Mahathir is guilty of sedition in inciting a May 13 and racial riots if the Barisan Nasional is not returned with a two-thirds majority in the next general election


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 
 

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The unabashed threat of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in Malacca yesterday that there would be May 13 and racial riots if the Barisan Nasional is not returned with a strong two-thirds majority in the next general election is most irresponsible and deplorable.

He is in fact guilty of sedition in inciting a May 13 and racial riots if the Barisan Nasional is not returned with a two-thirds majority in the next general election, and I call on the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah to uphold the law without  fear or  favour and initiate action to prosecute the Prime Minister for sedition.

Malaysians are shocked as to how a Prime Minister who could talk about Vision 2020 and creating a Bangsa Malaysia could yet threaten the people that there would be another May 13 and racial riots if the voters exercise their constitutional right to deny the Barisan Nasional its unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority in the next election.

On the one hand, Mahathirís  threat in Malacca reflects his lack of confidence that Barisan Nasional could be returned with a two-thirds majority in next election.

On the other, it shows the  desperate lengths Mahathir is prepared to go to ensure that he would not be the first UMNO Prime Minister in the countryís history  to be denied two-thirds majority in Parliament - to the extent of resorting to the politics of fear and intimidation as threatening another May 13 and racial riots!

Although  Mahathir  denied that he was  trying to frighten the people by saying that a  "weak" Barisan Nasional  government would  bring about chaos and  racial riots, this was precisely what Mahathir intended and had done in his speech in Malacca yesterday.

The Prime Minister added insult to injury when he claimed that his warning that there would be another May 13 if the Barisan fails to win a two-thirds majority was "factual"!

Mahathir said:  "If I don't tell the people this, then I am not carrying out my responsibilities."

I challenge Mahathirís claim that he was being "factual" and "responsible" in warning that there would be racial riots and another May 13 if the Barisan Nasional loses two-thirds majority in the next election.

What Mahathir said  was not only irresponsible, not "factual", but a perverse distortion of history.

Mahathir said in Malacca yesterday that the Barisan Nasional, along with the Alliance,  had won all  previous elections with a two-thirds majority except in 1969.

"We did not get two-thirds majority (in 1969) and there were riots.  This is clear proof that if we chose a weak government the peace in the  country is not assured."

In actual fact, the Alliance did not lose two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 1969 general elections.  The polling for the 1969 general elections was carried out on a staggered basis, with the polling date for Peninsular Malaysia on May 10, 1969, Sabah from 10th May to 25th May while for Sarawak from 10th May to 7th June 1969.

When the results for Peninsular Malaysia elections were announced after the May 10 polling, the Opposition had made great gains winning a total of 37 Parliamentary seats, comprising 13 for DAP, 12 for PMIP,  8 for Gerakan and 4 for Peopleís Progressive Party (PPP), with Alliance winning 66 seats.

To deny the Alliance two-thirds majority, the Opposition will have to collectively win at least 49 seats out of the total of 144 parliamentary seats, i.e. the Opposition will have to win at least 12 seats from the uncompleted elections in Sabah and Sarawak.

Elections in Sabah and Sarawak were suspended after the proclamation of emergency following the May 13 riots, and when elections in these two states resumed in May 1970, the Alliance secured its two-thirds parliamentary majority, as the Alliance won all the 16 Parliamentary seats in Sabah while talks were already afoot for SUPP, which won five parliamentary seats, to join in the coalition government with the Alliance.

What is most deplorable about Mahathirís statement is not  only his  distortion of  history, but for implying that riots are justified if the ruling coalition does not get two-thirds majority.

Mahathir should be ashamed for threatening that there would be a May 13 and racial riots if the Barisan Nasional is not returned with a two-thirds majority in the next election.

If the Barisan Nasional is denied two-thirds majority, it is because Malaysians of all races have realised the need for the beginning of far-reaching political change to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia - which has nothing to do with race whatsoever and therefore the question of May 13 and racial riots do not arise.

It is sad that the Prime Minister, instead of setting the example to all Malaysians to transcend the politics of race so that the country could move closer to the vision of a Bangsa Malaysia, has decided to resort to the traditional racial politics of "divide and rule" to anchor a two-thirds majority for  the Barisan Nasional in the next election.

(10/8/99)


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