DAP has no role in  Indera Kayangan by-election if the by-election is cast as a battle between  “Taliban Malaysia”  and an “United States and Northern Alliance Malaysia”

Media Comment
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Thursday): The reactions of Barisan Alternative leaders to the DAP’s decision on the Indera Kayangan by-election announced by the DAP Secretary-General, Kerk Kim Hock of not contesting and not giving support in the by-election is rather confusing, especially as the Lunas State Assemblyman and KeAdilan Youth leader, Saifuddin Nasution said in Penang on Saturday that “other members of the Opposition were not slighted by the absence of support from the DAP in the by-election” and his further remarks: “If they come in later, we welcome them. It will not be the end of the world without the DAP”. (New Sunday Times 30.12.2001).

Leaders who speculate that the DAP is interested in joining the Barisan Nasional because of our decision are only exposing their  political shallowness which do not deserve response.

KeAdilan Secretary-General Saari Bahari said in the Nanyang Siang Pau  today that the nine-day campaign period between nomination day on January 10 and polling day on January 19 is too short and that he would formally write to invite the DAP to assist in the by-election campaign.

As far as I am aware, the DAP has not received any official letter from KeAdilan and if there is such a formal communication, I will discuss with the DAP Secretary-General on the response.

As an opposition, DAP would like to assist in the Indera Kayangan by-election to highlight the cause of democracy and human rights, especially as the two years after the 1999 general elections have seen the scenario going from bad to worse, as illustrated by the following five events:

In the normal course of events, the Indera Kayangan by-election would be an ideal opportunity to highlight these issues for the voters to pass a verdict on behalf of all Malaysians - and this is why the DAP would very much want to be able to campaign in the by-election.

However, all these issues would be lost in the Indera Kayangan by-election in the larger political contest between UMNO and PAS, which has undergone a qualitative change of character after the  September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

The DAP  would have  no role in the  Indera Kayangan by-election, for instance,  if the basic issue in the by-election  is a battle between  “Taliban Malaysia” or an “United States and Northern Alliance Malaysia”

UMNO Vice President Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib has said that the Barisan Nasional strategy in the by-election will focus on conveying the message to the voters that PAS is the “Taliban of Malaysia”.

In fact, UMNO and Barisan Nasional is taking the opportunity not only to convey this message to the 7,976 voters of Indera Kayangan but to the 23 million Malaysians, as illustrated by the highly tendentious, biased and unfair  programme  over Television RTM One news last night, beaming the message that PAS bans women from taking part in Quran reading contest, from healthy recreational activities, pretty women from working, and together with clippings from Al-Maunah and Taliban incidents (including the shot of execution of a woman in the middle of the Kabul football field), conveyed the scarifying and horrendous image of PAS and Barisan Alternative personifying a Taliban Malaysia.

It is clear that UMNO and Barisan Nasional are going to conduct a very dirty and dishonest election campaign in the  Indera Kayangan by-election.

In retaliation to the UMNO attack declaring “PAS as the Taliban of Malaysia’’, PAS is countering with the charge likening Umno to the “United States and Northern Alliance of Afghanistan.’’ (The Star 29.12.2001)

If the Indera Kayangan by-election is cast as a battle between the “Taliban of Malaysia” and the “United States and Northern Alliance of Malaysia’’, the DAP has no role whatsoever in such a battle, as the great issues for which the DAP joined in the formation of the Barisan Alternative - justice, freedom, democracy and good governance - would be  completely lost in such a battleground.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman