1999 general election will be a "do or die" battle for DAP as well as for  democracy and justice in Malaysia

DAP National  General Elections Conference 
Lim Kit Siang 

(Klang,  Sunday): The 1999 general election is the nationís 10th general election and the DAPís eighth general election.

It will be a "do or die" battle for the DAP as well as for democracy and justice in Malaysia.

In the general election on November 29, the DAP can win an unprecedented victory in the DAPís 33-year history, better than the 1986 general election when DAP won 24 parliamentary seats or suffer unprecedented defeat, even worse than the 1995 general election when the DAPís parliamentary representation was slashed from 20 to nine MPs.

The DAP is taking very great political risks in teaming up with PAS, KeADILan and PRM to form the Barisan Alternative - not because this is an opportunistic and indefensible alliance, but because it gave the Barisan Nasional with its virtual monopoly of the 3Ms of money, media and government  machinery the opportunity to confuse and mislead the voters about the real issues at stake in the next general election.

The DAP will win unprecedented victory if Malaysian voters address the real issues at stake in the tenth general election - the restoration of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance by breaking the Barisan Nasional political hegemony and ending its uninterrupted two-thirds parliamentary majority.

The DAP will suffer unprecedented defeat, which may mark the end of the DAP, if the voters are confused, deflected and misled by the Barisan Nasional into believing that the central issues in the next election are  Islamic state,  May 13, economic recovery and whether to save Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad from being toppled as Prime Minister - which are the Barisan Nasionalís  four "trump-cards" in the forthcoming election.

These are all false issues - for the next general election is not whether Malaysia is to become an Islamic state, whether there is going to be another May 13, whether economic recovery is going to end resulting in no economic development and prosperity, and whether Mahathir is going to be toppled as Prime Minister.

The DAP will not have to face  the great risks of suffering unprecedented defeat if we fail  to counter and defuse the Barisan Nasionalís four trump-cards to confuse and mislead the voters if the DAP is standing  alone in the coming election.

Fighting on our own, the Barisan Nasional will not be able to use the four "trump cards" against the DAP, and we can look forward to winning 20 to 25 parliamentary seats.  In teaming up with PAS, KeADILan and PRM to form Barisan Alternative, assuming the best results, the DAP can look forward to 30 to 35 seats.

Is it  worthwhile hoping to win an extra five to ten parliamentary seats in the Barisan Alternative when the risks are so high that the DAP may suffer unprecedented defeat, because the Barisan Nasional will now be able to exploit its mass media monopoly to play the four "trump cards" against the DAP?

If the DAP is thinking soley in selfish party terms, the risks are too great and it is definitely not worth it.  However, if we believe that the  present election provides the golden historic  opportunity to break the political hegemony of the Barisan Nasional by ending its two-thirds parliamentary majority, then the risks are worth taking for the restoration of  justice and democracy, as well as  for the future of the people and nation.

If the DAP suffers unprecedented defeat in the next general election because the DAP is unable to counter and defuse the Barisan Nasionalís four trump-cards to confuse and mislead the voters, it will be a  tragedy for the DAP.  But it will be a greater tragedy for Malaysia if  the hopes of Malaysians that the new millennium will usher in a new era for justice and democracy is  crushed even before the new millennium has started in a monthís time!

I dare not think what Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional will do if  they  succeed in retaining two-thirds parliamentary majority despite the most serious challenge to the Barisan Nasional  power base in the nationís history.  These are some of the possible scenarios if the Barisan Nasional is returned with another thundering majority on Nov. 29, 1999:


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