Media statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 27th April 2011:
By all means discuss merits or demerits of the DAP-SNAP proposal but don't question integrity of DAP leaders
The DAP-SNAP proposal mooted as a direct result of the 416 Sarawak election results which saw an unprecedented political awakening of all Sarawakians, transcending race, religion or region, has attracted unprecedented interest and attention.
It has elicited a most diverse and divergent responses, from all-out opposition to all-out support.
There are those who say that SNAP has become a nonentity, as illustrated by its disastrous electoral performance in the recent Sarawak state general elections where SNAP failed to capture a single seat and its candidates lost their deposits in 24 of 26 constituencies contested.
That, furthermore, the total votes garnered by all of SNAP's candidates combined were less than those garnered by independent candidates – and that SNAP came in last in almost all multi-cornered fights.
At the other end of the spectrum, there has been ecstatic reactions such as hailing the proposal as a “creative response” to “society’s vast inertia and small margin for change” with the potential to break the mould of Malaysian and Sarawakian politics.
What probably makes the DAP-SUPP merger proposal quite unique is that it has united voices not only from Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat but also from the SNAP leadership.
On the BN side, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself set the cue when he publicly said that he did not see how SNAP could work with the DAP because their ideologies are different.
On the PR side, several PR leaders and websites have raised objections.
SNAP leaders have also not been very enamoured by the proposal. For instance the SNAP Secretary-General Stanley Jugol in Kota Kinabalu seemed to have set his face against the merger proposal and even made a serious accusation against the DAP.
Be that as it may, I welcome the open attitude of SNAP veteran and adviser Daniel Tajem who said that the idea of a DAP-SNAP merger should not be dismissed outright.
My message to all in the face of such diverse and divergent views covering both extremes of the spectrum is: By all means, discuss the merits or demerits of the DAP-SNAP proposal but don’t question the integrity of DAP leaders or it will open up a Pandora’s Box.
One irrefutable and ineluctable fact that has been established in the 416 Sarawak state general election is that Pakatan Rakyat has taken firm root in Sarawak and is in the state to stay to help determine its future and destiny.
It is the task and challenge of all the component parties in Pakatan Rakyat – DAP, PKR and PAS – to deepen PR roots in Sarawak as part of the larger PR struggle to bring about political change in Malaysia in the next general elections, expected any time.
In all the 33 years DAP has set foot in Sarawak since 1978, the party has remained loyal and committed to be a party for all Sarawkians just as DAP is a party for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.
In the 1991 sixth Sarawak state general elections, DAP contested in 18 seats fielding Chinese, Iban, Dayak and Malay candidates, including mixed and rural areas such as Asajaya, Serdeng, Matu-Daro, Balingian, Belaga, Kemena and Limbang.
For 12 years, DAP contested in four Sarawak general elections embracing the 1979, 1982, 1987 and 1991 Sarawak State elections without winning a single seat in the Sarawak State Assembly.
It is only after 17 years of unremitting determination and commitment that DAP made its first breakthrough into the Sarawak State Assembly, winning three DAP State Assembly seats in the 1996 general elections.
As demonstrated by the 416 Sarawak state general elections, DAP and Pakatan Rakyat have been able to get the support of Sarawakians regardless of race, religion or region and the greatest challenge of DAP and Pakatan Rakyat is how to translate this great reservoir of support for UBAH from Sarawakians of all races into votes in the forthcoming 13th general elections, which could be held as early as the third quarter of this year.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor