Choice of destiny on Monday - whether Malaysia takes  a turn towards freedom and justice or  towards greater darkness from the present half-light of democracy?

Open Letter  to the 9.6 million Malaysian Voters
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Saturday): We are at the end of the 10th General Election campaign. It was been the dirtiest electoral campaign ever mounted by the Barisan National in our 42 year history as a free and independent nation. Indeed, by way of international norms, the Malaysian Election of 1999 has become the dirtiest electoral campaign waged in any nation claiming to be democratic.

The Barisan National has waged a campaign based on fear  and threats. The law-abiding and peaceful citizens of our country have been threatened with violence and anarchy  if the Barisan National is not returned to power. Distorted graphic images were brazenly displayed through the tightly controlled-media.

Shrill  incendiary and chilling statements by Dr. Mahathir and other leaders of the BN were wantonly aired to send a message of fear and hate. Distortions and outright lies augmented that message. Truth and decency were sacrificed for expediency.

The instruments of the state were blatantly used to further the narrow interests of a party that has forfeited the trust of the people. Public facilities were used shamelessly. The institutions of the country - from the police to the Election Commission including the public media - were employed with abandon to further the interests of the Barisan Nasional. 680,000 citizens were denied their constitutionally-guaranteed rights to exercise their vote.

This has not  been a fair  and free election. It has been an exercise in deception and deceit in order to claim the right to govern Malaysia in the same abusive manner as in the recent past.

DAP and  the Barisan Alternative have  endeavoured in the snap general election campaign, to expose;

The Barisan National record of misrule is clear. It is a most  shameful record .

DAP and the  Barisan Alternative have  developed and put forth a positive message of hope  for the future of Malaysia. Our message was one of re-building this beloved land of ours based on basic moral values; restoration of the rule of law; respect for the rights of citizens as enshrined in the Constitution; tolerance and the right to worship in freedom; a just and equitable economic system in which the fruits of development and growth are shared; restoration of the integrity of the judicial system; a curb on brutal police methods; repeal of all laws, including the Internal Security Act, that are oppressive, unjust, arbitrary and run counter to universal norms of good governance. These and other actions we proposed were contained in our Common Manifesto.

We have attempted to bring our message of hope to the people but our efforts were constrained by the Barisan National and its overwhelming control of the media.

Throughout our dignified campaign we projected and emphasized the positive aspects of Malaysian society and values. Throughout the campaign the Barisan Alternative, made up of all ethnic and religious groups, demonstrated that it is united in seeking "Justice For All".

We solemnly believe and subscribe to the view that Malaysians, despite their ethnic and religious diversity, are committed to coming together in creating a homeland in which all can prosper and contribute to the creation of common values. Our vision differs fundamentally from that of the Barisan National, which holds to a vision which  perpetuates  divisions through policies of divide and rule.

The  future and that of our children lies in the hands of the 9.6 million voters on Monday. I  urge the voters to choose wisely between the two alternative visions of the future.

The future that the Barisan Alternative offers the voters  is one that brings out the best in our land - freedom, justice and hope whereas the Barisan National offers the nation a continuation of discredited  policies based on abuse and suppression of the rights of the people, the pursuit of greed and the creation of an intolerant society.

Choose well. We do not seek power - we seek the right to protect and check the arbitrary use of power.  We do not seek self-aggrandizement but the opportunity to serve the people of this nation.

We shall project the  needs and aspirations of all Malaysians - not that of a single leader surrounded by a small group of individuals driven by their own agenda. We shall be the people’s representatives  - not their masters.

The only ones interested in causing instability are those afraid of losing power. Already, they have started a campaign of fear and intimidation. No  Malaysian - including the police and the armed forces - want strife.  Please, do not be taken in. Power has returned to the hands of the people.

Stop the power-hungry few that wish to replace freedom and progress with  corruption and waste. This opportunity to change the future of our nation may never come again. Voters must  think clearly and choose wisely. Malaysians may never again have this chance.

The future of our nation and generations of Malaysians to come lies in the hands of the 9.6 million voters. They should use their power as a voter to seize this historic opportunity to make Malaysia a more just, peaceful and progressive land.

The  9.6 million voters will be  making  a choice for themselves, their  family and our nation. The choice they  are being called upon to make is momentous.

We as a nation  stand at the crossroads of history. Do we take a turn towards freedom and justice or do we take a turn towards greater darkness from the present half-light of democracy?

That is the choice before Malaysia. The 9.6 million voters must make  that choice wisely. The lights of freedom, justice and hope  are flickering - the vote on Monday will  determine as to whether they are extinguished or brightened.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP Secretary-General, Parliamentary Candidate for Bukit Bendera and State Assembly candidate for Kebun Bunga