Forward    Feedback    


Jeff Ooi’s entry into DAP will be followed by many Malaysians who shares in our vision of political equality, economic prosperity shared by all in a civil society that cherish justice and the rule of law


Speech at a Welcoming Jeff Ooi into the DAP Tea Party

by Lim Guan Eng



(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): We are here today to welcome Jeff Ooi into the DAP. But we came here not to just mark Jeff Ooi’s participation into active politics or DAP’s success in doing so. We came because we believe in the promises made 50 years ago during those halcyon days when cries of Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka rang throughout the land. 

50 years ago, we were promised democracy. We were promised justice. We were promised equality. We were promised rule of law. We were promised integrity. We were promised to be treated with human dignity and we were promised freedom. 

We are still awaiting these promises.  

We are here because we believe Malaysia Boleh, that Malaysia can deliver on these promises made 50 years ago. 

For far too long have Malaysians being cheated, betrayed and divided. 

One, our natural riches have been robbed, our treasury coffers misused and future pawned. In Time Asia magazine issue on March 15 2004, South East Asian economist at Morgan Stanley in Singapore Daniel Lian, figures “that the country may have lost as much as U$$100 billion or RM 380 billion since the early 1980s to corruption.”  

If Malaysia lost RM 380 billion to corruption both from privatized and government ventures during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s 22 year old reign, the situation now could have worsened. When Mahathir stepped down as Prime Minister in 2003, Malaysia’s ranking was No. 37 under the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.  

Three years later, Malaysia’s corruption ranking has deteriorated to No. 44 in 2006. By slipping down 7 places during Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahamd Badawi’s rule as Prime Minister, many fear that corruption has worsened and the cost to the nation may be even higher than during Mahathir’s era.  

Two, betrayal of his general election promise by Abdullah is serious but more serious is the betrayal of public trust under his administration. This has eroded public confidence in our democratic institutions and rule of law until selective prosecution and double-standards have become an unacceptable accepted practice.  

Witness the vitrolic attacks on bloggers for postings made by anonymous contributors who may even be UMNO operatives whilst the Prime Minister himself need not be brought to book for a false and highly seditious posting on his website. 

Finally the greatest injustice of all is probably the refusal to treat every Malaysian equally. We continue to be divided by the colour of our skin or the beliefs in our hearts or even our political affiliations even though our blood is of the same colour. Instead of one people, one Bangsa Malaysia in a secular state we have racial dominance and an Islamic state. What is so difficult about accepting Bangsa Malaysia which was described by Mahathir “as people being able to identify themselves with the country, speak Bahasa Malaysia and accept the Federal Constitution”. 

We are here because we do not want to be cheated, betrayed and divided no more. 

These are amongst the many challenges we face in realizing he promises of Merdeka 50 years ago. What’s stopped us from overcoming them is the failure of leadership, the absence of moral courage and outrage as well as yes the smallness of our politics. 

We should look at the big picture. Globalisation is upon us and yet we are so unprepared. Looking at the big picture entails an international global mindset that empowers every Malaysian with equal opportunity and not entraps us with mediocrity and mindless slogans of Towering Malaysian, Life-long Education and Islam hadhari.  

To lead Malaysia into the 21st century, we need intelligent, rational and unprejudiced Malaysians that respect diversity. There is no room for MPs who are foul-mouthed or disparage minorities and demean women as sex objects. Only decent and competent Malaysians can make Malaysia better. 

At a time when we are celebrating our 50th Merdeka celebrations, we should be looking forward to one national ideal grounded on democratic principles of justice, respect for human rights, freedom, integrity and human dignity. Let us transform Malaysia through Malaysian First, based on democracy, political equality, equal opportunity and social justice that ensures economic prosperity for all.  

Let us transform Malaysia from what it is now to what it should have been as envisaged by our founding fathers. The original Malaysian Merdeka Constitution did not allow for preventive laws such as the ISA that sanctioned detention without trail. Neither were there repressive laws such as the Printing Presses & Publications Act and freedom of the press was sacrosanct. Not only was there independence of the judiciary, there was independence of the Elections Commission where no gerrymandering was permitted and variances in voters between constituencies were limited to only 15%. 

Let us also transform Malaysia into a civil society that is inclusive. We can no longer rely on the traditional government and business sector to fulfill our expectations and needs. To ensure that every ordinary Malaysian is allowed to participate in the democratic and political process some of the elements of civil society must be evident: free association and expression; regulated, but open and market-oriented economies; aid to the poor, orphaned, elderly, sick, or disabled; and finally, civic cultures that cherish diversity and individual freedoms but also respect human needs for community and shared visions of the common good. 

Jeff Ooi needs no introduction. His accomplishments speak for themselves. His role as a loving husband and doting father is obvious. I wish to add in a few impressions. I have always believed that aspirations without accomplishments mean nothing. Let me say that Jeff has both. 

Despite his many accomplishments, his aspirations for a caring society and good governance has inspired many and earned the loyalty of his friends as well as grudging admiration of his foes.  And yet through it all, he remains a humble personality, determined to bring about a better and more informed society. In many respects he is like the DAP. We are proud that you have chosen the DAP to further your cause. 

The time for sending clowns and jokers into Parliament and State Assemblies has to stop. As Plato said, "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors". This is not going to be easy. Unlike those who join BN or MCA, Jeff is not going to gain wealth. Jeff will be joining a party fired up only by our principles and ideals to transform Malaysia. 

And we trust that Jeff Ooi’s entry into DAP will be followed by many Malaysians who shares in our vision of political equality, economic prosperity shared by all in a civil society that cherish justice and the rule of law. Let us do our duty with faith and without fear. 

We wish to warmly welcome Jeff as the new Transformer into the family of “transformers” that is the DAP.



* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

Your e-mail:

Your name: 

Your friend's e-mail: 

Your friend's name: