Just now, the DAP “giant killer” in the 1969 general election, 84-year-old Chan Fu King, who as bus-conductor defeated the MCA Health Minister, Dr. Ng Kam Poh, told us how during his term as MP for Teluk Anson (1969 -1974), MCA leaders including the then MCA Youth leader Lee San Choon (who went on to become the MCA President) tried to induce and seduce him to defect from the DAP to the MCA.
I am reminded of DAP’s darkest days after the DAP won 13 parliamentary and 31 State Assembly seats in DAP’s first general election outing in 1969, a result we had not expected as we only sought a modest breakthrough in Parliament and various State Assemblies to gird ourselves for a battle for next two to three decades to create a more democratic, just and better Malaysia for all Malaysians.
DAP’s unexpected electoral success was made use of by some irresponsible politicians to create the May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur, and I myself was detained for the first time under the Internal Security Act when I returned to Subang from Kota Kinabalu, where I had gone over on May 13, 1969 itself to campaign for independent candidates in Sabah as polling in Sabah was scheduled to be held two weeks after the Peninsular Malaysia elections of May 10, 1969.
I remember vividly the prediction of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Ismail, in 1972 that the DAP was “one foot in the grave”, forecasting an early end for the DAP.
Tun Ismail was not indulging in idle prediction, for looking back, it was clear that he was privy to a high-powered campaign to crush the DAP by a double pincer strategy to seduce DAP MPs and State Assemblymen to defect from DAP to MCA and Barisan Nasional, from a combination of money politics or intimation and politics of fear to use all the repressive powers at the command of the government.
As a result, during the first term of DAP in Parliament and the various State Assemblies after 1969, we suffered the worst attrition rate with some 30 to 40 per cent of DAP MPs and State Assemblymen finally succumbing either to the temptation of monetary and material inducements or the pressures of politics of fear and intimidation.
As Tun Ismail indicated in his forecast in 1972, the masterplan of the UMNO/BN strategists was to ensure that DAP’s both feet were sent to the “grave”, and it is a testament of the indomitable will and spirit of DAP leaders, members and supporters that the DAP could withstand our darkest days in the 70s, to soldier on through thick and think, trial and tribulation, to the present day where we can not only celebrate the DAP’s 50th anniversary, but to DAP’s greatest electoral achievements.
But I must warn that the greatest challenge of the DAP lies ahead, not in past 50 years but in the next 30 to 50 years.
Furthermore, DAP leaders must be prepared for new trials and tribulations, for there are those who are doing their utmost to demonise and destroy the DAP leadership to obstruct the DAP from continuing to grow from strength to strength – transforming the DAP from the party of choice in the urban areas into a partner of a successful national coalition, Pakatan Harapan, to enjoy the trust of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region throughout the country.
DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng has come under incessant attack, the most recent the baseless allegation that he is corrupt over the purchase of a house in Penang.
I myself will be charged under the Sedition Act in the coming days in a new repression against dissent.
I have been accused of all sorts of things under the sun in my 50 years in politics in Malaysia – of being a communist; cause of the riots of May 13, 1969 although I was never in Kuala Lumpur from May 10 to May 13, 1969; anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
There is not a iota of truth in all these allegations.
DAP has been accused of wanting to create a Christian Malaysia, when there is not an iota of truth in it, as the DAP has openly declared our support for the fundamental features of the Malaysian Constitution, in particular Malay as the official language, Islam as the official religion of Malaysia while maintaining the country’s secular status, and the system of constitutional monarchy in Malaysia.
DAP has been accused of receiving RM1.2 billion from Israeli sources in exchange for building an Israeli naval base in Port Dickson.
I wonder what the police would have done if such wild and baseless allegations are made against the UMNO/BN leaders, as for instance, an open allegation that Najib had received RM1.2 billon from Israeli sources to pursue Israeli objectives? Would the police remain silent or swing into action to charge those who made such allegations under various laws in the country, like criminal defamation and provisions under the Malaysian Multimedia and Communications Act?
Be that as it may, DAP leaders, members and supporters must be prepared for the great challenges ahead of us in the coming years and decades.
(Speech at the Perak DAP Dinner to honour DAP members with the party for 30 years held in Ipoh on Saturday, 19th March 2016 at 10 pm)