Three great challenges in next general election which will shape and determine the future of the nation and the coming generations

- 37th National  DAP Anniversary  dinner

by Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala Lumpur,  Sunday): In the 1999 general election, DAP helped form the Barisan Alternative together with Parti Keadilan Nasional, PAS and Parti Rakyat Malaysia hoping  to create a new political paradigm  with the  end of  the unbroken Barisan Nasional two-thirds parliamentary majority  and crushing its unchallenged political hegemony. 

If the DAP had won 30 parliamentary seats in 1999, Barisan Nasional  would have lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority although it would still have a very comfortable majority to continue to be the Federal Government.  But the political landscape would never again be the same in Malaysia, for the government would have to come to terms with the forces of greater democratization and have to accommodate the increasing demands for greater accountability, transparency,  respect for human rights, the rule of law, social justice and good governance or  forfeit more popular support. 

But this was not to be, as  the DAP suffered an unprecedented  electoral setback instead of achieving an unprecedented breakthrough – losing its position as the largest parliamentary opposition in Parliament. 

The DAP’s electoral debacle in the 1999 general election has resulted in far-reaching repercussions detrimental to the well-being of the nation and the long-term interests of the people. 

If the DAP has  30 MPs and not just 10 MPs after the 1999 general election,  the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, would not have made the “929 Declaration” at the Gerakan national delegates’ conference on Sept. 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic state –  and MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders would not have so easily agreed to endorse  the “929 Declaration”, in disregard and defiance of the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the social contract and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion, but Malaysia is not an Islamic state, whether ala-UMNO or ala-PAS. 

With  30 DAP MPs, Mahathir and the MCA and Gerakan leaders would know that they would  have to pay a very heavy political price with such an unconstitutional and arbitrary  “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic state.  But  with a weakened DAP representation in Parliament, they believe they do not have to pay any such political price.

There are three great challenges for Malaysians  in next general election which will shape and determine the future of the nation and the coming generations, viz: 

  • To send a clear and unmistakable message to reject the “929 Declaration” and to defend and uphold the 46-year Merdeka Constitution and  social contract of the major communities on achieving Independence in 1957 on the secular basis and character of the nation.
  • To stop the “2-4-3” education policy to use English to teach mathematics and science in Std. One in Chinese primary schools which  is detrimental to the long-term educational interests of the pupils, and to replace it with the DAP’s “1-2-3” policy of  firstly, strengthening English, secondly, maintaining the traditional unexcelled high standards of maths and science; and thirdly, no change in the character of Chinese primary schools; and
  • To end the two-thirds parliamentary control and stranglehold of Barisan Nasional to unleash long-suppressed creative energies and democratic forces in the country to mark a major breakthrough to  end the “First World Infrastructure, Third World Mentality” Malaysian malaise to usher Malaysia into the ranks of developed nations.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman