Shortest and most undemocratic 7˝-day election campaign period  in the nation’s history is salutary  reminder of the need for  a strong DAP in Parliament and State Assemblies to provide healthy check-and-balance to curb the arrogance  and abuses of power and malpractices

Media Conference Statement (2)
when visiting the Kepong parliamentary constituency
by Lim Kit Siang

(KepongMonday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi  yesterday pledged in Malacca that the Barisan Nasional will bring Malaysians more prosperity if given a bigger mandate. 

Is this a general pledge which is mere rhetoric not to be taken seriously, or is it a  solemn  and specific pledge which Abdullah commits himself  to be honour-bound to fulfill? 

If the latter, Abdullah should spell out clearly to  the 10.3 million voters so that they know at which point of the Barisan Nasional victory this pledge to bring greater prosperity  comes into force and where it does not apply. 

In other words, is Abdullah committed to honour his pledge  to bring about greater prosperity if the Barisan Nasional is returned with a two-thirds parliamentary majority on March 21, or whether this is not adequate, and the Barisan Nasional must secure three-quarter, four-fifth or  five-sixth parliamentary majority, or only when there is zero Opposition in Parliament as many Barisan Nasional state  leaders are pledging to ensure in their states? 

Surely, Abdullah should be aware that so long as he is the Prime Minister,  he is duty-bound to “run the country as well as we can for the people and country” regardless of the majority secured by the Barisan Nalsional in the general election! 

Abdullah is a good, decent and clean leader. In his first four months as the fifth Prime Minister, his pledge for a clean, incorruptible, efficient, people-oriented administration which wants to hear the truth from the people had captured the imagination of the people denied these basic rights of good governance for the past two decades, creating a “feel good” euphoria among the populace which will be the strongest vote-getter for the Barisan Nasional in the coming polls. 

However, it is even more important that Malaysians can  also “feel good” after the general election, with the fulfillment of all the noble pledges  by Abdullah – and not like 22 years ago, when the people also had the “feel good” euphoria in the first general election of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister, but which could not be sustained after the 1982 general election  because of the catalogue of broken election promises despite the Barisan Nasional securing an unprecedented  landslide victory with five-sixth parliamentary majority! 

In the first four months of the “feel good” euphoria created by the Abdullah premiership, however, there are sufficient signs and developments to indicate that the chances of the people being able to sustain such a “feel good” sentiment after the general election are most remote, especially if there is a landslide Barisan Nasional victory. 

The latest example of such disturbing signs and events is the shortest and most undemocratic 7˝-day election campaign period  in the nation’s history, which is a  salutary  reminder of the need for  a strong DAP in Parliament and State Assemblies to provide a  healthy check-and-balance to curb the arrogance  and abuses of power and malpractices. 

The  2004 general election is even more unfair and  undemocratic than all the five general elections conducted by Dr. Mahathir in his 22 years as Prime Minister from 1981-2003, shorter than the 9-day campaign period in the 1999 general election, one of the “dirtiest” general elections in the eleven national general elections held since Independence in 1957. 

Malaysians had hoped tat Abdullah with his pledge of “a clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion”  government would try to conduct the most free and fair general election in the nation’s history. In the event, the 2004 general election will go down in history as the  most unfair and undemocratic in having the shortest election campaign period of 71/2 days!


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman