Barisan Alternative leaders have reached agreement on the allocation of Parliamentary seats for a "one-to-one" contest between the Barisan Nasional and the Barisan Alternative in peninsular Malaysia

Media Comment
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Thursday): Leaders of the DAP, KeADILAN, PAS and PRM met today for the first time after the dissolution of Parliament to discuss the tenth general election, which provides the golden political opportunity to crush the Barisan Nasional political hegemony by ending  its uninterrupted two-thirds parliamentary majority in nine general elections in  42 years.

Barisan Alternative leaders who attended the meeting were KeADILan President, Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, KeADILan Deputy President, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, PAS President,  Datuk Fadhir Noor, PAS Vice President, Mustapha Ali, PRM President Dr. Syed Husin Ali, PRM Secretary-General Dr. Sanusi Othman, DAP National Chairman, Dr. Chen Man Hin and myself.

The meeting discussed preparations to make the next general election the most historic in Malaysian history in laying the basis for the restoration of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and a strategy to break the Barisan Nasional political hegemony.

Barisan Alternative leaders have reached agreement on the allocation of parliamentary seats  in Peninsular Malaysia among DAP, KeADILan, PAS and PRM for a "one-to-one" contest between the Barisan Nasional and the Barisan Alternative, and discussion on the allocation of the state assembly seats among the four opposition parties  is in the final stages and should be completed in the next few days.

The Barisan Alternative has decided to convene a meeting of leaders of the four parties in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to deepen strategy for the coming general election.

At the meeting, all Barisan Alternative leaders expressed grave concern that the tenth general election will be the "dirtiest" in the nationís history and whether the Election Commission will be able to discharge its constitutional mandate to conduct free and fair general election.

The Police and the Election Commission should ensure that the next general election is free, fair and clean.

In this connection, I welcome the statement by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai earlier today that the police do not foresee any untoward incidents to break out during the coming general election.

He said that he was "fully confident that all parties taking part in the coming general election will respect the laws and help maintain peace and order".

I fully agree with the Norian Mai, but Mahathir seems to have other ideas. Yesterday, he alleged  that the Opposition parties would "become violent" and  "start riots" when they realised that they were not going to win the general election.

This is a most unwarranted and unworthy allegation to come from the Prime Minister. The DAP had contested in seven general elections in the past three decades and we had never "become violent" and "start riots" because we did not win the election, including in 1999 when DAPís Tanjong 3 plan to capture power in the Penang state was crushed, winning only one State Assembly seat.

The DAP makes a public commitment that  its members and supporters will never "become violent" and "start riots" if we do not win - and we do not expect to topple Mahathir and Barisan Nasional from power in the next election, but to deny its two-thirds parliamentary majority. I have no doubt that the other Barisan Alternative parties are prepared to make a similar commitment.

The question is whether Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional parties are prepared to similarly make a public commitment that their members and supporters would be fully disciplined and would not "become violent" and "start riots" if they do not win the election or win back the two-thirds parliamentary majority.

If the Barisan Nasional is as responsible as the Barisan Alternative and make a public commitment to discipline their members and supporters to ensure that there would be no violence or riots, regardless of the outcome of the polls,  then Malaysians can look forward to the 10th general election as a festival for democracy, where the people can peacefully  and joyously exercise their democratic right to choose the government and elected representatives they want for the next five years.

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