Will Keng Yaik resign as Cabinet Minister if UMNO embarks on a spiral of Islamisation policies to compete with PAS to win back the Malay heartland?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Friday): I thank the DAP Central Executive Committee for its confidence and trust in appointing me as the second DAP National Chairman on the resignation of Dr. Chen Man Hin after 33 years of distinguished leadership of the DAP.

I am very touched by the avalanche of emails, faxes, letters and phone calls from Malaysians of all races, religions, gender and age in the past three days expressing support and encouragement to continue with the political struggle despite the catastrophic result of Mondayís general election.

I pledge to continue the struggle for the restoration of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance although I will not be in Parliament for the first time in three decades and the country is facing a very uncertain and perilous future as a result of the very skewed election outcome, seriously marginalising the only true, consistent and fearless political force for a secular Malaysia - the DAP.

As Malaysians, we must all take responsibility for failing to make use of the historic political opportunity to bring about a paradigm shift in Malaysian politics in the new millennium by smashing the Barisan Nasional political hegemony and two-thirds majority.

If the Chinese had not succumbed to the MCA/Gerakanís politics of fear and falsehoods in making them believe that a vote for DAP is a vote for PAS and an Islamic State, the opposition benches in Parliament will be filled by not only a stronger PAS, but also a stronger DAP, a stronger Keadilan and with MPs from  PRM - laying the basis for  a new Malaysian politics less dominated by race and religion but by issues of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

I would urge all Malaysians who agree with the DAPís grave apprehensions about the very uncertain and perilous times  which could ensue from the 1999 general election result because of spiralling Islamisation policies from the competition between UMNO and PAS to win the Malay heartland to come forward to help strengthen the DAP and in the process strengthen the force for a secular Malaysia.

I find it very sad that after the dirtiest general election in the nationís history, gravely undermining public trust and confidence in the credibility, authority and even legitimacy of political leaders, there are Ministers who refuse to return to the politics of responsibility and sanity and persist in their falsehoods and outrageous allegations.

The Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik is one such example.  He alleged that DAP was responsible for the extension of the PAS influence in winning 27 Parliamentary and 98 state seats.

He said: "The Chinese will not forgive the DAP over what had happened because Lim Kit Siang had played a big role and has been the cause of the PAS successes."

I am very flattered that I have such great influence among the Malay voters as to cause UMNO to  suffer its worst electoral defeat in its party history, losing 16 Parliamentary and 55 state assembly seats when compared to the 1995 general election as well as losing the two state governments of Kelantan and Trengganu, and nearly losing another two state governments of Kedah and Perlis.

PAS won 27 Parliamentary seats comrpising 10 from Kelantan, seven from Trengganu, eight from Kedah and two from Perak.  In nine of the 10 Parliamentary seats won by PAS in Kelantan, Malay voters represent more than 91 per cent of the electorate with seven constituencies having  more than 96 per cent Malay electorate ( Kubang Kerian and  Bachok have 98% Malay voters while Jeli has 99%). The tenth seat, Kota Baharu, had 78% Malay, 19% Chinese and 1.9% Indian voters.

The same racial breakdown of the electorate also apply to the parliamentary seats won by PAS in Trengganu and Kedah.

If Keng Yaik is right that I have such great influence, even greater than Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to be largely responsible for PAS winning in the Malay-dominant constituencies, then I should be considering standing for a parliamentary seat in Kelantan or Trengganu in the next election.

The two parliamentary seats won by PAS in Perak have a larger non-Malay voter representation but are still largely Malay-dominant constituencies -  Bagan Serai, Malays 68.3%, Chinese 17.5%, Indians 14% and Parit, Malays 76.3%, Chinese 19.3%, Indians 3.5%.

Is Keng Yaik seriously suggesting that DAPís influence is responsible for the defeat of the Ministerr for Domestic Trade and Consumer Afffairs, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayub in Parit and UMNOís defeat in Bagan Serai?

If so, can Keng Yaik explain why the DAP could swing the Chinese voters for PAS candidates but cannot swing Chinese voters for DAP candidates, resulting in the catastrophic result of the DAP on Mondayís general election - thanks to the success of the MCA and Gerakanís campaign of fear and falsehoods on the Islamic state as frightening the Chinese voters and houswives that they would not be able to eat pork or go to temples in an Islamic state.

Keng Yaik had a fright of his political life in Bruas where he narrowly averted defeat with a 1,455-vote majority against the DAP newcomer, Yiew Teong Chong, but this is no justification for his continued political  diatribe and venom  against me as well as insulting the intelligence of Malaysians.

I have full sympathy for the statement made by the two Penang Gerakan state assemblymen, Lim Chien Aun and Lim Boo Chang who have resigned from the Gerakan because "the party has been, of late and currently, led by the present leadership which is of extreme poor quality" although I may not agree with their action.

Keng Yaik should realise that after causing the DAPís catastrophic defeat on Mondayís general election with its campaign of fear and falsehoods about the Islamic state, Gerakan must now bear the greatest responsibility with MCA  to ensure that UMNO does not embark on a spiral of Islamisation policies to compete with PAS to win back the Malay heartland - undermining Malaysiaís secular position.

Can Keng Yaik give an undertaking that he would not allow the Barisan Nasional government to embark on any greater Islamisation policy in the next five years, and that he would resign as a Cabinet Minister if UMNO should start on such a spiral of Islamisation policy?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman