Opening Speech by Lim Guan Eng during the Negeri Sembilan DAP State Ordinary Convention in Seremban on Sunday, 9th November 2008: 

Najib’s RM 7 billion economic stimulus plan is insufficient to avert the recession following the global financial crisis and achieve Vision 2020, only DAP’s RM 48 billion economic stimulus plan can make Malaysia into a developed nation   

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s RM 7 billion economic stimulus plan is insufficient to avert the recession following the global financial crisis and achieve Vision 2020. The severity of the global recession is likely to cause Malaysia’s growth rate to contract more than what Najib has announced for 2008 from the 5.7% to 5% and 5.4% to 3.5% in 2009.

When former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahahtir Mohamad presented Vision 2020 on 28th February 1991, Malaysia required an average annual growth of 7% during the three decades to 2020 so that our GDP in 2020 can be RM 920 billion in real (1990 Ringgit) terms. Malay Research & Strategy Foundation fellow consultant Datuk Dr Mohd Dahan Abd Latiff said Malaysia is capable of reaching its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of RM920 billion in 2020 only if it achieves an average growth of 8.8 percent in the next 15 years from 2006-2020.

This is clearly impossible. In the Ninth Malaysian Plan (9MP), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has reported that the country generated an average GDP growth of 6.2 per cent per annum from 1991 to 2005 and the target for average real GDP growth in the five years 2006-2010 under the 9MP is 6 per cent per annum. With the global financial crisis, clearly even the 6% growth rate predicted between 2006-2010 is impossible.

Only DAP’S RM 48 billion economic stimulus plan can put Malaysia back on tract to make Malaysia into a developed nation by2020 based on four key thrusts:-

• RM 6,000 annual oil bonus to all families earning less than RM 6,000 a month or RM 3,000 annual bonus to bachelors earning less than RM 3,000 a month will cost RM 35 billion or a mere one-third of Petronas last year’s gross profits of RM 107 billion;

• Progressive reduction of corporate tax rate from the present 25% to 17% which will cost RM 13 billion;

• Daily revision of petrol prices to take into account of changes in the international price of oil;

• Immediate reduction in electricity tariffs, which was increased by 26% for businesses when the price of oil was USD 124 per barrel to reflect in the drop to around USD 65 per barrel.

The Federal Government should stop practising double standards by allowing Arabic road signs in Kuala Lumpur and Jawi road signs in Johor but opposing Penang Government’s road signs in either Jawi, Arabic or Mandarin or Tamil or English in addition to Bahasa Malaysia in the heritage area of Georgetown

The Federal government should stop practising double standards by allowing Arabic road signs in Kuala Lumpur and Jawi road signs in johor but opposing Penang government’s road signs in either Jawi, Arabic or Mandarin or Tamil or English in addition to Bahasa Malaysia in the heritage area of Georgetown. This issue is only played up by Utusan Malaysia which has a political agenda of helping UMNO to regain its political supremacy and racist agenda against non-Malays.

How can such actions be unconstitutional or as being disrespectful to the national language when no Bahasa Malaysia road signs are being taken down? Only some roads in the heritage area will be added Mandarin or Jawi/Arabic or Tamil or English. And yet UMNO and Utusan Malaysia plays on the fears of hatred by implying that the official language road signs will be replaced by other languages.

If Utusan is sincere about upholding Bahasa Malaysia, why did they support the teaching of Science and Maths in English which replaces Bahasa Malaysia completely However when Penang does not replace but only adds on to Bahasa Malaysia, Utusan goes on a hate campaign. That is why all Malaysians who love democracy and treat each other as fellow citizens with respect and justice should boycott this racist newspaper that pits Malay against non-Malay.

There is a critical lack of direction and purpose if our country’s leaders only know how to blindly follow Utusan Malaysia’s leadership in setting the country’s agenda. We should have confidence in our national language by allowing other languages as can be seen in Arabic coiuntries or even China which has English road signs. Sekiranya Utusan hendak menjadi katak di bawah tempurung, mereka boleh terus menjadi katak tetapi rakyat Malaysia tidak mahu terus ditempurungkan.

