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  Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang at the DAP Ipoh Timur Election Ops Centre, Ipoh on Tuesday, 4th March 2008 at 2 pm:

24-hr four-state 11-stop whistlestop election tour most encouraging as wind of change blowing strong and hard in Malaysia – question is whether it could reach the velocity to change the political landscape by denying BN two-thirds majority  

I have just returned from a 24-hour four-state 11-stop whistlestop tour which I find most encouraging as the wind of change is blowing strong and hard in Malaysia – and the question is whether it could reach the velocity to change the political landscape by denying the Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority.

I left Ipoh for Johore by car at 3.30 am on Monday morning, starting with a 10-hour swing of Johore to campaign for DAP candidates in eight state assembly and three parliamentary constituencies in Johore, namely Senai, Skudai, Stulang, Yong Peng, Bekok, Jementah, Tangkak, Bentayan (state) and Kulai, Segamat and Bakri (parliament) from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm, followed by huge ceramahs in Malacca, Rasah (Negri Sembilan) and Subang Jaya. I returned to Ipoh at about 3.30 am – a real 24-hour affair!

Johore Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ghani Othman and the erstwhile MCA national and Johore leader, Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek had declared that the Barisan Nasional (BN) objective is to ensure that Johore is a zero-Opposition state – which not only exposes their undemocratic mindset but their abysmal failure to understand the meaning of democracy.

There can be no meaningful democracy without a viable and credible opposition in Parliament and State Assembly to ensure that the diverse opinions, views and criticisms particularly in plural Malaysia are heard loud and clear in the various legislatures.

Ghani made the startling statement that he would not listen the DAP State Assemblymen elected to the Johore State Assembly on March 8. I call on the voters of Johore to use their vote to teach both Ghani and Chua a lesson in democracy, that they must respect the wishes and decisions of the voters if they want to elect DAP representatives into the Johore State Assembly.

Otherwise, the Barisan Nasional might as well admit that the 12th general election is just a charade and not a meaningful democratic exercise for Malaysians to vote for the Parliament and State Assembly representatives of their choice once in five years as provided for in the Constitution.

Ghani’s statement that he will not listen to the views of DAP Assemblymen elected into the Johore State Assembly shows the arrogance of UMNO leaders as a result of prolonged monopoly of power, resulting in the rise of UMNO political hegemony which must be smacked down strong and hard on March 8 so that it could not rear its ugly head again.

I hope the Johore voters would teach Ghani a lesson in democracy and that the DAP can look forward to winning at least one parliamentary and three state assembly seats in Johore in the 12th general election.

I fought an hour-by-hour battle to keep my voice from failing and from succumbing to flu and fever, but great and heartening response from the people from every stop I made in the whistestop tour had been the most efficacious medicine of all!

My only regret in the 10-hour swing for eight state and three parliamentary constituencies in Johore is the untoward incident in Labis resulting in a scuffle between the Labis OCPD Supt. Abdul Majid Mohd Ali and the seven-month pregnant woman DAP parliamentary candidate for Labis, Teo Eng Ching for a mike during a simple welcoming reception for me when I arrived in Labis.

I had to intervene to ask Abdul Majid to refrain from such an action, publicly being seen in a scuffle in trying to snatch the mike from the seven-month pregnant woman, which is not only ungentlemanly and completely lacking in chivalry but might harm the unborn babe Teo is carrying.

After the incident, Teo vomited and had to be hospitalized for observation whether harm had been caused to the unborn babe.

Most police personnel had been considerate and impartial in their police role in the general election campaign and the Labis incident is a police blackmark in the way the Labis OCPD disregarded Teo’s seven-month pregnant condition in his scuffle with her in trying to snatch her mike.

DAP has fielded 19 women candidates – eight parliamentary and eleven state assembly candidates – to be the voice of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or gender in Parliament and the State Assemblies. The polling day of March 8 falling on International Women’s Day must make the 12th general election particularly significant for upholding the dignity and honour of women – and what happened to Teo in her pregnant condition in Labis must be deplored not only by all women candidates but men candidates and the general public as well.

The Barisan Nasional has put up a big slate of women candidates in the general election.

But will the BN women candidate, let alone the BN men candidates, speak up for Teo to deplore the action of the Labis OCPD, endangering the life of the unborn in Teo’s womb?

Nobody has any high hopes in this, particularly after the highly offensive and sexist billboards launched in the election campaign by a woman MCA parliamentary candidate against her opponent, Teresa Kok. (Seputeh Parliament), attacking her as a “loose woman” who would “two-time” her constituents.

In the last Parliament, the three women DAP MPs – Teresa Kok, Chong Eng and Fong Po Kuan, were often the butt of sexist and offensive remarks by Barisan Nasional “MCP” MPs. No MCA, Gerakan or BN women MPs stood up for the three DAP MPs against the offensive and sexist “MCP” attacks. It would appear that the same applies to the current batch of MCA and other BN women parliamentary and state assembly candidates.

Finally, I call on the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, to send out a clear directive to all OCPDs to respect the rights, dignity and honour of all women candidates in the general election and not to subject them to the indignity and humiliation visited on Teo in Labis yesterday.

* Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Candidate & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman


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