In the country, the people had just gone through the dirtiest election in the nation’s 42-year history, where 680,000 new voters were disenfranchised to protect the Barisan Nasional political hegemony and two-thirds parliamentary majority and the mainstream mass media broke all principles and rules of ethical and good journalism in a campaign of falsehoods and fear among the electorate.
In the 1999 general election, the Barisan Alternative opposition parties were preaching and practising national unity encompassing the diversity of races and religions in Malaysia, but it is the Barisan Nasional ruling parties - which had ruled this country for four decades - which were sowing inter-racial and inter-religious distrust, suspicion and disunity by raising the spectre of May 13.
The Barisan Alternative had a constant and consistent programme "For A Just Malaysia", but the Barisan Nasional spoke with forked tongues, telling the Malays that DAP Plus PAS Equals Islam Hancur while warning the Chinese that a vote for DAP is a vote for PAS, an Islamic state and that there will no pork, no alcohol, no temples, no karaokes, beautiful women cannot find jobs and that there would be the chopping of hands and feet.
The Malays did not take the bait but the Chinese voters fell victim to the fork-tongued campaign of falsehoods and fear of the Barisan Nasional.
The tenth general election has come and gone, and DAP calls on Malaysians to make a millennium commitment to dedicate themselves to the cause of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance for all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political beliefs.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said in Jitra on Monday that the people, especially the Malays, should set aside their political differences and reunite now that the general election is over.
He said there was no point for the people to continue to be divided because of differences in political beliefs as this would not benefit anyone.
The DAP endorses the call by the Prime Minister to the people to put the general election behind them and to restore national unity which had been harmed by the divisive and destructive election campaign of the Barisan Nasional.
However, such a restoration of national unity can only come about on the basis of the principles of fair play, justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said in his opening speech at the National Finance Council meeting that economic policies and measures in the 2000 Budget must not be politicised.
DAP also endorses this call by Abdullah as the time has come for the Barisan Nasional Government to show by deeds and not merely by words that it would not politicise economic policies and measures and would recognise the right to development of every Malaysian as a fundamental right, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs.
The first step the Barisan Nasional government should take to ensure that economic policies and measures are not politicised is to ensure that the annual allocation of RM500,000 for Barisan Nasional MPs and RM50,000 for Barisan Nasional State Assembly members for minor development projects in their constituencies are extended to all MPs regardless of party affiliation.
If the Barisan Nasional government cannot start the new millennium with such a refreshing policy to show that it is committed to the principles of fair play, justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, then all talk by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister about national unity are meaningless verbiage.
For the cause of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance
in the new millennium, Malaysia must purposefully work towards the