If the DAP falls prey to the  four Barisan Nasional "trump-cards"  causing DAP to suffer unprecedented defeat in the next general election, then I will  retire from Malaysian politics

Malacca DAP pre-general election ceramah
Lim Kit Siang 

(Malacca,  Thursday):  The  DAP is fighting its  eighth general election with very mixed feelings.

On the one hand, we have  high hopes that the people and country can make a great political breakthrough to smash the Barisan Nasional political hegemony and uninterrupted parliamentary two-thirds majority if they can agree that the real issues in the next general election is to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance - where the Lim Guan Eng case of injustice and political persecution would have been completely unthinkable.

On  the other hand, however, we have  deep apprehensions that the DAP could do so badly at the polls as to be wiped out altogether if the Barisan Nasionalís four "trump-cards" to confuse, mislead and scare voters into believing that the Nov. 29 general election is about the establishment of an Islamic State, another May 13, no economic recovery, development and prosperity or about Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamadís being toppled as Prime Minister.

If the tenth general election is free, fair and clean, the DAP stands the chance of achieving unprecedented victory, better than our best electoral result of 1986 when we won 24 parliamentary and  37 State Assembly seats after polling 968,009 votes or 20.3 per cent of the national vote.

However, if the next general election is the "dirtiest" in the nationís history, as forecast by Mahathir (and only the Barisan Nasional and not the Barisan Alternative parties have the capabilities to make the Nov. 29 poll the "dirtiest" in history), then DAP might suffer unprecedented defeat, even worse than the 1995 general election when the DAP was decimated to nine Parliament and 11 State Assembly seats, polling  722,176 votes or 12.08 of the national vote.

The DAPís apprehensions that the general election results on Nov. 29 could be exceedingly good or atrociously bad has been confirmed by a a survey conducted by the Star which  found that  in the next election,  63 per cent of voters  who have decided will vote for the Barisan Nasional,  21 per cent for  PAS, six per cent for KeADILan, five per cent for  DAP and five per cent to others.

In the Star survey:

If the Star survey is right that 63 per cent of the voters will vote for Barisan Nasional, with only five per cent support for the DAP, then the DAP may be wiped out altogether on Nov. 29 and be completely unrepresented in Parliament for the first time in three decades.

In the first general election to be contested by the DAP 30 years ago in 1969, the DAP won 13 Parliamentary seats after polling 11.9 per cent of the national vote, and the DAP had never polled less than this first performance in the subsequent six general elections.  Even in 1995, when the DAP suffered our worst electoral debacle with nine parliamentary seats, we polled  12.08 per cent of the national vote.

Malaysian general election had always been very undemocratic and unfair to the Opposition, and from our past experience, if the DAP is to win one per cent of the parliamentary seats, we have to win four or five per cent of the national vote!

If in the next election, as forecast by the Star  survey, the DAPís national vote is reduced to five per cent, then the DAPís Parliamentary score is either one or zero in the tally on Nov. 29.

This will be a great tragedy for the DAP, which is only a matter which affects DAP members and supporters.  But even more serious, it will be a great tragedy for the nation and people for it would be a historic opportunity lost to deny Barisan Nasional its unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority in the past four decades resulting in the consolidation of  a political hegemony which will further threaten  justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

Furthermore, if the Star survey is right that PAS will secure  21 percent of the national vote, then PAS will win about 20 - 25 Parliamentary seats - as in the 1995 general election, PAS won seven parliamentary seats with 7.31 per cent of the national vote.

The Star survey  forecasts  of  63 per cent support for Barisan Nasional, 21 per cent support for PAS, six per cent support for KeADILan and five per cent support for DAP would be translated into another landslide victory for  Barisan Nasional with its  two-thirds majority intact, PAS with 20 - 25 parliamentary seats, Keadilan  1 - 3 seats while the DAP get 0 - 1 seat.

Fourteen months ago, such a possibility of the DAP fighting the general election with the prospect of either unprecedented victory or unprecedented defeat would have been unthinkable - as the MCA and Gerakan leaders were very nervous of suffering massive repudiation by the electors.

In less than five months after the April 1995 general election debacle, DAP won the Bagan by-election with a majority 100 times the general election majority - i.e. 11,802 votes as compared to 118 votes.

Twenty months after the Bagan by-election, DAP created a political earthquake when we won another by-election in Teluk Intan, regarded as an invincible Barisan stronghold which the Gerakan cannot lose and the DAP cannot win. However, the DAP wiped out the 13,968    majority of the Barisan Nasional in 1995, winning with a 2,916   majority - a turnaround of  16,884 votes.

If the Teluk Intan wind blows in the general election, creating 16,884-vote turnarounds as compared to the 1995 general election, a total of 27 Barisan Nasional MPs, including five Ministers and four Deputy Ministers will fall - and the five Ministers are MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, Gerakan President Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik, MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, and two MCA Ministers, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh and Datuk Chua Jui Meng.

After the Teluk Intan by-election, there were even more injustices which further alienated the  people from the Barisan Nasional government and made Malaysians more  conscious of the need for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, as the Lim Guan Eng case, the RM3 billion pig-rearing industry disaster as a result of Nipah virus outbreak causing the death of 105 lives and the destruction of one million pigs without adequate government compensation, the trigger-happy police killing of innocent people, etc.

But fourteen months later, the MCA is suddenly  so optimistic prospects that Liong Sik could even publicly talk about 99 per cent of the Chinese voting for Barisan Nasional in the next election.

This is because Anwarís sacking, "black-eye", detention and trial and  the ensuing political crisis and developments had given the MCA and Gerakan the opportunity to deploy the four "trump cards" to confuse, mislead and scare non-Malay voters  into believing, for instance,  that a vote for the DAP is a vote for PAS and an Islamic state.

For 33 years, the DAP had  never  compromised our political principles  for the fundamental rights of Malaysians for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance - one of the cardinal principle of which is for a secular and democratic Malaysia and insistence that an Islamic state is unsuitable and inappropriate for plural Malaysia.

Many DAP leaders had paid a heavy price for the DAPís principles  for the rights of the people in the past three decades. I was detained twice under the Internal Security Act, Guan Eng was detained under the Internal Security Act for 18 months in 1987-89 and  just completed his one-year jail, losing his MP status as well as disenfranchised from standing as a candidate in the tenth general election. Other DAP leaders who had lost their freedom because they refused to compromise their political principles include Karpal Singh, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, Tan Kok Wai, Kerk Kim Hock and  Sim Tong Hin.

The 33-year track record of DAP and its leaders provide ample evidence that we are a party which will not compromise our political principles for short-term gain, including the DAP position against the establishment  of an Islamic State.

If after the sacrifices of the DAP leaders in the past 33 years, the people could still fall easy prey to the four "trump cards" of the Barisan Nasional, particularly that a vote for DAP is a vote for PAS,  this will my greatest political disappointment and failure in 33 years in politics.
If the DAP succumbs  to the  four Barisan Nasional "trump-cards" in the general election  causing DAP to suffer unprecedented defeat in the next general election, then I will  retire from Malaysian politics.


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