Let no one doubt that DAP respects and upholds Bahasa Malaysia as the official language and has even amended our party constitution in 2006 to reflect this status.

Let no one doubt that rule of law is observed, as confirmed by university law professors, in accordance to Article 152 of the Federal Constitution as follows:

(1) The national language shall be the Malay language and shall be in such script as Parliament may by law provide:
Provided that—

(a) no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language; and

Let also no one doubt our resolve to press ahead with the multi-lingual road signs in addition to Bahasa Malaysia which is befitting Penang’s international status as a Unesco World Heritage site.

If putting road signs in Jawi/Arabic, Mandarin, English or Tamil in addition to Bahasa Malaysia is wrong, then why the double-standards when Johor was allowed to put up road signs in Jawi 30 years ago and Arabic road signs in Kuala Lumpur. UMNO is desperately using racial issues to divide the nation and distract attention from their failure to manage the global financial crisis.

Restoring Ethical Leadership

We meet at a time that the world is transformed. And the transformation is made in USA. For the first time in history, a black man from a race of slaves was elected by whites as the first American President. This transformation breaks the final racial barrier in America. That the content of character is more important than the colour of our skin. That values and principles are more important than hate and prejudice.

For the first time in a generation, Malaysia have made progress where many Malays voted for non-Malays and vice-versa. We meet in a spirit of hope. For the first time in a generation, it is the BN that appears lost and disillusioned. From marginalised opposition parties, DAP have finally attained our objective of becoming a full partner in government with our allies PKR and PAS in Pakatan Rakyat in Penang, Perak and Selangor.

And in Negeri Sembilan DAP created history by winning 10 state and 2 parliamentary seats. PR was only four seats away from winning power in Negeri Sembilan. Let me congratulate everyone of you, especially the members who worked tirelessly without any expectations of reward for making history possible. This people’s victory belongs to you.

We have won the last general elections because DAP has the ideas, ideals and imagination . Our ideas of civil liberties and political equality, ideals of socio-economic justice and equal opportunities and imagination of empowering all through democracy and integrity has captivated and inspired Malaysians especially the young.

In contrast BN, UMNO MCA and Gerakan suffers from AIDs – Acquired Intellectual Ideals, Ideas and Imagination Deficit syndrome. For the past 50 years BN has exploited racial extremism to win votes where only the ruling BN elites from UMNO, MCA and MIC dominate.

They have still not learnt the lessons of the political tsunami of March 8 by continuously exploiting racial and religious issues to divide Malaysians to distract attention from their failures of governance or stopping corruption. After the March 8 general elections, not only was there no action against mismanagement but there were 3 new scandals.

The three scandals amounting to RM 23.7 billion have deprived much needed funds for infrastructure works such as drainage to prevent flash floods of for social programs that uplift living standards and wipe out poverty in Malaysia includes:

1. Maybank's overpriced RM 10.8 billion purchase of two distressed foreign banks at twice their present value - the RM 8 billion acquisition of Bank Internasional Indonesia ( BII) and RM 2.8 billion purchase of a 20% stake in Pakistan’s MBC Bank;

2. RM 1.6 billion purchase of 12 Eurocopter's Cougar helicopters without conducting any test flights; and

3. RM 11.3 billion for the High Speed Broadband (HSBP) project without open tender.

We need to carry out a similar transformation of America in Malaysia. One important transformation is an ethical transformation that cut across racial and religious barriers by establishing integrity, opposing corruption and that the government is an institution that helps and not harms the people.

Let us continue on our success in the last general elections by uniting together and combining with our allies to form the next state government in Negeri Sembilan to realise our vision of a people’s government based on freedom, justice, democracy, truth and rule of law.

* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General & MP for Bagan