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Speech by Lim Guan Eng during Perak DAP State Ordinary Convention in Ipoh on Sunday, 14th November 2010: 

5 core principles Of Middle Malaysia 

Two years ago, the last Perak State Ordinary Convention was a moment of triumph as we celebrated the extraordinary achievement of being a partner in power with the historic victory of the Perak state government. Now, Perak voters have lost their freedom to elect the government of their choice following the coup de'tat by BN that negated the mandate of the people.

Two years ago, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung Sang Syu Kyi was still detained by the Myanmar military junta. Today she is finally free after spending 15 years in detention. Let us extend our congratulations and applaud her quiet courage and determination to persevere in her historic struggle to bring democracy, freedom and dignity to her people.

Likewise PR and DAP has to continue with our historic struggle to restore democracy, freedom and dignity to Perak.

The duty of all leaders and members of DAP Perak is to return Datuk Seri Nizar as the rightful Menteri Besar and PR as the legitimate government. We are committed towards our cause for freedom, democracy, justice, truth, social welfare and piety in God. Let no one question our loyalty to the Malaysian Constitution.

When BN and their allies accuse DAP of being anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-Rulers and anti-Bahasa Malaysia, they could not provide any proof. How can DAP be anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-Rulers and anti-Bahasa Malaysia when our struggle is rooted in the Malaysian Constitution itself which enshrines the special position of Malays and bumiputeras, Islam as the religion of the Federation, the status of the Malay Rulers and Bahasa Malaysia as the official language of Malaysia?

We refuse to be what we are not. To remove any doubts, DAP amended our party constitution in 2006 to abide fully with the Merdeka Constitution that gave our country independence. However showing what we are not is not sufficient to convince the people of Perak that we deserve their support.

We must show what we are that is worthy of their support. We are Middle Malaysia that puts people first and offers good governance based on 6 core principles.

One, we are Malaysian First. Two, we deserve to enjoy basic human rights and a civil society. Three, there must be equality of opportunity for all. Four, there must be rule of law where what you know is more important than who you know. Five, we must build integrity and intelligent city communities towards a high-income and knowledge-based economy.

Malaysian first

DAP fights for the aspirations of all Malaysian regardless of race and religion. We reject the discriminatory politics of UMNO that insists that we are Malay first, Malaysian second. We also condemn UMNO and their allies for treating as traitors and enemies of Malays those who disagree with their racist ideology of Malay first and Malaysian second.

We must not allow UMNO to hijack the Malaysian Constitution to split and and divide Malaysians that it is somehow wrong to fight for all Malaysians. UMNO always cites Article 153 of the Federal Constitution on the special position of the Malays as justification for their racist Malays-only approach. However UMNO invariably fails to mention that Article 153 also mention that the the legitimate interests of other communities must also be protected.

Perkara 153 Perlembagaan Persekutuan

Adalah menjadi tanggungjawab Yang di Pertuan Agung memelihara kedudukan istimewa orang Melayu dan bumiputera mana-mana Negeri Borneo dan kepentingan-kepentingan sah kaum-kaum lain mengikut peruntukan Perkara ini.

Article 153 of the Federal Constitution

It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this article.

In other words, the Malaysian Constitution is about Malaysian First, not Malaysian Second!

UMNO's racist mindset of putting race before nation is the reason why the Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi recently said that the low percentage of non-Malays in the armed forces shows a lack of patriotism. Or the derogatory and racist remarks by school principals who instill hate by calling Indians dogs and Chinese are "pendatang" who should go back to China or the BTN official who call Chinese mata sepet and Indians si botol. Or UMNO leaders openly saying they do not need Chinese and Indian votes.

Worst of all, UMNO's paper Utusan Malaysia even called the bloody tragedy of May 13 1969 where many innocent Malaysians lost their lives a sacred day! How low has UMNO stooped until UMNO can even celebrate the murder of innocent men women and children? Yet no action has been taken against Utusan for such a inhumane and horrifying act of calling May 13 a sacred day and suggesting another May 13.

DAP safeguards the special position of Malays and Malaysians. In Penang the PR government works together with Class F contractors who are all Malays for contracts below RM200,000. For contracts above RM200,000 there are open tenders where over 70% is won by Malay contractors. Clearly it is not Malay contractors that can not compete, only UMNO ones. Just because we do not work with UMNO contractors do not mean we do not work with Malays.

On Islam, PR has doubled the allocation from RM 12.5 million in 2008 during Koh Tsu Koon to RM 23.5 million in 2010, given for Muslim cemeteries and mosques, giving money to Sekolah Agama Rakyat, celebrating para huffaz who memorise the Quran and the Prophet Mohamad Birthday Procession.

Basic human rights & a civil society

A platform for unity that cuts across race and religion is basic human rights and a civil society shared by all. Everyone, except BN, wants draconian laws such as the University & University Colleges Act, the ISA and Sedition Act abolished. All abhors abuses and violence whether from the police and MACC especially the senseless deaths of Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan and Aminulrasyid.

In DAP's Middle Malaysia we prefer co-operation not conflict, consultation instead of confrontation and an inclusive shared society rather than an exclusive separate society. A shared society is one that celebrates diversity and assures everyone a place in society by guaranteeing:-

  • democratic participation,

  • respect for diversity and human dignity,

  • offering equal opportunity; and

  • protection from discrimination.

The PR government has led the way with the first ever Speakers’ Square in Malaysia in Esplanade in Penang which allows freedom of expression and the passage of the Freedom of Information Act.

