In 1995, Lim Kit Siang launched a ‘Robocop’ campaign to steal Penang from Barisan Nasional.
The plan was for the DAP to turn Penang into a model state before stretching the party’s influence across the west coast of the peninsula.
But the plan backfired – the Malays began to turn up in droves at DAP ceramahs out of anger, confusion and curiosity.
The senior Lim miscalculated and thought that the high turnout was a sign that Barisan Nasional was truly done for.
THE THIRD FORCE
As we draw closer to polling day, the PKR-led opposition pact is impressing upon us that the phenomenal turnouts at the Kedah and Teluk Intan rallies are signs of trouble for Barisan Nasional. Dr Mahathir Mohamad keeps stressing that the numbers surpassed anything “he has seen in his day,” while Lim Kit Siang is grinning from ear to ear, confident that the former premier succeeded in rallying the Malays against the administration of Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Is that a fact?
To answer that question, let us traverse back through time to 1995, the year the country held its 9th general election.
Back then, the ruling Barisan Nasional launched a multi-layered manifesto that focused on the country’s economy and industry in an all-inclusive sense. But the DAP was quick to call Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘bluff’. Its then secretary general, Lim Kit Siang, stressed that the only way the economy could be seen through multicultural lenses would be for the Bumiputera status accorded to indigenous groups to be granted to everyone born within the country.
It wasn’t long thereafter that the senior Lim launched his very own ten-point ‘Robocop’ campaign, promising to liberalise Penang should the DAP be allowed to govern the island state. But the left-leaning Malays began to see red – they were of the view that the DAP was challenging the special rights accorded to them and the status of Islam as the country’s official religion. Yet, wherever you went, you’d find more Malays in DAP ceramahs than you would at MCA (Barisan) events.
More Malays at DAP ceramahs? You sure?
Whenever a DAP and Barisan candidate held ceramahs in spitting distances, it is the latter who would be seen sitting down and swatting flies. An exaggeration, no doubt, but an apt depiction of just how the chauvinist party “sucked the dear life” out of Barisan-sponsored events. Many a time, you would find candidates from the ruling coalition speaking to rows of elderly makciks and pakciks who didn’t seem to have the energy to venture towards the DAP tent.
Yet, it is the Barisan candidate who almost always stole the election.
How is that possible?
Well, as the polling day drew closer, the Malays were more and more angered by the DAP’s liberalisation rants. The only reason they visited DAP tents was to gauge how determined the party was to abolish Malay special rights and the official status accorded to Islam. Put simply, it was anger and curiosity that drove the Malays to DAP ceramahs, not the popularity of Kit Siang or his gang of chauvinists. Yet, the senior Lim went yodelling around town, gloating that the end of days was drawing near for Barisan.
But the poll proved otherwise.
In the wee hours of the morning, on the 26th of April 1995, it became clear that Barisan swept the election with a 162-seat majority, 35 in excess of its previous outing. It dawned upon Kit Siang that the majority of Malays seen at DAP ceramahs were there out of curiosity and not to lend the party support. Even the MCA took home an additional 12 seats, meaning, the Chinese were not at all convinced that the DAP had what it took to liberalise the economy. The 1995 election turned out to be the DAP’s worst outing in its (then) 30-year history.
Quite the opposite, they found this absolutely un-Islamic, and to some extent, demeaning.
So Islam was the reason the Malays avoided DAP?
You’re damned right it was.
Such is the Malay culture, that every time they’re faced with a dilemma, they tend to seek for inspiration within and from Allah the almighty. As the 14th general election (GE14) draws closer, it wouldn’t matter to them what Najib has in store for the economy or if the GST is here to stay – all they’re concerned with is the reason Mahathir agreed to share a stage with Kit Siang, a man they feel spent the batter half of his life insulting our rulers and weaponising Islam.
It follows, that you’re likely to find the majority of Malays loitering around DAP (PKR) tents in the lead up to the general election. The more they attend DAP-led ceramahs, the more convinced they will be that Mahathir belongs to a category of Muslims known as the Al-Fasiqul Milli, i.e., those who violate Islamic laws but are still keepers of the faith. In a sense, the former premier is a threat to Islam and is in no way qualified to lead the nation.
Even the skeptics are beginning to see this.