15-Day Countdown to 13GE Polling Day – 13GE: A battle between the future as represented by PR and the past as represented by BN

The 13th General Elections has shaped up to be a historic battle for Malaysia at the crossroads.

It is a battle between the future as represented by Pakatan Rakyat and the past as represented by Barisan Nasional.

All DAP leaders, members and supporters are relieved that today's Nomination Day went off smoothly as far as the DAP's Rocket symbol is concerned, with 51 DAP parliamentary and 103 State Assembly candidates filing their nomination papers and being permitted to use the Rocket symbol during the 13GE polling day on May 5.

The crisis over the use of the Rocket symbol which erupted less than 48 hours before Nomination Day, which completely derailed the DAP's final preparations for the 13GE in the last 48 hours to Nomination Day, should not have happened at all.

Clearly, political forces were at work behind the Registrar of Societies' letter refusing to recognise the DAP Central Executive Committee after the CEC had been elected for close to four months and over a complaint which had never been communicated to the DAP, whether internally by the so-called complainants or by the Registrar of Societies himself.

Be that as it may, there is always a silver lining to every crisis.

The crisis over the use of Rocket in the 13GE has highlighted the unity, cohesion and solidarity of Pakatan Rakyat five years after its formation.

The immediate willingness of PAS and PKR to allow DAP to use the PAS party symbol in Peninsular Malaysia and the PKR symbol in Sabah and Sarawak is a powerful testimony of the increasing political commitment, bond and will which have developed in the past five years among the DAP, PAS and PKR leaders to bring about far-reaching political changes on the basis of the Common Policy Framework and united political agendas announced by PR from time to time.

This is why, within 24 hours of the Rocket symbol crisis, PAS Secretary-General Mustapha Ali had signed and delivered the authorisation letters for the use of all DAP parliamentary and state assembly candidates in Peninsular Malaysia to use the PAS logo and the PKR President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail signed and delivered the authorisation letters for the use of DAP parliamentary and state assembly candidates in Sabah and Sarawak to use the PKR logo.

This is a powerful rebuttal to the allegation that DAP, PKR and PAS do not want to register Pakatan Rakyat as a legal entity because we do not want to have a common symbol to be used in the general elections.

In actual fact, Pakatan Rakyat had been trying for more than three years to register the coalition as a legal entity and it is the Registrar of Societies, probably at the behest of its politial masters, who have been putting obstacles in the way of the registration of Pakatan Rakyat.

The Rocket symbol crisis in the 13GE is the best proof that PR parties want to have a common symbol.

In fact, the great unity, cohesion and solidarity shown by DAP, PAS and PKR in the Rocket symbol crisis shows that the day when the three parties can contest in elections in Malaysia, whether in general election or by-election, using a common symbol is close at hand.

With the nomination obstacles behind us, we must focus on what the 13GE is all about, the issues and principles which must take foremost priority in the battle for the hearts and minds of the 13.3 million Malaysian voters.

The great battle of the 13GE is the battle between the future as represented by PR and the past as represented by BN.

The BN candidate for Gelang Patah, Datuk Ghani Othman is the longest-serving Mentri Besar of Johor – 18 years spanning four-terms.

I give him credit for the development and progress he has brought to Johor in his 18 years as Mentri Besar.

However, there can be no doubt that not only Johor but the whole of Malaysia is capable of even greater development and progress in the past 56 years if the human and natural resources in the country had been allowed to develop to their full potential.

A vote for BN in the 13GE on May 5 is a vote for the continuation for the policies of the past, which is limited and unable to exploit the full potentials available in the country, because of the practices of corruption, cronyism, injustices and downright bad governance.

Pakatan Rakyat does not promise “more of the same as in the past” as is being done by BN but a totally new vision for Malaysia, where the people of Johor and Malaysia start anew by eradicating the abuses, injustices, corruption and cronyism which have held back both Johor and Malaysia from the greatness they are capable of.

In the 15-day 13GE campaign, I will spell out why the 13GE is a battle between the future as represented by Pakatan Rakyat against the past as represented by Barisan Nasional.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur