight days, while in the Penang State Assembly, it is proposed to limit the right of each State Assembly member to speak for only 20 minutes.

23. DEMAND restoration of press freedom in Malaysia as guaranteed by Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution on freedom of speech. The one-sided coverage and unfairness of printed and electronic mass media can best be seen by the radio and television reporting of the Sungai Bakap by-election, where Gerakan leaders are given full exposure while the DAP is completely shut out.

24. EXPRESS grave concern at the latest use of the Internal Security Act where three Malaysians, namely Ustaz Abdullah Hassan, former PAS activist from Pendang Kedah, Paharuddin Mustapha, former PRM activist from Bukit Mertajam and Kamarulzaman Ismail from Muar, Johore, have just been detained under ISA, raising the question whether there could be a repetition of Operation Lalang ten years ago where over 100 Malaysians, including 16 DAP leaders and MPs, were arbitarily detained without trial; and DEMAND a repeal of the Internal Security Act to restore to Malaysians their fundamental liberties enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution.

25. PLEDGE full support to Member of Parliament Lim Guan Eng in his brave and courageous battle to fight corruption and establish integrity in high political places regardless of his own personal risks, so that Malaysia can have a good reputation, and DECLARE that Lim Guan Eng should be rewarded for making a distinctive contribution in Malaysian nation-building rather than being persecuted and victimised as if he is an anti-national criminal.

26. EXPRESS grave disappointment that the Anti-Corruption Agency has again proven itself to be a toothless tiger, as no action has been taken against the UMNO Vice President and former Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, whether by the ACA or the Inland Revenue Department although the Brisbane Court had fixed May 18 for his trial on two charges, one for failing to declare over A$1.2 million (RM2.4 million) in cash when leaving Australia last December and the second, for making a false declaration report that RM20,000 valued at A$9,793 was transferred into Australia; and DEMAND that the people be given a full accounting as what actions the ACA, the Inland Revenue Board and other government agencies had taken in the case of Muhammad Taib to ensure that there are no double-standards in anti-corruption investigations.

27. EXPRESS grave concern at the latest Cabinet decision banning academicians from public institutions of higher learning from making "negative" statements about "sensitive" matters like the haze and the environment, which is a step backwards especially at a time when greater openness, transparency and freedom for dissent and diversity of views is important in restoring confidence in the face of the grave national economic crisis facing the country; and CALL on the Cabinet to rescind the ban to allow academicians to keep Malaysians fully informed about environmental degradation as part of the important process to create greater public concerns and awareness about environmental quality and make it an important national agenda.

28. CALL on Penang to become the model state in Malaysia as far as popularising Information Technology among the people is concerned, so that Penang would be the first state to achieve the highest rate of IT-literacy, competence and fluency, with every family having a computer.

29. ENDORSE the DAPís call in the 1995 general elections for Full Liberalisation and Greater Democratisation and specifically, CALL on the government to introduce a new policy to allow the establishment of new Chinese and Tamil primary schools in areas where there are enough parents who want to send their children to receive primary education in the language medium concerned, with the government fully responsible for the full costs of the building of the new Chinese and Tamil primary schools.

30. SEND OUT a clear message that the people in Penang wants to see the end of the 30-month political vacuum in Penang and the return of DAP to an active and dynamic role in Penang politics.


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