Equal opportunity

Another platform for national unity is to provide equal opportunity for all in work, education, economy and social amenities. Good work is rewarded and bad work punished. Then only can we create a culture of excellence.

PR policies are directed towards respecting the dignity of all Malaysians. No particular race is condemned forever to be mediocre. Neither is there any chosen race selected to be excellent. It is good or defective policies that determines success and failure.

A good example is China. When the failed economic policies of equal outcomes regardless of amount of work done was implemented, China was the "Economic Sick man of Asia" because there was no incentive to work hard. However when enterprise and equal opportunity was introduced, China transformed within a generation of 30 years into the second largest economy in the world today.

Middle Malaysia belongs to every Malaysian. Unlike UMNO Malaysia, in Middle Malaysia the content of our character is more important than the colour of our skin. Unlike BN's Malaysia, in Middle Malaysia we look at each other as brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers and as sons and daughters of Malaysia. Unlike Crony Malaysia, Middle Malaysia respects and celebrates you with the firm belief that Malaysia’s wealth, opportunities and resources belongs to all Malaysians.

Rule of law

Economic success depends on a rules based system that promotes clarity and certainty. Rule of law not ensure that justice is not only done but also assures economic investors that their investments are safe from arbitrary changes in the rules.

With a rules-based system, no one needs to know someone or a third party to get things done. You only need to know the rules. What you know therefore becomes more important than who you know.

The highest accolade for a PR government is not that we are the best Chief Minister or EXCO member but that any member of the public or businessman does not need to know the Chief Minister to get things done.

Integrity & intelligent city communities

By 2050, 70% of the global population are expected to live in city communities. We must build intelligent cities with integrity. There are five forms of intelligence:

  • Human intelligence;

  • Collective intelligence;

  • Digital intelligence;

  • Institutional intelligence; and

  • Integrity intelligence.

No city can survive without being an intelligent city. Therefore, Malaysia must reverse the brain drain that has driven away 2 million talented Malaysians overseas since 1960. Increasingly many Malays are also leaving, just look at Dubai. Malaysia can no longer afford to lose such human talents. The terrible cost we are paying can be seen by the failure to realize our full economic potential causing Malaysia to lose out to other countries that were far behind us previously.

For instance, Gross national income (GNI) per capita of South Korea in 1970 was below that of Malaysia ($260 versus $380), but by 2009, South Korea's was three times larger than Malaysia's ($21,530 versus $6,760).

Worse, Bloomberg over the week reported that by the end of this year, Singapore would probably have overtaken Malaysia as South-East Asia's third-largest economy, after Indonesia and Thailand. The report cited official estimates that Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) would grow at its fastest pace this year at 15%, hence generating a value of US$210bil; while Malaysia's 2010 GDP would grow 7% to US$205bil.

We have failed as a country to grow the size of its economy and lost out in the race towards economic competitiveness. Singapore is significantly smaller in size and in terms of population, compared with Malaysia. Malaysia is 478 times the size of the republic and its population, at 27 million, much larger than its tiny neighbour's 4.8 million.

In addition, the country is not blessed with as much natural resources as Malaysia. And yet, Singapore has been actively transforming its economy over the years and it now stands as the easiest place to do business in the world and an important regional financial hub. Can Malaysia catch up when last year, Singapore's GDP per capita was US$36,537 (up from US$512 in 1965) compared with Malaysia's US$ 6,975 (US$ 335 in 1965)?

We must build human capital, develop creativity and promote innovation. We need human and collective intelligence to not just train, retrain and retain human talent but also attract new ones. To do that we must have the basic intelligence infrastructure both physical such as digital and broadband connectivity but also in institutional and integrity terms.

No genius wants to work for a fool. A stupid government or private sector will only drive the best and brightest away. Institutional intelligence is important to ensure that intelligence can be combined to obtain the highest synergies.

Integrity in leadership is crucial towards fighting corruption. No point having the brightest people if he or she is a crook as they will only find clever ways to steal everything from us. Any corrupt government spells certain doom for the country.

For this reason, not only must there be open tenders, stern action must be taken against the corrupt. Sadly corruption is the culture of all BN component parties. In MIC, there is the MAIKA Holdings scandal, in MCA the RM 12.85 billion Port Klang Free Trade Zone scandal and in UMNO the RM 52 billion bumi shares scandal. No wonder foreign analysts have estimated up to USD 100 billion has been lost to corrupt practices in Malaysia.

The failure to establish a Royal Commission of Enquiry and act against those responsible for such massive corruption is not only a huge financial loss to 27 million Malaysians but helps to increase racial tension and hatred. For instance UMNO relies on racist attacks to distract attention, cover up and avoid answering why BN leaders were allowed to steal RM 52 billion in shares meant for the poor bumi and Malays. If these shares were given to the poor Malays/bumis, the 30% bumi target would have been achieved.

There is no doubt that Malaysia must be saved to prevent the excesses and abuses of BN from destroying further our livelihood and economic rights.

Pakatan Rakyat moving as one to save Malaysia

These are the five core principles of Middle Malaysia. 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.

However DAP can not move alone. We need to work cohesively in concert with PAS and PKR. Pakatan Rakyat needs to move forward as one. Despite our differences, Pakatan Rakyat offers the best hope to realize the aspirations for all because we are moderate and inclusive as against our exclusive, racist, extremist opponents.

There are many in our party, past and present party leaders and members, who sacrificed themselves for their dreams so that we may live in ours. Let us honour them by working together so that we may make everyone's dreams of a country that is intelligent, clean, upholds rule of law and basic human rights, offer equal opportunity for all and respects human dignity that everyone is Malaysian first and last, come true.

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



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