Statement by Lim Guan Eng in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 20th
Eng to contest in Penang to lead the people’s movement of change from
UMNO’s political dominance towards a functioning democracy with checks
and balances as well as moving forward with a dynamic Penang that is
shared by all
Over the past
year I have received repeated requests from the DAP Penang State
Committee and conducted many discussions in the Central Executive
Committee (CEC), to lead Penang DAP in the 12th General Elections. Due
to the prominence of Penang to the DAP as a front-line state, both
Penang DAP and the CEC have stressed the importance of the leader of the
party contesting in Penang to show the importance that Penang plays in
the 2008 general elections.
I have decided to contest in Penang to lead the people’s movement of
change from UMNO’s political dominance towards a functioning democracy
with checks and balances as well as moving forward with a dynamic Penang
that is shared by all. I humbly offer myself to the Penang to join in
this people’s movement of change inspired by one single motivation that
we as a country has somehow not realized our potential or fulfilled the
promises made and can do so much better. Let us together share and learn
from each other so that we can do better.
Penang was once the leading economic state in Malaysia. Penang also led
in brain power the center for democracy and progressive change. However
after suffering three consecutive devastating defeats in the 1995, 1999
and 2004 general elections, Penang is no longer the most developed state
in Malaysia when its average annual growth rate from 2001-2010 of 6.1%
(according to the Ninth Malaysian Plan) losing out to Selangor and even
Johor, the mean monthly income of RM 3,531 is No. 3 in the country after
Selangor’s RM 5,175.
Despite all the promises of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER),
how much of this RM 177 billion in investment is earmarked for Penang
and the other states? Compared with Johor’s Iskandar Development Region
(IDR) with RM 383 billion target over 20 years for Johor alone, Penang
has clearly lost out in the race for foreign investment by having to
share RM 177 billion with three other states of Kedah, Perlis and Perak.
Most projects are privatized leading to the people finally bearing the
burden of the costs of the Penang Second Bridge or the highways. The
question is why can’t the government use RM 4 billion from the annual RM
70-80 billion profits from Petronas to build the Second Bridge for free
for the people of Penang?
Penang was also the center of democracy with the first local government
elected in then Malaya in the 1950s. However with one-party control by
BN and UMNO, the people have lost their rights and have to suffer from
the incompetence, even corruption and lack of accountability, especially
in local government services.
For instance, the Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) was not even
mentioned in the Penang Draft Structure Plan 2005-2020, which is
required by law for statutory urban planning, and yet it was approved in
2007. DAP is puzzled how Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
can launch the RM25 billion PGCC on 12.9.2007, when it has not been even
approved by the local authorities.
Residents’ protests against the PGCCat the increased traffic congestion
and the need of more public parks are ignored. What is the point of
having a Draft Structure Plan that is not even complied with by the
government? Or why the illegal building put up by UMNO Tanjung not torn
down whilst a Chinese temple Tow Boo Keong in Bukit Mertajam is torn
down? There is no more respect for the law.
The NEP has hindered economic growth. When it was introduced, Malaysia
ranked third only to Japan and Singapore among East Asian nations in
terms of GDP per capita; by 1990 it had fallen behind South Korea, Japan
and Hong Kong as well. Had growth not been constrained by the NEP, it is
argued, the economic performance and welfare of the bumiputera would
have been even more greatly enhanced. The NEP must go and be replaced by
a Malaysian First Policy that stresses on ability, needs,
competitiveness and shared prosperity.
The high cost of living has eroded our living standards. Even though the
government claims that inflation rate in 2007 is only 2%, this is a lie
as the true situation on the ground is closer to 20%. The BN government
can afford to help the people by distributing Petronas profits to the
people. That the BN has failed to do.
The crime rate continues to escalate at a frightening rate. The
government can keep us safe by employing 100,000 more police personnel
to patrol the streets to protect us from criminals. That the BN has
failed to do. The government can wipe out corruption in the police force
by setting up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct
Commission recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry. That the BN
has failed to do.
The time has come for the people to act on what BN has failed to do.
March 8 is the day when the people must pass their verdict of the BN’s
failed report card. We must prove that Malaysians demand better and good
Finally, to make Malaysia safe for democracy, Penang must lead the
battle to check and reduce UMNO’s political dominance. After this
general elections, the Elections Commission will conduct a new
constituency redelineation exercise requiring an amendment to the state
constitution, which requires a 2/3 majority.
The redrawing of boundaries will lead UMNO to demand an increase in
their seats to achieve their final objective of grabbing the Penang
Chief Minister’s post. Everyone knows that no Gerakan or MCA State
Assemblyperson would dare to say “NO” to UMNO’s proposals to increase
UMNO’s seats. Only DAP dare to say “NO” to UMNO. To prevent UMNO from
increasing their political influence, the people of Penang must ensure
that DAP wins 14 state seats in Penang to deny BN its 2/3 majority. DAP
is willing to even support the Gerakan candidate to ensure that the
Penang Chief Minister’s post do not fall to UMNO.
Let us work together in this final battle for democracy for both Penang
and Malaysia so that we not only have a voice but an equal place under
the Malaysian sun. I humbly offer myself to Penang voters to serve them
be their voice and learn from them as to how together we can make Penang
and Malaysia not only better, fairer, freer but also give equal
opportunities to do well and enjoy shared prosperity.
Let us have a Dynamic Penang shared by all!
Lim Guan Eng,