The Malaysian Chinese Organisations Election Appeals should be the basis for a Reform Agenda for the new Parliament after the next general election

dialogue between Barisan Alternative and Malaysian Chinese Election Appeals Working Committee
Lim Kit Siang 

(Kajang, Tuesday):  A general election is not only a contest of political parties and candidates, it is also a contest of voices, as the polling day would decide not only which political party and candidate wins, but also what are the voices which will prevail in policy-making for the next five years.

The approach of a general election is therefore the right and proper time for the voices of the people which had hitherto been ignored and disregarded by the government and Parliament to make themselves heard, whether in the form of appeals, wish-lists, aspirations or demands, for this is the very essence of  a democratic system based on the principle of the sovereignty of the people.

It is the fundamental democratic right of citizens in a democratic society to make appeals or demands in a general election, for this is the time when the mandate of power is returned to the people to decide who should get a new mandate to rule - whether by renewing the mandate of the previous incumbent political coalition or to a new political coalition.

In fact, the appearance of  many of these election appeals or demands, whether it be the 17-Point Malaysian Chinese Organisations Election Appeals which has received the endorsement of over 2,000 Chinese organisations, "People Are the Boss" Declaration, "Return Governance to People" Declaration,  Demands of Indian Malaysians For a Better Future, Women’s Agenda 1999, Declaration on Workers and Trade Unions Priorities initiated by 17 Unions on Sunday, and the forthcoming People’s Manifesto, are healthy signs of a vibrant civil society without which there could be no meaningful democracy.

Citizens who cannot make demands, by expressing their aspirations whether in the form of Election Appeals or People’s Manifesto, do not  enjoy the full  rights of a democratic society but are only living in the half-light of democracy.

Only those who are undemocratic or  have  feudalistic mentality will regard such appeals or demands to voice out the people’s aspirations during election time as "threats" to the government or try turn them   into political irrelevance by declaring that they are not election demands but "a list of aspirations and appeals with no time frame for them to be realised or implemented" and completely unrelated to the forthcoming 10th national general election.

The objective of the Hua Tuan Election Appeals has been correctly stated in its Preamble where it called upon all political parties and candidates in the coming general elections to declare their support and endorsement and  to jointly work together towards their realisation.  The Hua Tuan Election Appeals Working Committee is right in refusing to be diverted from this objective by rejecting the invitation to the National Economic Consultative Council (NECC) II.

DAP fully supports and endorses the 17-point Malaysian Chinese Organisations Election Appeals on national unity, democracy, human rights, justice, corruption, a fair and equitable economic policy, privatisation, education, culture, environment, new villages, housing, women’s rights, mass media, police, social services, labour and the indigenous peoples.

In fact, I can say that there is virtually not a single one of the 83 proposals in the 17-point Election Appeals which had not been advocated by the DAP whether inside or outside Parliament in the past three decades.  For this reason, the DAP can declare that we are in full support of all the 83 proposals of the 17-point Election Appeals.

The Malaysian Chinese Organisations Election Appeals, together with the other Election Appeals and Demands as well as the Election Manifesto of the Barisan Alternative which would be launched later this month,  should be the basis for a Reform Agenda for the new Parliament after the next general election.

This is why it is important that political parties and candidates contesting in the next general election should be made to declare their specific support for the 83 proposals and 17 points of the Malaysian Chinese Organisation Election Appeals.


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