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Date: 01 Dec 1999
Kit Siang: Pressure on Umno now
PENANG: DAP's disastrous outing and PAS' greater victory will now put pressure on Umno to compete with PAS on the Islamic terrain, DAP secretary-general Lim Kit Siang said here yesterday.
He said the election results had far-reaching repercussions on politics as Umno, which on average had beaten PAS by a slim majority, would now be under pressure to push for Islamisation policies.
"DAP has been consistent and uncompromising in rejecting an Islamic state," he told a press conference here. But DAP's voice, which had been strong, courageous, and fearless over the last three decades, had now been paralysed because it had the weakest position in Parliament with only 10 MPs compared with PAS' 27," he added.
"What I feared most has come to pass. The paralysing of the DAP voice will have grave consequences on nation building," Lim said.
"In most of the past 30 years, through seven parliamentary terms, the DAP had been the leading parliamentary opposition party, having more seats than any other party.
"The leader of the Opposition in the new parliament would be from PAS for the first time in 30 years," he said.
Lim said DAP was trying to analyse, absorb and understand the far-reaching implications of the results.
On his defeat, he said his only regret was that "I failed to convince the people of Kebun Bunga and Bukit Bendera to be in the forefront of the movement to bring about a paradigm shift in politics in the new millennium."
Meanwhile, Aliran president P. Ramakrishnan said yesterday the real winner in the elections was not Umno or the Barisan, but PAS.
He said PAS had not only captured Terengganu and strengthened its grip on Kelantan but had also increased its parliamentary seats from seven to 27, a jump of almost 300%.
"PAS has made dramatic inroads into previously impregnable Umno strongholds of Pahang, Perak, and Selangor and will pose a very serious and real threat to Umno in the next election," he said, adding that the swing of votes from the Malay community in the peninsula to the opposition was very significant.