Fifteen months before Anwar’s Reformasi movement, the people of Teluk Intan had pioneered  the movement for political change in an historic by-election result

DAP Teluk Intan Deepavali reception
Lim Kit Siang  

(Teluk Intan, Thursday): Anwar Ibrahim’s Reformasi movement is now the centre of political attention, both nationally and internationally.

Fifteen months before Anwar’s Reformasi movement, the people of Teluk Intan had already pioneered the national movement for change in the  historic Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election, regarded as an invincible  Barisan Nasional stronghold.

In the event, the voters of Teluk Intan "wrote history, created miracle" and caused a Richter 6 political earthquake on May 17, 1997 by electing M. Kulasegaran as the DAP Member of Parliament for Teluk Intan, reversing  not only the 13,968-vote Barisan Nasional majority in the 1995 general elections but also winning with a majority of  2,916 votes - or a resounding turnaround of 16,884 votes.

In the Teluk Intan by-election, the people of Teluk Intan made clear their demands for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia - which have become even more pertinent and relevant today with the gross abuses of executive power at the expense of both the legislative and judicial branches of government, as highlighted by the cases of DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the deepening crisis of confidence in the rule of law, resulting in a political crisis of the first magnitude in the country.

The demands of Malaysians for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance did not start with Anwar’s sacking from government on Sept. 2 this year  but the manifest injustices in the Anwar case has added great force and power to the political ferment in the country.

After the Teluk Intan by-election and the Arau by-election results, the possibility of denying the Barisan Nasional its traditional two-thirds parliametnary  majority is no more an academic question , and such a possibility has been greatly boosted by the public outrage over the manifest lack of justice and fair play in the Anwar case which has resulted in a sea-change of political attitudes particularly in the Malay society.

We must ensure that what was started in the Teluk Intan by-election fifteen months ago to raise the standard of  political change in the people’s demands  for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance finds fruition in the  next general elections with the removal of the Barisan Nasional’s parliamentary two-thirds majority, which would be the greatest political event in Malaysian electoral history to force  the government to be more accountable to Parliament and sensitive and responsive to the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all Malaysians.


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