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Transforming Malaysia into a 21st century nation with democracy & justice for all
by Lim Guan Eng
(Parliament House, Thursday): The Machap by-election offers the 9,623 voters an early start to the benefits of an election where they will be pampered with cash and every wish fulfilled. However this by-election would not be about choosing whether they want good governance or less corruption or greater accountability and less abuses of power or continuous development instead of once every 5 years. The Machap by-election is also the final dry run of the coming general election campaign expected between September 2006 to March 2007 next year, where the same themes will be used.
That is why this by-election is more than just about solving local problems, from poor drainage to dilapidated roads to shoddy service by local governments or contractors. This by-election is also about the future place of our country in the 21st century. Do we want to transform Malaysia with 21st century ideas that can propel Malaysia forward amongst the ranks of developed nations? Or are we satisfied with tried and failed 20th century ideas that continues to divides us with fear lies and short-term monetary gains.
DAP asks Macap voters to start the process of transforming Malaysia with democracy and justice for all. The greatest injustice of all is the refusal to treat every Malaysian equally. Instead we continue to be discriminated by the colour of our skin or the gods we pray or the political party we support even though our blood is of the same colour. Why should we continue to be defined by our ethnic background when we are all part of the human race?
At a time when we are celebrating our 50th Merdeka celebrations, we should be looking forward to a one national ideal grounded on democratic principles of justice, respect for human rights, freedom, integrity and human dignity. Instead of looking forward to the next 50 years with modern 21st century ideas, we are reaching back 60 years to 1946 to rely on UMNO’s ketuanan Melayu or Malay dominance as the basis of nation-building. Clearly UMNO rejects political equality and equal opportunity for all Malaysians, seeking to divide by race and religion rather than unite Malaysians as one people.
Let us transform Malaysia to a 21st century nation that accords political equality, equal opportunity and social justice that ensures economic prosperity for all. Political equality means Bangsa Malaysia who former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said “are people being able to identify themselves with the country, speak Bahasa Malaysia and accept the Constitution”. Even this is now rejected by UMNO and BN.
Equal opportunity is not just giving everyone the right to study, right to work, right to spend what is earned, right to own property and have the state as a servant and not as a master but also about our obligation to help the needy. No one is fated to be poor just as no one is entitled to wealth. Social justice gives everyone the opportunity to improve their standard of living through equal access to education and employment.
Just as we believe in the power of the market to ensure efficient allocation of resources that improves productivity and effective delivery, we also believe in the important role of the political process in ensuring equity that can guarantee access for all. We must free up the potential of our greatest resource - our human resources- to do the best from our abilities.
A transformed Malaysia empowers Malaysians so that every individual has an equal chance to achieve our great Malaysian Dream of success by the dint of our personal effort. From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs where everyone has the freedom and opportunity to succeed just as the poor and disadvantaged expects to receive assistance.
Confucious said that “a wicked government is more ferocious than a rapacious tiger”. Some of the BN government's "wickedness" include:-
What can we do to stop such injustices? Many, especially the young, have stopped engaging in politics because they feel bereft of hope that there can make any difference in their lives. Making you lose hope serves the ruling party’s interest of continuing with such policies detrimental to the people’s interests.
We should not fall into MCA or UMNO’s trap to make us all give up and lose hope for change. If we want to be truly Malaysian, we have to engage with decision-makers who impact on our lives. Let us participate in the political process by first choosing honest and competent leaders who can make a positive difference and give us hope to a more unified Bangsa Malaysia.
Remember a MCA victory is an UMNO victory to continue with the status quo without any transparency, accountability nor integrity. One more victory for MCA and UMNO would not make any difference. But one victory less for MCA and UMNO can help to transform Malaysia into a 21st century nation so that Malaysia belongs to us ordinary folks, accords us political equality and equal economic opportunity as well as ensure social justice.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP