Speech By Lim Guan Eng During The DAP General Election National
Convention In The Red Rock Hotel In Penang On 27 January 2008:
The 2008 General Elections Will Either Give Hope To Secure Our
Children’s Future With National Unity, Greater Political Freedoms,
Economic Opportunity And Shared Prosperity Or Condemn Malaysians To
Relive Over and Over Again UMNO’s Discriminatory And Divisive Policies
I wish to first thank all DAP leaders and members throughout the
country for taking time away from preparing for the Chinese New Year and
travelling far to be here in Penang for this important DAP 12th
General Elections National Convention. The journey you have taken is
worthwhile because we are all united by a common belief - That Malaysia
Can Do Better!
When Malaysia undertook the great journey of Merdeka in 1957, we were
promised basic human rights and freedom, political equality, equal
economic opportunity, shared prosperity and socio-economic justice. 50
years later these Merdeka promises remain unfulfilled. We have somehow
not lived up to our expectations and our potential.
Malaysians face a crucial choice. We either stand condemned for
repeating the past mistakes and failures or change by rising up to the
challenges of a new globalised community.
The Barisan Nasional government has failed to deliver its promises of
justice, respect for rule of law, sharing our economic wealth, lower
crime rates, equal opportunity, reduced corruption, greater political
freedom, accountability and good governance during the 2004 General
The crime index in Malaysia rose by a record 45% between 2003 and
2007 with violent crimes increasing by 119%. 9 women get raped daily now
as compared to half the number when Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
first became Prime Minister.
Rising prices has made life more difficult. The government claims
that inflation is only 2%. This is a lie when we all know that prices
have increased by more than 20%. Corruption has worsened than when
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became Prime Minister in 2003 with mega scandals
such as the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Trade Zone Scandal or
extraordinary wealth accumulated by the Port Klang ADUN Datuk Zakaria.
From No. 37 in the 2003 Transparency International Corruption
Perception Index when Abdullah became Prime Minister, Malaysia has
dropped to No. 43 in 2007. US financial research house Morgan Stanley
even estimated that Malaysia lost US$100 billion to corruption over the
last two decades.
Malaysians Demand Fair And Equal Treatment, Not As Political
Whilst the Rakyat are suffering from high crimes, corruption and
inflation, the government continues to restrict human rights and
freedoms with ISA arrests and impose draconian media control. DAP
reiterates our demands for the immediate and unconditional release of
the 5 Hindraf leaders under ISA detentions in Kamunting.
Any community would demonstrate and protest if their temples are torn
down and Tamil schools discriminated until they are built near
cemeteries. DAP condemns MIC and BN for using the ISA against those who
tell the truth.
Chinese and Tamil primary schools do not get a fair allocation.
Chinese primary schools only receive 3.6% of total development
allocation despite having 21.2% of the student population and Tamil
primary schools 1.3% of development funds despite having 3.2% of the
total number of primary school students. This works out to development
funds of RM 4,50 and RM 11 for each Chinese and Tamil primary school
student respectively per month as compared to RM 33.30 per student per
month for national primary schools. Abdullah allocated RM23.5 million to
one secondary school in Penang, much higher than all the 96 Penang
Chinese primary schools combined.
Instead of voicing our sufferings and aspirations, BN Wakil Rakyats
uses foul language to demean women, the disabled community, minority
races and religions without being punished. Malaysia is already 50 years
old. We are no longer a child but our leaders sometimes behave worse
than a child. Its time to send Wakil Rakyats with integrity, decency,
righteousness and some intelligence into Parliament and State
Malaysians have suffered enough! We can do better. Malaysians demand
fair and equal treatment, not be treated as political beggars who can be
bought over with a few thousand ringgit for temples and schools during
The coming general elections is not simply a contest between
political parties. It is shaping up as a contest of principles and
ideals. Between ideas of change and inertia, knowledge and ignorance,
justice and injustice, freedom and oppression, equal opportunity and
cronyism, integrity and corruption and between right and wrong.
8 Core Issues And A RM 40 Billion Stimulus Economic Plan
There are 8 core issues that matters to Malaysians:-
1) Institutionalising democracy with electoral reforms of clean and
fair elections, reintroduce local government elections, abolition of all
laws that are against basic human rights and freedoms as well as end all
discriminatory practices based on race, religion and political
2) Need for shared prosperity and hardships by reducing the burdens
caused by rising prices and inflation. DAP proposes a RM 40 billion
stimulus plan to give a yearly RM 3,000 to individuals earning less than
RM 3,000 a month and a yearly RM 6,000 to families with combined incomes
of less than RM 6,000/-;
3) Introducing the Malaysian First Economic Policy based on equal
opportunity, needs and performance;
4) Crime prevention by employing 100,000 more policemen to patrol the
streets and establishing the Independent Complaints and Misconduct
Commission(IPCMC) to restore public confidence in the integrity and
effectiveness of the police;
5) Quality education centered on excellence and needs. Education
should not be politicized but all schools, including vernacular schools,
should be treated fairly based on needs;
6) Fighting gender discrimination;
7) Promoting good governance with integrity by fighting corruption;
8) A healthy environment with clean air and water.
This contest is more than just a battle for the hearts and minds of
voters, it is a critical battle for the future of Malaysia. Malaysians
need to shed our fears and fatalistic mindset if we are to succeed to
facing up to changes of globalization. BN forgets that freedom is an
integral part of development.
Development As Freedom
In his book, “Development as Freedom”, the great economist for the
poor and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen wrote that development is a process
of expanding real freedoms. He identified 5 instrumental freedoms that
contribute towards the general capability of a person to live more
- Political freedoms
- Economic facilities
- Social opportunities
- Transparency guarantees
- Protective security
Political freedoms encompass basic human rights and freedoms ranging
from freedom of expression to freedom of the press and information;
democratic elections at all levels including local government and
respect for rule of law. Economic facilities refer to opportunities to
utilize economic resources. Social opportunities refer to education,
health and other arrangements that influence an individual freedom to
live better. Transparency guarantees gives the freedom to deal with one
another under full disclosure to prevent corruption and malpractices.
Protective security is needed to provide social safety net to prevent
deprivation and poverty by providing social assistance and disaster
There is no doubt that based on Amartya’s parameters of economic and
political freedom, Malaysia has failed to fulfill our Merdeka promise of
basic human rights and freedom, political equality, equal economic
opportunity, shared prosperity and socio-economic justice. The time has
come to begin our next 50 years journey by reclaiming the Merdeka
promises. Not just for ourselves but for our children.
When DAP seeks a brighter future for our children by opposing UMNO or
its surrogates/agents in MCA, MIC, SUPP and Gerakan, DAP is accused of
“using Chinese to check Chinese”. And yet MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and MIC
continues to support UMNO’s policies they know are wrong.
And also urge voter to support extremist UMNO leaders and MPs such as
the one-eye open, one-eye close MP from Jasin, the “bocor” UMNO MPs,
Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Ali who opposed building new Chinese
primary schools and pig rearing, Penang Deputy Chief Minister for
directing the destruction of the Too Boo Keong temple and Selangor Chief
Minister for destroying Hindu temples.
MCA/Gerakan/MIC have a deficit – a moral and courage deficit. A moral
deficit by supporting that is wrong and turning black to white as well
as a courage deficit by not daring to stand up for what is right.
A Vote For MCA/Gerakan/MIC/SUPP Is A Vote For UMNO’s Political
Clearly by continuing to support UMNO’s policies detrimental to the
Chinese community and Malaysians, it is MCA/Gerakan that is actually
“using Chinese to check Chinese” of “Malaysians to check Malaysians”. To
send a strong message of disapproval to UMNO, Malaysians need to reduce
MCA/Gerakan/MIC votes or seats won because each vote supporting MCA/Gerakan/MIC
is equivalent to supporting UMNO.
DAP wishes to stress that we are not fighting only for Chinese votes
or Indian votes. We are fighting for every Malaysian vote to reduce
UMNO’s political dominance that threatens national unity and democracy
in Malaysia. UMNO’s political dominance is built on discrimination and
division based on race and religion.
DAP believes in democracy and equality. We believe our ideas are
superior, our ideals stronger and our principles nobler. We gather today
to discuss our General Election Manifesto offering solutions to our
nation’s problems and make a positive difference in lives of ordinary
Malaysians. The highest income inequality in Malaysia is unacceptable
that 20% of the richest population owns 51.2% of the economic wealth
whilst the poorest 40% owns only 13.5%. There must be equal opportunity,
shared prosperity and rule of law.
We will also talk about the state of our elections preparations and
the need of potential candidates to move as part of a team. We shall
also discuss how to deal with BN’s politics of money, fear, threats,
lies and cheating to pervert the voters’ will with assistance from the
Election Commission. DAP must fight the coming general elections as one
team, one heart, one spirit and one agenda of change.
Malaysians must first believe that Malaysia needs a change. Change to
perform better. We must believe in our ability to change. DAP can not
bring about change alone, we have to do it together.
The 2008 general elections will either give hope to secure our
children’s future with national unity, greater political freedoms,
economic opportunity and shared prosperity or condemn Malaysians to
relive over and over again UMNO’s discriminatory and divisive policies.
Therefore, Malaysians arise. You have nothing to lose but your fears.
Your have every political and economic freedom to gain. We Can Do
Better. Just Change it!
Wishing everyone a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year.
Lim Guan Eng,