(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): Thirty years ago in 1969, the DAP contested for the first time in the Malaysian general elections, winning 13 parliamentary seats and securing 11.9 per cent of the national vote cast.
In the seven general elections contested by the DAP from 1969 to 1995, the DAP had seen great ups and downs. The percentage of national votes cast secured by the DAP reached 18.3 per cent in the 1974 general elections, 19.1 per cent in the 1978 general elections, 19.57 per cent in the 1982 general elections and the maximum of 21.09 per cent in the 1986 general elections, when we won 24 Parliamentary seats. In the 1990 general elections, the DAP secured 17.61 per cent of the national vote, falling to 12.06 per cent in 1995, the year the DAP suffered its worst electoral defeat in party history.
I believe the conditions are ripe for the DAP to attempt to achieve another political climax for the party, aiming to secure about one-fifth of the national votes cast and a parliamentary representation of from 25 to 30 DAP Members of Parliament in the next general election.
DAP cannot, however, on our own deny the Barisan Nasional its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority. For this, we will have to co-operate with other opposition parties so that collectively the Opposition can achieve a stable number of between 70 to 75 Opposition MPs to force the Barisan Nasional Government to be more open, accountable, transparent and responsible.
For the sake of creating a new political scenario where justice, freedom, democracy and good governance are important national agendas, the DAP is prepared to work with other opposition parties like KeADILan, PRM and PAS. In fact, if the Barisan Nasional component parties are prepared to take a clear stand to establish justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, as in repealing the Official Secrets Act, the Internal Security Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the DAP is also prepared to work with them on these issues.
Malaysia is on the threshold of a historic political turning point to start the new millennium on a new footing - the breaking of the undemocratic political mould established by the Barisan Nasional government in the past three decades by depriving its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority to unleash new energies and forces to usher in a vibrant democratic polity and civil society.
This is a challenge not only to DAP, but to all Malaysians who do not want to see the country continue to straggle behind other countries in the forward movement towards greater democratisation and a more vibrant civil society.