In the 29-day budget meeting of Parliament beginning on Oct. 18, DAP will highlight  the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands and secure parliamentary support that it is not a threat to Barisan Nasional or any political party but democratic expression of popular will


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Malaysian Chinese Associations have reacted as one in denying the statement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on Monday that  the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands was a "threat" to the Barisan Nasional.

When visiting Selangor on Monday, Mahathir reminded Malaysian Chinese Associations not to try to pressure the government, declaring that the Barisan Nasional only wanted "unconditional support from the people".

The question is how Mahathir  could have reached the conclusion that the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands was a "threat" to the Barisan Nasional, when the Election Demands have not been formally presented to the Barisan Nasional, whether in the Bahasa Malaysia or English version?

Is it because Mahathir had been wrongly advised about the objective, content and language of the 17-Point Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands by the top MCA and Gerakan leadership, and if this is the case the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik should explain whether they were responsible for such misinformation to the Prime Minister, whether they agree that the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands was a "threat to the Barisan Nasional", and if not, what are they doing to give proper advice to the Prime Minister so that Mahathir could publicly retract his statement that the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands was  a "threat to the Barisan Nasional".

It will be most sad if  Malaysian democracy has deteriorated to a stage when the Prime Minister  regards any statement of the peoplesí aspirations for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in all fields of national endeavour, whether political, economic, legal, educational, social, cultural or religious as regarded as a "threat" to the Barisan Nasional or even worse, as a challenge to the government.

During his pre-election tour of Selangor on Monday, Mahathir was scheduled to visit Klang, but this was cancelled at the last minute because the people of Klang had prepared an Election Demands of the People of Klang.

A general election is the time when the contesting political parties must listen to the voices and aspirations of the people, but the Barisan Nasional leadership seems to have taken the position that in the coming general election, the people must listen to the Barisan Nasional and not vice versa, and that the people must give the Barisan Nasional unconditional support.

What type of a democratic spirit and election is this?  This is the  latest example why the Barisan Nasional political hegemony as a result of uninterrupted two-thirds parliamentary majority in the past four decades, compounded by the long 18-year premiership of Mahathir, has become the greatest threat  to democracy, justice, freedom and good governance in Malaysia.

It is clear that to Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional, the next general election is meant to be a one-way traffic, where  the people can only listen and cannot tell Barisan Nasional what they want and  must give unconditional support to the Barisan Nasional.
 
This is completely antithetical to the "People are the Boss!"  Declaration on the People's Awareness enunciated last month and which had found popular support among Malaysians. The "People are the Boss" Declaration is premised on the basis that the people are the master and the government the servant and that democracy will  only be a reality when  those in power respect this principle.

No one who accepts the democratic principle that the "People are masters of their countries and boss to their governments" would demand unconditional support from the people in any election or describe the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands or any other election demands as a "threat" to the Barisan Nasional.

It is a matter of grave concern that the Prime Minister could describe the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands as a "threat" to the Barisan Nasional.

Unless Parliament is dissolved earlier, the Dewan Rakyat will meet  from Oct. 18 to Dec. 9, and one of the foremost agenda of the DAP in the 32-day budget meeting will be to highlight the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands and secure parliamentary support  that it is not a threat to the Barisan Nasional or any political party but a democratic expression of popular will, which must be welcomed and respected by all political parties, whether in government or opposition.

However, this matter cannot be left completely to the budget meeting of Parliament because there is a possibility of  an earlier dissolution of Parliament, although the presentation of the 2,000 budget has been scheduled for 29th October 1999.

I am very shocked by the statement of the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon on 9th September 1999 discussing the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands in the same breath as the carnage, ethnic cleansing and genocide in East Timor.

In referring to the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands, Tsu Koon said that the "Indonesian violence and the East Timor situation should be a lesson to Chinese community and leaders" and that they should take into account the larger scenario and the historic, social and political factors.

Tsu Koon should do justice to the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands and explain how it could be associated with the carnage, ethnic cleansing and genocide in East Timor.

 Is Tsu Koon practising a subtle but nonetheless a most reprehensible politics of fear and blackmail in  suggesting that the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Elections Demands could lead to Malaysia becoming another Indonesia, or even worse, East Timor.

The 17-Point Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands are:
 

 
Tsu Koon should point out what are items in the Malaysian Chinese Associationsí Election Demands which might remotely cause Malaysia to become another Indonesia or East Timor.

(16/9/99)


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