DAP back to the  drawing board to formulate and implement a 18-month Action Plan to prepare for next general elections in mid-2003

Speech (2)
- opening of the  Penang DAP 2001  State Convention
Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): The recent  Sarawak state general elections  results should be a salutary lesson to all Opposition parties,  puncture the euphoria that the Barisan Nasional is just waiting to be toppled and inject much-needed realism that the path to break the Barisan Nasional political hegemony and to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance is a long, hard and rocky one.

It serves no purpose for the Opposition to indulge in finger-pointing or  blame-shifting for the Opposition debacle and the Barisan Nasional landslide victory in Sarawak.

Those who wish to blame the DAP’s pull-out from the Barisan Alternative five days before the Sarawak state polls  for their defeats should take a hard look at the election results.

There are those who claimed that if the Barisan Alternative had been fully united and the DAP had not pulled out, the Opposition would have won more seats.

Looking at the Sept. 27 Sarawak election results, there were  only two other seats which could have been won by the Opposition if there had been  greater voter support - namely Bukit Assek (majority 875 votes) and Padungan (majority 1,033 votes), both of which were contested by DAP candidates.

From the election results, there was no way Keadilan, which had fielded 25 candidates, or PAS, which had fielded three candidates, could win any single seat in the recent Sarawak state general elections.  The three  seats where Keadilan had the best results were Simunjan (majority 1,640), Saribas (majority 2,197),  Satok (majority 2,859) while PAS’ best result was in Sadong Jaya (majority 2,901) but the wide margins of victory by the Sarawak Barisan Nasional in these constituencies  showed that they were not winnable by the Opposition on Sept. 27.

It would be more profitable to find out the reasons for such huge majorities for Parti Pesaka Bumiputra candidates than to indulge in finger-pointing targetted at  the DAP, when this is completely irrelevant to the election results.
DAP had hoped to win three seats in the Sarawak general elections, and though we were very disappointed to secure only one in Kidurong, we were not completely shocked by the results, considering the political terrain, the “dirty tricks” employed by the SUPP and the circumstances of the elections.

DAP has emerged as the sole Opposition party represented in the Sarawak state assembly, and the DAP Kidurong Assemblyman Chiew Chiu Sing has now the onerous responsibility to speak up in the State Assembly not only for his voters in Bintulu, but for all Sarawakians, regardless of race, religion, political party or area.

Having seen Chiew’s dedication and commitment to his electoral duties when he was DAP MP for Bintulu, 1995-1999, I have no doubt that Chiew would acquit himself creditably, especially as he would be buoyed up by the support of eight per cent of total Sarawak votes cast in the polls in the 13 constituencies contested by the DAP - totalling 45,327 votes.

DAP’s pull-out from the Barisan Alternative because of the failure to resolve the Islamic State controversy with PAS had nothing to do with the Sarawak state general election or the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.  It was pure coincidence that it took place on Sept. 22, 11 days after the World Trade Centre horrors and five days before the Sarawak polling.

Now that the DAP is on its own, the party has to  go back to the  drawing board to formulate and implement a 18-month action plan to prepare for the  next general elections in mid-2003.  It is  very certain that Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad would be leading the Barisan Nasional and UMNO into the general elections for the sixth time, but it is most unlikely that the next general elections will fall in 2004.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman