Central Executive Committee Report Presented in National Congress 2012
The DAP National Delegates are here assembled at Penang International Sports Arena (PISA), Bayan Baru, Penang, on 15th and 16th December 2012, for the 16th DAP Congress to set the party’s direction and elect a new leadership for the next three years. As the 13th General Election is likely to be called in the next hundred days, the DAP National Delegates gather to ponder upon the future of Malaysia.
The theme of the 16th Congress is “Perubahan di Tanganmu” (“Your chance to change”).
This is the first national delegates’ meeting, whether a congress or national conference, that is held in Penang since 1991 when the Tanjong Declaration was agreed upon.
- The previous Congress was held on 23rd and 24th August 2008 in Kuala Lumpur with “Competency, Accountability, Transparency” as its theme.
- Two National Conferences were held in the intervening period between the 15th Congress and the 16th Congress:
- A National Conference with the theme “Ubah Sekarang, Selamatkan Malaysia” (“Change Now, Save Malaysia”) was held in Ipoh, Perak, on 17th January 2010.
- The Secretary-General discussed the concept of “Middle Malaysia” as the National Conference was held during the height of the controversies over the use of the term “Allah” by non-Muslims which was exploited by right-wing groups with the aim of splitting Pakatan Rakyat.
- The Secretary-General said that “It is crucial to note that there is only one middle ground in Malaysian politics, and it is the middle ground that matters. Make no mistake that Middle Malaysia will decide which coalition will govern next.”
- “To embrace Middle Malaysia, Pakatan Rakyat must be seen as moderate and inclusive, and distance and differentiate ourselves from our exclusive, racist and extremist opponents.”
- The Ipoh National Conference reaffirmed DAP’s commitment to Pakatan Rakyat as the new national “muafakat rakyat” (people’s consensus) and endorsed its then newly released “Common Policy Framework.”
- A National Conference with the theme of “Impian Bangsa Malaysia” (A Malaysian Dream) was held in Shah Alam, Selangor, on 8th January 2012.
- The Shah Alam Declaration adopted at the National Conference included but not limited to the following points:
- To defend the system of Parliamentary Democracy, and Constitutional Monarchy with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the Head of State and constitutional monarchies for the states; and committed to upholding the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land and to honour it in the spirit of the Merdeka Constitution 1957 and the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
- To preserve the special position of the Malays and Bumiputeras while protecting the rights of other races as enshrined in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.
- To safeguard the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation while simultaneously upholding the freedom of other religions to be practiced in peace and harmony, as enshrined in Article 3 and 11 of the Federal Constitution.
- To dignify Bahasa Melayu as the National Language as enshrined in Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, while encouraging the use and study of English and mother tongues in order to create a society that excels through language diversity.
- To recognise the spirit of equal partnership inherent in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and champion the rights of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
- The Shah Alam National Conference also amended the Party Constitution to enable the party to extend the Congress by an additional 6 months.
- Organisationally, the party has expanded massively since the 15th Congress in 2008:
- The number of registered branches increased from 311 in 2008 to 1128.
- The number of National Delegates increased from 948 in 2008 to 2576 persons.
- The number of paid up members increased from 84,000 in 2008 to 150,000.
- The DAP National Headquarters was moved from No. 24, Jalan 24/9, Petaling Jaya to Jalan Yew, Off Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur in 2010.
- In terms of elected representatives, the party currently has
- 28 Members of Parliament in 2008, Sdr. Wong Ho Leng joined DAP’s parliamentary caucus after a historic and miraculous victory in the Sibu by-election on 16th May 2010.
- A sole State Elected Representative in Sabah and 70 State Elected Representatives in the Peninsula states, after Jelapang and Malim Nawar State Elected Representatives quit the party, resulting in the fall of the Perak State Government in 2009.
- 12 State Elected Representatives being elected in the Sarawak State Election on 16th April 2011, doubling the number of DAP reps from six who were elected in the 2006 State Election.
- A Chief Minister and 7 Exco Members from the Penang State Government and 3 Exco Members from the Selangor State Government, as well as the Speaker of Selangor Assembly.
- Two Senators, namely Sdr. Dr Ariffin Omar (Penang, from May 2012) and Sdr. Chandra Mohan (Selangor, from December 2012).
The State of the Party
- The 2008 general election was a watershed for Malaysian politics and certainly a game changer for DAP. Barisan Nasional was defeated and replaced by Pakatan Rakyat state governments in Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Kelantan. We also achieved the following:
- Greater gender inclusiveness. DAP fielded 19 female candidates nationwide, 14 of them were elected.
- Greater multi-ethnic inclusiveness. Nearly thirty percent of our candidates were ethnic Indians and 7 of them were elected MPs and 12 as State Assemblymen. To those who keep maliciously painting DAP as a mono-ethnic party, we want to tell them that the DAP has more ethnic Indian elected representatives than MIC.
- New generation. A third of DAP’s candidates were of aged 30 or below. Among our elected representatives, more than a third are under 40 when they were elected in 2008.
- Broadening of DAP’s appeal. Estimates shown that our candidates have obtained averagely 20 percent or higher of Malay votes in urban centres.
- Moving forward, DAP aspires to be known for the following:
- A truly Malaysian party – historically, DAP is the first Pan-Malaysian political party. Geographically, DAP is the only Malaysian party that has significant presence in every state of Malaysia; the CEC has put particular emphasis on Johor, Sabah and Sarawak as frontline states while the Perlis State Committee were formally established between the last Congress and this.
- In the last four years since the 15th Congress, we have made significant inroads in Sabah where many who joined DAP are ethnic Kadazan Dusun Murut while a Dayak Consultative Council was formed to express the aspirations of the Dayak community in Sarawak.
- While the DAP is proud to be seen as the natural choice of party for ethnic Indians to join and to vote for, we also want to be identified as an attractive party of choice for the Malays, especially urban Malays, to join and to vote for. From the establishments of Roketkini.com, a Bahasa Malaysia daily news portal of the DAP, and Sekolah Demokrasi, a political education programme in Bahasa Malaysia, as well attracting Malay thinkers to join our ranks, we are making progress.
- The party that has the best ideas – we aspire to be the natural party of choice for all Malaysians who believe in changing the nation for the better with new ideas. The party is always ready to renew our discourse while continually holding steadfast to the values of freedom, justice and solidarity. For instance, DAP aspires to be Malaysia’s first green party. We were the first political party that employed a full-time environmental officer at the headquarters back in 2007. Today, the sustainable development agenda is high on the national agenda, especially after the public uprising ignited by the Lynas fiasco.
- The party that the young identify with – DAP wants to be known not only for having many young members but also for having the most number of young leaders who can stand on their feet to take on political challenges. The DAPSY Congress on 9th December 2012 made a bold move to lower its age limit from 40 to 35 so that the youth wing is “not only young at heart but young physically.” We must take cognizance that 72 percent of Malaysians are below 40 years old while 48 percent are below 25 years old. A new DAPSY leadership was elected at the DAPSY Congress to expand the political space for youth representation in national politics.
- The party that advances women’s rights – DAP desires to be the first choice of party for women on the basis of our belief in gender equality and the wide space DAP offers to women not only in the women’s wing but in the mainstream. DAP Wanita held its inaugural Congress on 9th December 2012 with a new elected leadership to take the wing to greater heights in our struggle to advance gender equality.
- The party that the progressive forces ally with – between the 15th Congress and this Congress, Malaysian civil society has transformed tremendously, especially with the gigantic mobilisation efforts for the Bersih 2.0 rally on 9th July 2011 and the Bersih 3.0 rally on 28th April 2012, as well as the anti-Lynas rally on 26th February 2012 and the GreenWalk on 25th November 2012, among many other rallies. We support the growing importance of civil society as an important pillar of a mature democracy and is ready to be a constructive partner.
- Performance of State Governments
DAP can take some pride in our record in the state governments in Penang and Selangor.
- Both states have continued to attract high levels of direct investment especially in the manufacturing sectors. From 2009 to 2011, Selangor and Penang combined received RM50b in total investments which rank these two states at No.1 and No.2 in the investment chart. Both states combined for 36 percent or more than a third of total investments in the entire country during this period. This record is a reflection of the efficient and transparent administration of the Pakatan-led governments in both states. This record should also silence any critics which say that Pakatan-led governments are somehow unstable and would lead the country to chaos. Indeed those who advocate for ‘stability over chaos’ should actually vote for Pakatan Rakyat since it is the only coalition which can ensure that the country is well-managed moving forward since under the current BN government, Malaysia is heading on a path towards economic chaos as a result of spiraling debt, corruption and abuse of power.
- DAP can also take pride in the fact that both state governments in Penang and Selangor have introduced important legislative reforms and governance measures. Both states have introduced their own Freedom of Information (FOI) Enactment which allows for greater public access to state government-related documents. The Penang State Government prides itself on an administration run according to the principles of Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT) while the Selangor State Legislature has introduced the Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (SELCAT) to hold public hearings to investigate important issues related to the governing of the state. Both states have introduced open tenders for large procurement contracts. The Penang state government is actively pursuing options to hold local government elections while the Selangor state government has experimented with holding elections for the post of ‘ketua kampung’ in three Chinese new villages. Penang recently introduced a historic anti-hopping bill and Selangor became the first state legislature to name an opposition BN state representative as the head of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Sadly, UMNO prevented its own state representative from taking up this role.
- We can also be proud of the record of both state governments in Penang and Selangor for accumulating a record amount of financial services for the two states. The prudent financial management practiced by both states has allowed a greater amount of the state budget to be allocated to social welfare which goes directly to the people. In the most recent Penang state government budget, for example, RM20 million was allocated to eradicate poverty in the state by the end of 2013. This comes on the heels of the eradication of hardcore poverty in the state via social welfare mechanisms introduced by the state government.
- The Big Picture
- The next General Election will be the mother of all elections as it is the first time since the Alliance won the 1955 self-government election that a change of government is possible. The Alliance/Barisan Nasional is currently the world’s longest serving elected government. DAP and Pakatan Rakyat must be ready to face the dirtiest ever campaign by Barisan Nasional, which is already evident in the past four years, and emerge victorious to safeguard Malaysia’s future for all.
- DAP is acutely aware of the challenges ahead for the DAP, Pakatan Rakyat and Malaysia as we strive to reshape Malaysia into a democratic, united, equitable and sustainable nation, guided by the values of freedom, justice and solidarity.
- The mandate DAP is seeking from Malaysian voters is to serve as a responsible coalition partner in government together with Parti KeADILan Rakyat and Parti Islam SeMalaysia within the Pakatan Rakyat framework to realise the common agenda set forth in the Common Policy Platform and Buku Jingga.
- We urge all leaders, members and supporters of DAP, PKR and PAS to focus on winning Middle Malaysia and champion the agreed common agenda of Pakatan Rakyat for a new Malaysia. Pakatan Rakyat must win the majority of the 2.9 million first-time voters as well as other swing voters. Without winning the 4 million middle ground voters, there would not be a new Pakatan Rakyat Federal Government.
- The most important mission of a new Pakatan Rakyat Federal Government with DAP as a coalition partner is to implement full democratisation of all aspects of Malaysian life for a united Malaysia.
- It is also crucial for a new Pakatan Rakyat Federal Government with DAP as a coalition partner to champion an economic philosophy that not merely serves cronies but is in solidarity with the 99 percent majority, so as to create a sharing society; that recognises corruption as the most important obstacle for the Malaysian economy to move to the next level; and focuses on uplifting the household income of the bottom 60 percent to boost domestic demand and hence the national economy as a whole for all.
Let us move forward as one to change Malaysia for the better together.
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