Shift from traditional to high-risk constituencies to highlight people’s opposition to Autopont and "gostan" policies of Barisan Nasional state and municipal governments

Statement (2)
- 1999 Election Nomination Day
Lim Kit Siang

(Penang,  Saturday): In Penang, DAP wants an effective, strong and even powerful opposition in the Penang State Assembly for it to come alive again, as in 1990 - 1995, when the DAP  initially had 14  out of 33 Assemblymen.

In the past five years, apart from Chong Eng, the lone DAP State Assemblywoman, the Penang State Assembly had been a "big yawn".

The DAP wants the Penang  election to focus on the  double failure  of the Penang State and Municipal Governments to improve the quality of life of the people in the State.

The people on the Penang Island, for instance, can do without a magician as a Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) President who could transform the "Pearl of the Orient" into the "Venice in the East" every time there are  a few hours of rain!

The Penang Chief Minister is also not without responsibility for this deplorable state of affairs, making promise after promise to resolve Penang island’s flashfloods nightmare - but the situation has gone from bad to worse.

The still-uncompleted  RM8 million  Autopont flyover at Jalan Masjid Negara is a monstrosity of an idea and structure, a symbol that the MPPP under Dr. Teng Hock Nam has become a monstrosity of a municipal government.

When asked what would happen in the event of an accident on the one-lane Autopont flyover, Dr. Teng said: "The flyover is not too long, the motorist can just reverse his car down the flyover".

Imagine a bumper-to-bumper jam on the one-lane Autopont flyover grinding to a halt because of an accident at  its centre, and everyone having to "gostan" down the Autopont!

The Autopont  is the best  symbol of the   Barisan Nasional state and municipal governments’ "gostan" policies  which are taking the people of Penang backwards towards a lower quality of life than five years ago, and the Penang voters should make clear their rejection of such Autopont "gostan" governance.

This is one reason why I am leaving what have been traditionally regarded as safe seats in Tanjong, both Parliament and state assembly, for the high-risk seats of Bukit Bendera and Kebun Bunga.

DAP leaders must be prepared to come out of their safe seats to fight high-risk constituencies for the sake of the people and party.

I have done it five times.  In 1978 general election, I moved  from the Kota Melaka parliamentary constituency to salvage the Petaling constituency;  in 1982, I moved  from the Malacca stronghold of Kubu state assembly seat to salvage the Bandar Hilir state assembly seat;   in 1986, I moved  from Kota Melaka parliamentary seat to Tanjung parliamentary seat;  in 1990 I  contested  against Dr. Lim Chong Eu in Padang Kota state assembly seat and in 1995, I  switched  from Padang Kota state assembly seat to Tanjung Bungah in Penang.

I had both success and defeat.  I lost in the 1982 switch to the Malacca state assembly seat in Bandar Hilir and the 1995 switch to the Penang state assembly seat of Tanjong Bungah.

There is no certainty that I can win in Bukit Bendera parliamentary constituency as the incumbent, Gerakan Secretary-General Chia Kwang Chye is a very formidable opponent.  I face an even tougher battle in Kebun Bunga, as the Gerakan incumbent wields the powerful advantages of being President of MPPP.

I can lose both in Bukit Bendera and Kebun Bunga, but if in the process, the people of Penang are given an effective opportunity to show their displeasure and opposition to the Barisan Nasional  state and municipal "gostan" policies, it would be worth it.

I said last night  that the DAP can either win or lose big in the Nov. 29 election.   If the  DAP wins big,  then the DAP will win all the seven Parliamentary seats we are contesting and 14 State Assembly seats.  If DAP loses big, then Penang will not have a single DAP Member of Parliament and DAP can also be wiped out in  the State Assembly.

The decision is in the hands of the voters of Penang.


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