DAP calls on all political parties to agree to a electoral  code of conduct to forswear or renounce  the old politics of race, fear and bigotry and to end  dirty electoral tricks like the 1990 Tengku Razaleigh election scam


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Recent events in the past fortnight have disturbed many thinking Malaysians at  the ease with which there could be a throwback to the old politics of race, fear and bigotry.

This was  illustrated by two incidents: the  attack of the Information Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Rahmat casting aspersions on the racial origin of President of Parti KeADILan Nasional, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, wife of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the attempted  revival of the worst  politics of  race and fear in the orchestrated attack and distortion of the DAPís Malaysian Malaysia concept as "seditious", anti-Malay, anti-Islam and that it could cause "racial tensionsí.

It is a credit to the Opposition parties that despite the political  turbulence of the past year, starting from the gross injustice suffered by DAP leader and former Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng April last year followed by the outrageous injustice suffered by former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last September, public disenchantment with the systems of governance and justice resulting in the groundswell for political change  had transcended ethnic or religious lines and had been kept strictly within the bounds of the aspirations for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

In the past fortnight, however, the two attempts to revive the old politics of race, fear and bigotry should be a warning to all Malaysians that it is very easy for unscrupulous politicians to pander to communal emotions for short-term political popularity and vote-catching and the need to demand a higher standard of political responsibility in the run-up to the next general election from all political parties and political leaders that they should eschew the old politics of race, fear and bigotry.

It is very sad that while Opposition parties had conducted themselves as true Malaysians, transcending the old politics of race, fear and bigotry, some leaders of the  Barisan Nasional component parties are trying to rake  up communal fears and tensions, with certain UMNO leaders warning others not to "play with fire" when they are doing precisely that.

For this reason, I call on all political parties in government and opposition to agree to an electoral code of conduct to forswear or renounce the old politics of race, fear and bigotry in the run-up to the 10th national general election to mark Malaysiaís greater nation-building maturity on the eve of the new century and to make a public commitment not to resort to unprincipled and dirty electoral tricks like the infamous Tengku Razaleigh election scam in the 1990 general election.

The infamous Tengku Razaleigh election scam in the 1990 general elections,  where on the eve of polling,  the print and electronic media were fully mobilised to drown the country with the false allegation that the former UMNO Vice President had   sold out the Malay race and betrayed Islam for wearing a Kadazan headgear purportedly with a Christian cross will remain a permanent blot on Malaysiaís claim of "clean, fair and honest elections".


Just as in the 1990 general elections, the Malay mass media and television were  used to incite communal feelings, in the past week, the same media were used for the same purpose in the seditious and defamatory attack on the DAP.

Last Saturday, I had warned that under the 1971 Constitution Amendment Act,   it is an offence of sedition, criminal defamation and libel/slander for  any Malaysian, political party or society to advocate the abolition of  Malay special rights as it is an entrenched sensitive issue in the Constitution which cannot be questioned - like the position of the Malay Rulers.

Furthermore, the Societies Amendment  Act 1983 empowers the the Minister for Home Affairs to declare a political party or society unlawful where it acts "in any manner violative of, or derogatory to, or militates against, or shows disregard for" any one of the sensitive issues entrenched in the Constitution.

This was why I had warned last Saturday that it is also an offence of  sedition, criminal defamation and libel/slander to falsely accuse any Malaysian or political party of wanting to abolish Malay special rights and that the DAP would be forced to lodge police reports if such baseless attacks do not stop immediately.

Unfortunately, similar seditious attacks on the DAP continued the next day in the Sunday press.

This is giving the DAP no choice but to lodge police reports against all those who in the past week had made such wild and baseless allegations against the DAP.

(18/5/99)


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