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Press Statement by Lim Guan Eng in Penang on Tuesday, 19th February 2008: 

DAP identifies 8 key general election issues for Penang to decide whether to join in a Malaysian people’s movement of change towards democracy or continue with UMNO’s political dominance 

DAP identifies 8 key general election issues for Penang to decide whether to join in a Malaysian people’s movement of change towards democracy or continue with UMNO’s political dominance that stifles democracy with a one-party state. As the home state of the Prime Minister, Penang voters will play an important national role in shaping the results of the coming general elections.

BN is not only expected to win the 2008 general elections. BN is expected to win big. The only question is whether we can allow BN an overwhelming mandate of tsunami proportions where BN won 91% of the parliamentary seat. There are 8 key reasons why we need to send in more ROCKETS into both the Parliament and the Penang State Legislative Assembly.

1. Say NO to UMNO’s Political Dominance

• Save democracy by having more people’s voices to prevent a one-party state.
• The next re-drawing of constituencies will be carried out in 2010, which can only be done by amending the State constitution with a 2/3 majority.
• UMNO will demand additional state seats to facilitate its designs of capturing the Penang Chief Minister’s post by 2013.
• Deny BN 2/3 majority to prevent UMNO from increasing its state seat allocation.
• Penang has lost state power over public transport and water supply to federal control.

2. A Dynamic Economy for Penang’s Future

• Advocate and promote a stakeholders’ economy for all where companies undertaking government contracts above RM 10 million in Penang have to contribute part of their profits.
• Attract investments that create more high-paying jobs (not low paying jobs that require importation of cheap foreign labour).
• Run the government administration free from the NEP that breeds cronyism, corruption, inefficiency and it benefits only a small group of Umnoputras.
• Upgrade hi-tech industries, manufacturing and SMIs/SMEs on the global value chain.
• Rejuvenate tourism and service industries such as building more green lungs, a new Penang Zoo, hotels and tourism heritage areas.
• Revamp and restructure Penang Development Corporation, InvestPenang, Penang Skill Development Centre and Penang Port Authority to stimulate greater foreign direct investments.
• Comprehensive plan to promote Knowledge-based economy to secure Penang’s place in the rapidly changing globalised world.
• Tapping into ‘Penang Diaspora’ to complement “Brain Gain” Programme.

3. Social & Environment

• Affordable housing for all.
• Enhance social justice and eradicate discrimination of all kinds, including discrimination against gender, race, religion, and the disabled.
• Reduce crime and enhance public safety by putting more cops on the streets.
• Enlarge green spaces and stop rampant development projects – e.g. the Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) that does not comply with the rules and is not even included in the Penang Draft Structure Plan 2005-2010.
• Overcome environmental pollution in Sg Juru and Sungai Pinang.

4. Thinking and Global Malaysians

• The state of our education system is pathetic. It is unfathomable how the BN government can afford to allocate more than RM1 trillion for the corridor projects instead of focusing on building a good education system which is clearly a key pillar of economic success.
• We want to pressure the BN government to keep politics and religious politicking out of national schools, accept and provide financially for all vernacular schools and respect the right to mother tongue education for all students.
• We support both Mathematics and Science being taught in student’s own mother tongue while focus on improving the proficiency of English through additional classes.
• We want to ensure our tertiary institutions achieve the highest level of accreditation and recognition from international bodies to build a skilled and world-class workforce in order to compete effectively with other economies. The days of low cost production are over.

5. Restoring Local Government Elections

• Unelected inefficient local government breeds mediocrity, incompetency and corruption forcing a generation of elected representatives to perform local councilors’ job that makes a mockery of democracy.
• Restoring local government elections as provided under Article 113 (4) of the Constitution.
• Full accountability for funding, expenditure and enforcement of the law to ensure transparency and justice and not injustices such as cases where only some hawkers are punished or the illegal building put up by UMNO Tanjung not torn down.

6. Respect for Rule of Law & Basic Human Rights

• No illegal demolition of houses of worship for all religions such as the Tow Boo Keong temple in Bukit Mertajam.
• Freedom to enjoy freedom of religion, speech and enacting a Freedom of Information Act.
• Installing road signs in other languages.
• Open tender for all state government projects, with priority given to Penang-incorporated contractors, with all details published for public scrutiny.
• Implementing an integrity law that requires public declaration of assets for all public officers.

7. Good-bye to Traffic and Public Transport Woes

• The state should maintain total control over the licensing and operations of public transport systems, and to ensure the quality of service.
• Holistic approach -- Multi-modal transport system integrating bus services, ferries, mass rapid transit (MRT) with comprehensive transit networks.

8. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

• With the breakdown of institutional check-and-balance systems i.e. judiciary, Anti Corruption Agency and the police, there is a need of a stronger opposition voices in the state assembly and parliament.
• It is important to ensure enough opposition candidates made it to both the state assembly and parliament because there are not many seats winnable due to uneven playing field.
• DAP’s role in both the state assembly and parliament is to ensure no community is being displaced from the process of development. We will champion the rights of all Malaysians regardless of race, creed, religion and gender.

Malaysians feel helpless that we continue to be led by BN wakil rakyats that insult our intelligence with the lack of substance in their speeches or shame us with their lack of content in their character. Malaysians should therefore give themselves hope by choosing change from a one-party state to a democracy with checks and balances.

* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General


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