Penang DAP must immediately go back to the drawing board to break the jinx of winning only one state assembly seat in the last three general elections and aim to win 14 seats to deny Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in Penang State Assembly in the next election in view of a new round of constituency redelineation and gerrymandering
- DAP Tanjong general election thanksgiving dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): Penang State Chairman and newly re-elected MP for Tanjong, Chow Kon Yeow said in his speech that he was “heart-broken” on polling day on March 21 over the DAP results for the Penang State Assembly seats, with the whole slate of young idealistic DAP candidates in Tanjong and the Penang island, as well as the mainland, completely defeated.
Just like the 1995 and 1999 general elections, DAP won only one state assembly seat in Penang in the 2004 general election – Phee Boon Poh in Sungai Puyu.
As we are humans, we suffer from the pain, agony and even trauma when our best hopes are dashed to the ground, but as we are standard-bearers for the cause for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, the hall-marks of a Malaysian Malaysia with an equal place for every Malaysian under the Malaysian sun, DAP leaders must have the indefatigable and indomitable spirit as well as the staying power and stamina to mend our “broken hearts” to battle on anew.
DAP leaders and candidates, both elected and those not successful in the polls, must be recovering from the hectic shortest election campaign of 7 ½ days – and I myself have not fully recovered from the stress and strains of the election campaign such as having to go to five ceramahs a night.
But there is no time for rest in the cause for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
Penang DAP, for instance, must stand up to declare “Enough is enough” and go back immediately to the drawing board to break the jinx of winning only one state assembly seat in the last three general elections and aim to win 14 seats to deny Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in Penang State Assembly in the next election.
Breaking the Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in the Penang State Assembly in the next general election is important as the time for another redelineation and gerrymandering of electoral constituencies would be coming around.
In the last redelineation of electoral constituencies, there was massive gerrymandering of the electoral boundaries to the advantage of the Barisan Nasional, with PAS the target.
In the next constituency redelineation, DAP will again be the target of the gerrymandering as in the past – and this is why it is important for the people to protect their fundamental democratic rights by denying the BN its two-thirds majority in the Penang State Assembly, reserving the right through the DAP to reject the unfair and undemocratic gerrymandering of the electoral constituencies, which the DAP in Penang had done once after the 1990 general election.
DAP candidate for Pengkalan Kota, Lai Hon Meng, said just now that the 2004 general election has again shown up the DAP’s great weakness of “having generals without soldiers”.
This should be one of the greatest challenges for the DAP in the next five years, not only in Tanjong and Penang but throughout the country – how the DAP can re-invent itself organizationally to transform into more of a mass political movement with a much expanded membership and greater number of branches in the parliamentary and state assembly constituencies we wish to contest to match the political support we receive from the people.
The 2004 general election has produced a most unhealthy and even dangerous result for democracy in Malaysia – the unprecedented nine-tenth parliamentary majority won by Barisan Nasional solely because of the “feel good” euphoria among Malaysians generated by a new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his pledge for a clean, incorruptible, efficient, people-oriented and trustworthy government which is prepared to hear the truth from the people.
In his first general election as Prime Minister in 1982, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad could only win 83 per cent of the parliamentary seats, and Abdullah’s commandeering of over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats has never been achieved by any other Prime Minister in the 46-year history of the nation. However, Malaysians should bear in mind the famous axiom of the British historian, Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.”
The nation-wide and international disappointments over Abdullah’s first Cabinet announced a week ago, failing to live up to expectations of an Integrity Cabinet, is proof that it is not going to be easy for the Prime Minister to honour his pledge of a clean, incorruptible, efficient, trustworthy and people-oriented government. This is where the DAP must play its vital role of supporting, monitoring, criticizing or pressurizing Abdullah to honour his pledge of a clean, efficient and trustworthy government.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor