KUALA LUMPUR: DAP has admitted that there are worrying signs for the Opposition in the next general election, saying that the Barisan Nasional looks set to wipe out the party.
Secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock said the party was preparing itself for the toughest-ever election in its history.
“In the face of such formidable challenge, we are not retreating but we are going to immediately gear up for the next general election to face the toughest electoral battle in our party's history,'' he said yesterday during the party's 13th national conference opening here.
Kerk said it was crucial for the party not only to win but to “win big, and emerge as the largest opposition party” in order to send a clear message.
DAP has suffered losses in the past two general elections, and Kerk admitted that the party was losing supporters faster than it was gaining new ones.
Among others, Kerk said even though the DAP would not return to the former opposition pact, it was prepared to carry out seat negotiations with all opposition parties to ensure straight fights with the Barisan Nasional.
He said he had already written to Parti Keadilan Nasional president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in late October and she had agreed.
“I'm very sure that even if we cannot achieve an all out agreement on seat allocation, we will at least be able to minimise a lot of overlapping,'' Kerk said.
He said it was highly possible that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad would call for the next elections before he retires in October in order to enhance the Barisan's chances of a landslide win.
Later, delegates at the conference passed several amendments to the party constitution including limiting the secretary-general's tenure to only three terms whether consecutive or otherwise.
The new clause does not have any retrospective effect and will only come into play after the next party election in 18 months time.
Kerk said the proposal to limit the secretary-general's term originated from him, adding that it should not be seen as a ploy to restrict his influence in the party.
The delegates also passed amendments which created the posts of assistant to the party's international secretary and national director of political education.