PETALING JAYA: The DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has called for a common agenda of reforms that a new coalition of Opposition parties can present to voters and convince them to vote against the Barisan Nasional at the next general election.
In a speech to DAP members in Batu Pahat, Johor, on Saturday, Lim said it was not enough to hold one-to-one contests between a unified Opposition front and the Barisan Nasional.
He said the other more important element of the strategy for success was a minimum common electoral programme.
Lim noted that he had already proposed several elements of this programme in March last year.
Apart from defending constitutionalism and the rule of law, the new Opposition coalition should have:
• five fundamental principles of defending constitutionalism such as:
– Islam as the official religion and freedom of practice for other religions;
– constitutional monarchy;
– Bahasa Malaysia as the official language and free use and study of other languages; and
– upholding the guarantee and spirit of federalism in the Malaysia Agreement.
• a 10-point programme for a high-performance economy;
• a nine-point agenda to restore the doctrine of separation of powers, as well as the independence, professionalism and integrity of national institutions; and
• seven immediate tasks to promote national unity and understanding among the diverse races, religions and cultures in the country.
Lim called for a national debate on the full scale of reforms that were needed.
He said the Opposition coalition must present “a cohesive, purpose(ful) and visionary unity” to win back the trust of the voters and to provide them with a compelling reason to turn out to vote at the next general election.
He sounded a warning against naively assuming that Malaysians would vote the same way they did in 2013.
The Opposition parties fought the 2013 General Election as Pakatan Rakyat, comprising the DAP, PKR and PAS. Differences between the DAP and PAS however led to the collapse of the coalition, and the formation of Parti Amanah Negara by breakaway PAS members.
Lim speculated that PAS would suffer a massive drop in the number of seats it held because they could no longer bank on the support of non-Malay voters.
He believed the Opposition would lose control of the Selangor state government to the Barisan Nasional and lose as many as 20 seats in the state assembly.
However, the formation of the new Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin could make a difference if the party could win a large portion of the votes that went to Umno in 2013.