Speech by DAP Secretary-General Anthony Loke Siew Fook at the DAP National Retreat, in conjunction with the 58th anniversary of DAP on 18 March 2024.

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Democratic Action Party was founded on this day, 18 March, 58 years ago.

For most of the party’s history, DAP was a permanent opposition party, with very little hopes of coming to power. It was only since 2008 that DAP was part of several state governments – particularly in Penang and Selangor, and part of the Federal Government between May 2018 and February 2020, and again from November 2022.

In the years when it was outside the establishment, DAP served as the conscience of the nation in providing checks-and-balances to the government, as well as championing Malaysia’s multiracial character.

Now, as part of the Unity Government, DAP will continue to play the role of nation builder to foster a great Malaysian nation Bangsa Malaysia, and to hold on to our social democratic values.

Our nation is in transition from the old political order to a new one. We are on the cusp of a great upswing, and DAP wishes to build confidence among Malaysians that this nation will rise again.

For Malaysia to move forward, the nation needs to be guided by a Malaysian nationalism which is inclusive, tolerant, and one that provides a sense of purpose for her people.

The Unity Government aspires to see a Malaysia that embraces unity in diversity, and that unity is Malaysia’s strength. DAP is aligned with this view and it is our mission to ensure that we move Malaysian politics to the middle so that the extremes will not win.

Guided by our social democratic ideals, we represent ordinary Malaysians who aspire to live a better life and to build a much better future for their children.

DAP and the Unity Government will pay extra attention to the well-being of ordinary Malaysian citizens. We would like to see more progressive reforms of wage policy and strong social security protection, as well as guaranteeing more female labour participation with fair wages.

A united Malaysia through the Unity Government is formidable regionally and globally, especially in the context of polarisation of societies in advanced economies, and when the great powers – United States and China – are in a competition mode.

With our continued non-aligned foreign policy, Malaysia has become the beneficiary of the geopolitical competition. However, this is not enough. We would like to see more Malaysian firms becoming technology leaders and innovators, able to provide quality jobs with decent wages for Malaysians.

The massive improvements in investment flow into Malaysia must also generate many more better jobs with better pay for Malaysians, as well as uplift local businesses across the board.

Our ultimate aim is to create a resilient middle class society in which the bottom (poorest) is smaller than those in the middle. Every other economic policy flows from having a strong middle class.

I am confident that the Unity Government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, despite all the challenges, will be able to lead our country to greater heights.

Happy 58th birthday, DAP.

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