Forward    Feedback    

  Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang at the DAP Ipoh Timur Election Ops Centre, Ipoh on Thursday, 6th March 2008 at 12 noon:

Advice to all BN leaders and candidates: Grow up and accept the ups and down of the democratic process and stop being spoiled brats when at most BN is losing two-thirds parliamentary majority and not losing power  

Tomorrow is the last day for campaigning before the country goes to polls for the 12th general election on Saturday, March 8, 2008.

Will March 8, 2008 usher a paradigm shift in the Malaysian political landscape by stripping the Barisan Nasional of its unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority and deal a fatal blow to UMNO political hegemony?

It is a tall order just to deny the Barisan Nasional two-thirds parliamentary majority on Saturday, for the DAP, PKN and PAS will each have to win at least 25 seats to ensure that the BN is defeated in at least 75 parliamentary seats, the “magic figure” to make BN’s two-third parliamentary majority and UMNO political hegemony history in Malaysia.

A strong and powerful wind of change is blowing in the land, as evidenced by the mammoth ceramah crowds, enthusiastic responses and generous donations of Malaysians in the various states – with crowds of several thousands to more than 10,000 in the ceramahs I attended in the past three days, covering Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Perak, with mammoth ceramah crowds also reported in Penang.

The question is whether the wind of change rising up in the land will be strong and powerful enough on March 8 to make it a day of history and a day of destiny for Malaysia.

The Barisan Nasional leadership had launched the general election campaign with a very cocky and arrogant start, with the Selangor, Malacca and Johore Barisan Nasional leaders declaring that they want to make their states “zero-opposition” states to recent panicky signs in certain BN quarters at the strong and powerful wind of change blowing in the land – causing Barisan Nasional propagandists to resort to the dirty politics of fear, intimidation and blackbail as making May 13 threats.

Let me advice all BN leaders and candidates: Grow up and accept the ups and down of the democratic process and stop being spoiled brats when at most the Barisan Nasional is losing two-thirds parliamentary majority and not losing power.

It is not going to be easy to deprive the Barisan Nasional of its two-thirds majority in Parliament by defeating the BN in at least 75 seats, but it is a goal which is definitely possible and achievable on March 8.

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir does not see the BN losing its two-thirds majority on 8th March, as he has predicted that the BN would win between 70 to 75 per cent of the parliamentary seats in the 12th general election as compared to BN victory in over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats in the 2004 general election.

If Mahathir is right, that BN would win 70 to 75 per cent of the parliamentary seats, this would work out to the opposition winning between 55 to 65 seats, which is a sizable increase from the 2004 general election of 21.

Tun Mahathir gave a very pertinent interview with Malaysiakini yesterday, where he said that the country needs an opposition that can hold up a mirror to the government.

Mahathir said: "I believe in an opposition. I have always maintained that this country needs an opposition and they should be critical of the government without which we don't have a mirror to look at our faces. We think that we are very beautiful but it is the opposition that keeps telling us (that may not be true).

"You know the government member (of parliament), sometimes they are 'ahli bodek' (apple polishers). They are always saying 'you're right', and you have no means of assessing whether you are going in the right direction or not."

Mahathir said that it would be a "disaster" if the country "loses its opposition" as in Singapore.

I am glad that Mahathir, who had been the most controversial Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years, leading the country to some of its best achievements and worst crisis in key institutions of state, has fully realized the important and constructive role of the Opposition in the development of a viable and vibrant system of parliamentary democracy.

Is Abdullah prepared to agree with Mahathir and openly acknowledge the important role of the Opposition in the building of a healthy Malaysian democratic system, that it will be a disaster if there is no Opposition in Malaysia, and rein in the UMNO “ultras” who have been talking about a zero-opposition in their states, with one Mentri Besar even claiming that he will not listen to the views of any DAP Assemblymen if they are elected!

Abdullah should educate all national and state leaders on the most rudimentary lessons in democracy. Lesson One – that without an Opposition, there can be no meaningful democracy. Lesson Two – Opposition leaders are even more patriotic than those in government, as they are prepared to risk their personal liberty and comfort to stand up for the rights of the people and the long-term interests of the nation, which could land them in detention.

When Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over the reins of government as the fifth Prime Minister, he had promised to be different and better than the Mahathir premiership.

I call on Abdullah to ensure that in the last 36 hours of the general election campaign, he will go out of his way to ensure that the 12th general election will be completely different from the previous nine general elections in being “May 13-free”, where the threat and spectre of May 13 if Opposition candidates are elected is not allowed to rear its ugly head to mar the election campaign.

Is Abdullah prepared to respond to this challenge to demonstrate that in 2008, Malaysian general elections are once-and-forever liberated from the spectre of May 13 threats, which is completely baseless as a denial of BN two-thirds parliamentary majority can only come about if there is strong representation of Malay, Chinese, Indian and even Kadazan-Dusun-Murut Opposition MPs.

A “May 13-free” election campaign will be a redeeming feature of the 12th general election, which has been further stained by the last-minute somersault of the Election Commission over the indelible ink issue – with the indelible ink fiasco becoming the indelible shame of the Election Commision.

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


Your e-mail:

Your name: 

Your friend's e-mail: 

Your friend's name: