1. The DAP National Delegates gathered here in Ipoh, Perak, on 17th January 2010, at the end of Malaysia’s Lost Decade and at the turn of a new decade amidst a time of a sustained national crisis to chart a new future for Malaysia.
2. Lots have happened between the 15th National Congress on 23rd August 2008 and this Conference that brought blood, sweat, tears, and, hopefully, strengths at the end of the tunnel, chiefs among which are:
a) Sdr. Teoh Beng Hock’s death will forever be the most sorrowful moment in DAP’s history; we will seek justice for him, whatever it takes, and we will never forget Beng Hock;
b) Comrades, including National Chairman, Secretary-General, National Organising Secretary, National Publicity Secretary, Members of Parliament and State Assemblies and various national, state and branch leaders and members, have been arrested, investigated, charged and persecuted or facing such risks; we declare our unwavering support for them;
c) The despicable, undemocratic and illegal power grab in Perak saddened us but also strengthened our resolve to fight for democracy and justice.
3. Over the past year, DAP has taken the lead in many issues afflicting Malaysia, and has successfully campaigned for actions to be taken. The Party’s persistence and effort ramping up the pressure on the Government to reveal the truth on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal since 2007 has resulted an audit report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, an extensive Public Accounts Committee investigation and several parties charged in court for abuse of power and falsifying of accounting documents. It has been made known by the Government that more personalities will be charged for crimes relating to the PKFZ scandal.
DAP has also launched our anti-ISA campaign which successfully pressured the government into releasing our comrades Sdr M Manoharan and Sdr V Ganabathirao, Hindraf leaders as well as other ISA detainees.
The party has been at the forefront in providing constructive proposals to resolve long outstanding national issues. In early 2009, DAP submitted a in-depth, cost-effective and viable proposal to buy-back toll concessionaires who have been making excessive profits at the expense of the rakyat after the Government declassified these concession agreements. DAP also launched its own 2010 Alternative Budget which sought to revitalised and transform Malaysia’s economic foundation, and revive our economic growth and fulfill our potentials.
4. Since the last National Convention, DAP has continue to grow by leaps and bounds, with the number of members increasing by more than 50% and the number of registered branches hitting a record of 700. The party is committed to recruiting more members who firmly believe in our social democratic principles as well as those who can help us implement our vision of a competent, accountable and transparent government administration.
After the jubilation of the March 2008 general elections, the Party has gotten down to work with our new coalition partners and today we have successfully forged stronger bonds with our Pakatan Rakyat partners. Our determination to prove the sceptics wrong, and that the new coalition is able to withstand any internal differences plus attacks by Barisan Nasional has culminated in the recently concluded inaugural Pakatan Rakyat Convention where the Common Policy Framework was successfully launched.
THE BIG PICTURE
5. Between the Congress in August 2008 and now, the world is a different place.
The financial crisis resulted in a global power shift not seen in decades. Asia is on the rise while the United States, Malaysia’s export destination for the last forty years at least, will consume much less of our manufactured goods than before. A change of emphasis in our economy is needed: from mainly manufacture for working class Americans to providing value-added services and products to the new middle class in Asia and beyond.
6. But Malaysia has lost its bearing in the New World Order. And the world does not stand still to wait for us. Malaysia nowadays only features in international news when there is a bad news. Otherwise we disappear from the international radar altogether. The recent religious violence is a case in point.
It is stuck in a low skill, low productivity and low wage toxic mix. According to a World Bank report, only 25 percent of our labour force is engaged in skilled work. 60 percent of Malaysian families live with a monthly household income of less than RM 3,000. Skilled Malaysians are voting with their feet while we feed a huge unskilled foreign labour population.
7. In terms of governance, Malaysia is like a runaway train waiting to crash.
The national budget ballooned thrice over the last decade, operational expenditure nearly doubled in the last five years. The federal civil service increased by a third in the same period from less than 900,000 to nearly 1.3 million personnel.
8. Yet the rise of public spending unfortunately coincided with a visible decline of the provision of public goods and services, among which the rapid deterioration of public safety, the decline in the quality of education and healthcare, and the shocking shoddiness of public works threaten the lives of Malaysians and the future of the country.
9. Corruption, cronyism, collusions and outright stealing epitomised by the lost of the two fighter jet engines and many other instances are rampant and beyond rescue. The wealth of our nation, especially in the form of petroleum, has been depleted like no body’s business. Privatisation has gone awry long ago and continues to haunt Malaysians.
10. Decades of bigotry, racism, and religious intolerance have come home to roost when Malaysia should have been the international model for multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-religion coexistence, tolerance, mutual respect and understanding.
11. The only response the government-of-the-day could provide is a series of cosmetic initiatives dubbed National Key Result Areas and Key Performance Indexes with no political will at all to ask the hard question of structural reform that takes into consideration the global shift and the yearning of vast Malaysians for a freer, more democratic and equitable society with clean government.
MUAFAKAT TRANSFORMASI MALAYSIA
12. In short, Malaysia is waiting for a profound change but there is a leadership vacuum. Together with our partners in Pakatan Rakyat, it is our responsibility and obligation to Malaysians of this generation and also those yet to vote and yet to be born to answer the call for leadership for real change and reform. Let us reiterate our commitment to the consolidation of Pakatan Rakyat to provide a viable alternative to Barisan Nasional and form the next Federal Government based on Pakatan Rakyat’s Common Policy Framework “Muafakat Rakyat”.
13. We must be able to bring substantive reforms to the states that we govern, quickly. Our performance, or the lack of it, in the states will either be held against us or propel us to national power. We must go beyond cosmetic change.
14. We must not just be the default choice of the voters merely because our traditional opponents are destroying themselves by the day in infighting. We must be the compelling attraction that the voters coalesce around.
15. 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 the middle ground will decide which coalition will govern next.
16. To embrace the middle ground, Pakatan Rakyat must be seen as moderate and inclusive and distance and differentiate ourselves from our exclusive, racist, extremist opponents.
The DAP stresses that true national unity can only be achieved if the nation practices the spirit of MALAYSIAN FIRST which professes common universal values of democracy, freedom, justice, integrity and human dignity and provides for equal opportunity for all, that ends divisions based on race, religion, creed and gender, and that unites all Malaysians to face the rapidly changing world as one people. We urge all Pakatan Rakyat parties to pursue steadfastly a new muafakat amongst Malaysians to herald a second nation-building process
We also express concern that Malaysian citizens in Sabah and Sarawak have been marginalized and left behind in most aspects and vow to bridge the gap between the two sides of the South China Sea and improve the wellbeing of all;
THE NEXT 18 MONTHS
17. The next general election is likely to happen within the next 18 months and it is also possible that state-wide elections will be called in Sarawak and Perak. The stake is high. The results of these elections will decide the fate of our beloved nation for the next decade and the next generation.
18. We must, therefore, be fully prepared so that we do not squander the last opportunity for real change in Malaysia, so that we do not blame ourselves in the future, or our children do not fault us for not trying hard enough. It is hereby directed that leaders and members at all levels of the party must gear up in preparation for the next general election and the possible state-wide elections in Sarawak and Perak.
19. In order to strengthen the party’s machinery, leaders and members at all levels are directed to strengthen the party’s organisation at the parliamentary level so that we have stronger units to face the battles that will shape Malaysia’s future.
20. DAP leaders, elected representatives and appointed officials in the various state authorities that Pakatan Rakyat governs must also constantly be cognizant of the party’s ideology, platforms, visions and missions, as well as programmes in their quest to bring substantive change to the country through the mandate given to them, and to be reminded to meet the high expectations of the voters.
Central Executive Committee Report presented by theDAP Secretary-General & Penang Chief Minister; Member of Parliament for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng during the DAP National Conference in Ipoh on Sunday, 17th January 2010: