Speech by Lim Kit Siang to the Sarawak DAP State Committee and 12 elected DAP State Assembly members at Paramount Hotel Conference Hall, Sibu on Sunday, 24th April 2011 at 10 am:
Idea of a DAP-SNAP merger conceived as one important measure to take the 416 UBAH political awakening in Sarawak to its full flush of victory in the next national elections
Firstly, let me congratulate the 12 newly-elected Sarawak DAP State Assembly representatives led by Sarawak DAP State Chairman Wong Ho Leng, Deputy Chairman Chiew Chin Sing and State Secretary Chong Jian Ren for their success in the historic 416 Sarawak state general elections the previous Saturday.
It is not so much a victory for the DAP as a victory for the UBAH generation in Sarawak spearheading a political awakening for change in Sarawak with far-reaching implications for Malaysian politics as a whole.
Just as the 2006 Sarawak state general elections (520 or 20th May) paved the way for the 308 “political tsunami” of the 2008 general elections which saw the fall of Barisan Nasional in five states and the loss of its parliamentary two-thirds majority for the first time, will 416, which saw DAP elected representatives doubling from six to twelve and a collective Pakatan Rakyat State Assembly presence of 15 representatives, herald another historic political change in the forthcoming general elections with the fall of Barisan Nasional in ten states and a change-over of Federal Government in Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Rakyat?
As a response to the 416 UBAH political awakening in Sarawak, I had broached the idea of a possible DAP-SNAP merger not only to learn from the lessons of the Sarawak general elections to avoid multi-cornered contests but also to accelerate the mobilization and political awakening of Sarawakians for the 13th general elections expected any time.
It is a great fallacy for anyone to allege that the 416 UBAH political awakening in Sarawak is a Chinese phenomenon or that the DAP had won the 12 State Assembly seats purely because of Chinese votes – and an even bigger lie, that the victories were a result of the “communal Chinese race politics” of the DAP.
The 416 UBAH political awakening is a fully Sarawakian and Malaysian phenomenon and has nothing to do whatsoever with race.
The Sarawakian voters who comprise the UBAH generation did not vote as Chinese, Iban, Bidayuh, Malay or Melanau but as full-fledged Sarawakians who voted for change to see justice, equality, accountability, fair play, good governance and an end to corruption, abuse of power and illegal land grabs in their homeland!
In fact, the support of Iban, Bidayuh, Malay and Melanau voters were critical to the victory in many constituencies won by the DAP, including Batu Kawah, Kota Sentosa, Kidurong, Meradong, Repok, Dudung, Piasau and Pujuk.
In many areas in the state, the swing to DAP and Pakatan Rakyat is even more obvious in non-Chinese communities, registering 13.4 per cent opposition swing among the Chinese, 14.2% among the Ibans, 17.9% among the Bidayuh, 18.4% among the Malays and 20.5% among Orang Ulu.
The idea of a DAP-SNAP merger was conceived as one important measure to take the 416 UBAH political awakening in Sarawak to its full flush of victory in the next national elections.
I have a soft spot for SNAP – as my association with SNAP goes back to the sixties when Sarawak’s first Chief Minister was an Iban, the SNAP leader, Stephen Kalong Ningkan as well as other SNAP stalwarts from sixties to seventies like James Wong, Edmund Langgu and Daniel Tajem.
The response from the SNAP leaders, whether its President or Secretary-General, had been far from supportive or enthusiastic. If the SNAP leadership does not support the proposal of a DAP-SNAP merger, then that is the end of the proposal.
There had been intriguing responsee from various quarters, including the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is confident that the DAP-SNAP merger proposal would not materialize. Najib seems to know something which others do not know.
There are also those who oppose the idea because it would jeopardise Pakatan Rakyat.
This I find it difficult to understand. The suggestion of a DAP-SNAP merger is to strengthen and consolidate Pakatan Rakyat gains in Sarawak and not to weaken or undermine them.
I would urge all newly-elected DAP Sarawak state assembly reps to be always mindful of their duty to protect and promote the cause of Pakatan Rakyat as one clear and unmistakable message of the 416 Sarawak state elections is that Pakatan Rakyat has arrived in Sarawak and is in the state to stay to spearhead the UBAH revolution – not only for Sarawak but for the whole of Malaysia.
The suggestion of a DAP-SNAP merger is still at a very preliminary stage. I have not yet raised it at the DAP Central Executive Committee and I am discussing it for the first time with the DAP Sarawak state committee.
If we decide that the idea is worth exploring, then we should continue to take serious note of bona fide comments, criticisms and feedbacks from all quarters, as at the ripe time, the DAP will have to discuss the proposal at the Pakatan Rakyat level with the other PR leaders.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor