Speech by Kerk Chee Yee (Political Secretary to DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang) on 1 March 2018 at DAP CNY Open House at Kampung Abdullah, Segamat, Johor
Three conditions that make two-coalition system probable for the first time in the history of Malaysia
We will face the general election in a matter of weeks and no doubt we are facing the most important election of all time. We are now at a juncture where Malaysians can potentially decide the fate of the nation for the next several decades if not centuries, when two-party system / two-coalition system finally takes place for the first time in the history of Malaysia.
In democratic countries where people can elect their government via ballots, we often see change of government, mostly between two dominating parties / coalitions. Ironically, the same has not happened to Malaysia for the past 61 years. In GE13 that took place in 2013, there is a clear rejection of Barisan Nasional when around 52% of Malaysian voters voted for Pakatan Rakyat, the then opposition pact. However, due to gerrymandering, Barisan Nasional held 60% of Parliamentary seats (133 /222) and formed the government with just 47% of popular votes.
Malaysians demanded for a change of government not only because Barisan Nasional failed to be competent and responsible, but because Malaysians’ realisation of the importance of a normal democracy and two-coalition system. It’s been for some times now since Malaysians are frustrated and upset about the economic situation we are in, but the leaders of Barisan Nasional and even the Prime Minister himself repeatedly ignored and denied the voice of the rakyat. Parti pres data are thrown at the vulnerable Malaysians as an attempt by Barisan Nasional government to conceal its ineptitude. Without two-coalition system where a government can be held responsible, at risk of losing its favour if the people are dissatisfied and are empowered to exert influence on the ruling coalition, we are more likely to see complacency than improvement.
In the context of GE14, the 3 conditions below will provide a good chance for Malaysia to achieve two-coalition system for the first time in the history of Malaysia:
1) An information-friendly environment
The has been a revolutionary change in how people obtain information in the past 10 to 15 years. Social media became an essential part of daily routine for many. The rise of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and other messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Wechat and LINE have transformed the way information are disseminated and discussed.
Looking back at 2008, the historical swing of electoral votes in favour of the opposition was largely attributed to the uprising of social media. In Malaysia where Barisan Nasional holds control over most of the media, be it television news, printed press or radio broadcasting, social media has paved the way for information to be obtained by the mass. Without internet and social media, financial scandals like 1MDB or FGV may never be known to concerned Malaysians. We may even believe claims by our Prime Minister and his ministers that our economy is doing fantastically.
In a information-friendly environment that we are in now, Barisan Nasional may use “fake news” to explain away scandals and governance failure, but they will never be able to completely stop truths from being heard.
2) Pakatan Harapan’s ability to turn zeal into readiness
A government is supposed to take care of the people and any coalition that is serious about its vision as a government must be at least able to provide solutions to the problems faced by the people.
Winning in the election and forming the federal government is only the first step. What Pakatan Harapan has to work on includes short term and long term measures to its vision on a new Malaysia where the era of a corrupt ruling regime must end so that there will be reasons for Malaysia to shine. Solutions to the dire economic conditions such as declining purchasing power, affordability of properties, unemployment among youths etc must be dealt with with enough political will and proper execution. Pakatan Harapan has formulated in its manifestos the plan in addressing the issues concerned, which will be launched soon.
By announcing the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister candidates, as well as completing seats allocation months before general election is called, Pakatan Harapan is pacing itself very well in the preparation for the battle. Pakatan Harapan has properly and successfully turned its zeal into vehicle, and ready to change Malaysia for all Malaysians.
3) Voters’ sentiment
This is perhaps the most important condition.
Many are angered by the regime, and many are looking forward to a change. No Malaysian was left inspired by a prime minister who put them into tough economic situation and repeatedly told them to be grateful with what BN is doing; no Malaysian was left inspired by a ruling coalition that does not take battling corruption seriously while the nation is being named the “Kleptocracy at its worst”; no Malaysian was left inspired by being deprived of a normal democracy and being denied the chance to express their concerns electorally.
I’m just as angry, upset, and disappointed as you. Which is why I’m here with you today, making sure we are doing all we could to materialise a new beginning for Malaysia. It’s a lie by Barisan Nasional that tomorrow will not be better when they’re gone. It’s a lie they want you to believe.
Only by changing the government for the first time in Malaysia, two-coalition system will be possible. Let’s change Malaysia forever in the coming general election.