Sarawak state general elections is the first in the world to exploit the 911  terror to intimidate voters to rally behind the incumbent party which makes a mockery of free, fair and clean elections

- Solidarity with  Fong Po Kuan dinner 
Lim Kit Siang

(Miri, Friday)Last month, I  spoke at the LSE  Malaysia Club 2001-2002 at the  London School of Economics and Political Science  as to how the  September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington have changed the political landscape not only globally, but for every country, including Malaysia.

I said that the 911 terrorist attacks have been a boon to incumbents in government, especially authoritarian regimes not only to  justify their undemocratic and repressive laws but to introduce even more draconian legislation and policies to  further clamp down on democracy and human rights which have nothing to do with the war against terrorism and that Malaysia is no exception.

I gave the example of the Australian national elections on November 10, 2001 where John Howard was able to head off a certain defeat for his coalition by fully exploiting the 911  "terror" card in the Australian polls.

I warned that the "terror" election campaign would be the most important weaponry of the Barisan Nasional electoral arsenal, which would be hundreds-fold more powerful than its three-decades-old "May 13" campagn of fear, pointing out that such tactics had already been employed in the recently-concluded Sarawak state general elections.

During the  question-and-answer session, a young man stood up to challenge my statement that the Barisan Nasional had used the 911 terror campaign to instil fear among the voters in the Sarawak state general elections in September last year  and, identifying himself as a Sarawak State Assemblyman, declared categorically that no such 911 terror  tactics had ever been used in the Sarawak state during the state polls.

I told the first-term State Assemblyman that he must be referring to a very different Sarawak from the Sarawak I was in during the state general elections, as I could vouch as an eye-witness to the 911 terror tactics  employed by the SUPP in Bintulu, Sibu and Kuching in the last few days of the election campaign, where posters, streamers, billboards  and propaganda was steeped with the 911 terror theme - and the most infamous was the SUPP pamphlet with photographs of the collapsing  World Trade Centre in New York after being ploughed by airliners piloted by suicide al-Qaeda  hijackers.

I advised that first-term Sarawak State Assemblyman that the first rule a budding politician must learn is never to say things he knows nothing about - that he could stand up and declare that the 911 terror campaign was never used in his constituency, but he could not say that it was not used in other constituencies unless he had checked and verified the matter.

In fact, the Sarawak state general elections on September 27, 2001  is the first in the world to exploit the 911  terrors  to intimidate voters to rally behind the incumbent party which  makes a mockery of free, fair and clean elections - something which the Sarawak Barisan Nasional has nothing to be proud about - and it won't be the last time such a terror card will be played  in Malaysian elections.

The Indera Kayangan by-election is the second example of the cynical exploitation of the 911 terror card by the Barisan Nasional to put fear among the voters  to distract them from the many long-standing issues of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance - as illustrated by the nightly 90-second  Barisan Nasional propaganda footage which doctored the CNN clips and  broadcast under the camouflage of  prime-time news over national television.

But it is in the next general elections, which I expect in 18 months sometime next year, that the 911 terror election campaign of the Barisan Nasional would be deployed in its full intensity, destructiveness and wickedness.

If Malaysian voters are unable to see through the dishonesty, fraud and wickedness of the Barisan Nasional's terror election campaign in the next general elections, then the biggest casualty will be democracy, justice,  good governance and the best welfare of Malaysians in the next few decades.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman