Let Barisan Alternative leaders defuse the time-bombs so that Barisan Alternative can become a tenable and viable alternative to the Barisan Nasional

- Perak DAP State 34th anniversary dinner 
Lim Kit Siang

(Ipoh, Saturday):  At the Cheras DAP anniversary dinner in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday, I referred to the challenges and the  "time bombs" in the Barisan Alternative.

The two-pronged challenges of the Barisan Alternative are:

The Barisan Alternative will never become a tenable and viable alternative to Barisan National if it cannot meet the aspirations of Malaysians for an open, fair and tolerant plural society, especially as  over 40 per cent of the Malaysian population are non-Muslims and the majority of Muslims  support the  ideas of liberal Islam which upholds justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

I also referred to the "time bombs" in the Barisan Alternative and how the Barisan Nasional has reaped political dividends in its  obsession to politicise the Al-Ma’unah arms heists and atrocities, gravely polarising Malaysians along ethnic and religious lines and arousing non-Muslim fears.

I had said that the Al-Ma’unah atrocities, which had been condemned by DAP and the Barisan Alternative,  would not have plunged  the Barisan Alternative into its worst crisis since the November general election last year if there had not been controversies affecting PAS both preceding and subsequent to the Al-Ma’unah murders creating a political atmosphere unacceptable to  non-Muslims and liberal Muslims - issues such as  tudung, karaoke, segregation of sexes at supermarkets, JAIS arrests in Selangor, concerts, unisex saloon and  the ban on women from taking part in the Quran recital competition.

In the past week, Barisan Nasional leaders have gone into a delirium trumpetting the break-up of the Barisan Alternative.

The MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik even had the cheek to ask the DAP to co-operate with the Government instead of being in the Opposition Front and to demand that the DAP apologise to the public for misleading them to support the Barisan Alternative in the last general election.

The DAP is  always prepared to work with the Barisan Nasional Government  for the common good of the people and country, as to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

Is the MCA prepared to join hands with the DAP for instance to restore national and international confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary  in Malaysia as jointly asking the Cabinet to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the system of justice in the country or to ensure that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has power to combat corruption among the "sharks" and not just among the "ikan bilis" by making the ACA an autonomous body answerable only to Parliament and not under the jurisdiction of the  Prime Minister?

It is not that the DAP does not want to co-operate with Barisan Nasional Government to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia, but because the Barisan Nasional Government is the greatest threat to these goals.

There is nothing for DAP to apologise for teaming up with PAS, Keadilan and PRM to form the Barisan Alternative, as the declared common objective of the opposition alliance was to break the Barisan Nasional’s political hegemony which had strangled justice, freedom, democracy and good governance - which is a noble one.

The four opposition parties came together in the Barisan Alternative on the basis of the political  accord represented by the common manifesto, Towards A Just Malaysia.

Political differences have arisen in the Barisan Alternative in the past eight months because of events and developments which are outside the framework of the Barisan Alternative common manifesto.

I had raised these political differences in my speech at the DAP Cheras dinner last week, not because the DAP national leadership has decided to pull out of the Barisan Alternative, but for  Barisan Alternative leaders to   address them  urgently.

As the DAP Secretary-General Kerk Kim Hock said on Wednesday,  the question of DAP's pulling out of Barisan Alternatif or severing its ties with PAS is not on the agenda of the next monthly meeting of the DAP Central Executive Committee.

I am glad to note that there is now a greater sense of urgency among Barisan Alternative leaders to address and resolve these political differences and  the  Barisan Alternative leaders should be given the opportunity  to  defuse the time-bombs in the opposition alliance  so that Barisan Alternative can become a tenable and viable alternative to the Barisan Nasional.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman