From Malaysian Malaysia to Malaysian First -by Wan Hamidi Hamid

2 March, 2011

 

The DAP is irrevocably committed to the ideal of a free, democratic and socialist Malaysia, based on the principles of racial equality, and social and economic justice, and founded on the institutions of parliamentary democracy.

We believe that it is possible to mobilise the support of the big majority of the multi-racial people of Malaysia in the pursuit of this aim, and we shall regard it as our primary objective to mobilise such support…

We reaffirm that the DAP intends to be guided by purely Malaysian perspectives and aspirations. We shall not allow ourselves to be deflected from our chosen path by either the reactionary and communal right wing, or by the foreign-inspired anti-Malaysia left. Neither shall we lend ourselves to manipulation by either of these two groups.

Setapak Declaration, July 29, 1967

 

Those were the basic ideals of the Democratic Action Party, officially founded on March 18, 1966, that made up a slogan known as “Malaysian Malaysia”. It simply means Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion. It does not mean Malaysia belongs to any particular race or religion. It means every citizen of Malaysia has equal rights and equal opportunities.

Those are the basic ideals of the DAP leaders throughout its 45 years of existence; the beliefs and struggles of Dr Chen Man Hin, C.V. Devan Nair, Daing Ibrahim, Dr S.K. Dass, Mohamed Nor Jettey, Lim Kit Siang, Fan Yew Teng, Karpal Singh, Lim Guan Eng, V. David, Chong Eng, P. Patto, Ahmad Nor, Teresa Kok and many more.

However there were and still are certain sections of the population who can only see their fellow human beings through their distorted racial and racist views, that some people are more equal than others. Hence, till today, DAP is still seen as a “Chinese” party, “anti-Malay”, “anti-Islam” and even “communist” by some people, including those in power.

For the last 45 years, DAP leaders have been ridiculed, vilified, attacked, detained without trial and continued to be falsely accused of being “subversive”, and lately “insensitive to Islam and the Malays”.

Yet, according to its official history, “DAP has been second to none in the battle for democracy, justice, equality and a united multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia. DAP leaders, members and supporters did not flinch when many of them had to pay a heavy price for their political beliefs, losing their personal liberties when detained under the Internal Security Act, prosecuted, convicted and jailed on politically trumped-up charges or victimised in a large variety of ways”.

In a stifled, media-controlled flawed democracy, Malaysians can be forgiven for failing to differentiate between the truth and lies. What is presented as news and facts are merely Barisan Nasional (and previously the Alliance) government-influenced propaganda.

Therefore, they are still segments of the population who believe that the DAP is a “Chinese chauvinist”, “communist” or “radical socialist” party that poses a danger to society. Sadly the people who are easily duped into believing this incredible lie have failed to discern the true facts of history.

On August 30, 1981, the DAP made its Petaling Jaya Declaration, reaffirming its ideals for a free and democratic Malaysia based on the principles of racial equality, economic justice, political liberty and cultural freedom.

The party reiterated its stand on being an organisation of patriotic Malaysians whose one and only national loyalty is to Malaysia, and to build a country where Malaysians would not be segregated, segmented or discriminated against because of race, whether economically, socially, culturally or politically.

As it was in the beginning, the DAP has rejected any notion or attempt to be a communist or extreme left-wing party. Its ideology of democratic socialism is similar to that of social democracy.

Its opposition to communism was made clearer in its Petaling Jaya Declaration: “The DAP does not want Malaysia to be subjugated by the Soviet Union or the People’s Republic of China or any other country, but wants Malaysia to be left in peace to determine its own national destiny.”

By the 1990s, the DAP have made a number of political and electoral pacts with friendly political parties without sacrificing its basic ideals of democracy. Even when faced with the tough issues of religion, the party holds true to its secular ideals.

On the DAP’s 40th anniversary in 2006, Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng declared the need to continue the Malaysian Malaysia struggle, which he called Malaysian First – the dual purpose of achieving national unity and economic prosperity amongst all Malaysians.

“First, national unity should be based not on race or religion but on a common identity centered on democracy, freedom, justice, integrity and human dignity. Secondly the importance of becoming global champions in academic excellence, economic competitiveness, technological merit and knowledge management to ensure economic prosperity that is shared equitably with all Malaysians.”

Guan Eng also explained that there was no substitute for hard work if the DAP values of Malaysian First were to be put into action.

“Our challenge is difficult and even painful – to convince Malaysians that we are a party of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans and Orang Asli.  We need to continue to sustain this struggle for the future generation in the hope that they may live in joy as an equal under the Malaysian sun without the ugly influences of repression, prejudice, ignorance and greed.”

In 2006, the DAP also officially adopted social democracy as its ideology, not to simply replace democratic socialism but to fine-tune and make clearer the true ideals for a free and democratic Malaysia.

The March 8, 2008 general election was proven to be a success for the DAP. It could even be said that it was a new beginning, this time the party was holding hands with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) under the name of Pakatan Rakyat.

At the moment Pakatan holds four state governments – Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Kelantan (Perak was won but later a few Pakatan state assemblymen defected to BN) – and has denied BN’s two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time since Independence (excluding the chaotic May 1969 general election).

The future is bright. Policies have changed, strategies modified but the principles are still the same with the DAP. Political enemies, detractors and racists can continue to spread lies about the party but the DAP is adamant to fight for the rights of all Malaysians.

In his 2011 New Year message, Guan Eng expressed his hope, not just in implementing the basic ideals of social democracy but also to provide a better environment for the future generation.

“Let us inspire hope by stressing on performance not privilege, expertise not entitlement and integrity not corruption. Let us be bonded by our common aspirations for justice, freedom, truth, democracy and social welfare for the weak and poor. Let us build a future for our children to live in a cleaner, greener and smarter Malaysia.”

 

This article was written by on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed. Tags:

Comments are closed.

Other News

Death and giving a damn

30 July, 2014 0 Comments

By Zairil Khir Johari, MP for Bukit Bendera On that day we’ll say to Hell: “Have you had enough?” And Hell will answer: “Is there more?” Lifted from the literary masterpiece “Death and the Dervish” by Bosnian Meša Selimović, the two haunting lines above make appropriate reflection, given the morbidity ... Full Article →

Artist Zunar, relentless fighter against tyranny (Part 2)

23 July, 2014 0 Comments

(…continuation from part 1) Since 2009, we still haven’t seen other cartoonists who shine other than yourself. Why is that so? Ok. With regard to this, I can only provide the space and guidance for cartoonists, I wont be able to turn them into successful cartoonists. That is for themselves ... Full Article →

Thank you, veterans! Because of you, DAP prevails

2 April, 2014 0 Comments

On 2 March, Penang Chief Minister and DAP MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng hosted a private dinner in honor of the Penang state DAP veterans. There are over 120 veterans in the state who have been party members for over 30 years. Of the number, about 70 turned up ... Full Article →

What’s wrong with the Terengganu crisis?

5 June, 2014 0 Comments

by Political Studies for Change (KPRU) Election fever has become a phenomenon in this equatorial country ever since the March 8 political tsunami, which has changed the political landscape, though the political transformation has not completed yet. To a certain extent, each legislature at federal and state level has put a different complexion on politics. The recent Terengganu political crisis and the storming of the Penang state assembly by UMNO members have to do with legislative politics. Legislative politics is different from election politics. From the parliament to legislature assembly in each state, the most frequent question that has been asked by people is about the attendance of members of elected representative, and as for some other incidents that have happened in legislature they have merely formed a part of their memory as people might find them obscure. Obscurity has become a byword for these pieces of memory due to the fact that people might not have the foggiest about these floating debris of memory. The most unforgettable legislative incident to the people goes to the seizure of power in the Perak state, and despite that, people did not necessarily follow on all the details and issues arising from the incident of seizing power in Perak state. This time - the Terengganu crisis is not only a political crisis, but also a ‘legislative crisis’. The lack of pressure from people in Terengganu lies in the insufficient knowledge about legislative which has saved Najib Razak’s shaky hold on power, as well as the dying Terengganu political and legislative crises from the jaws of death. The incident got serious. Media started to report extensively and non-UMNO members in BN also thought that it was a red flag. However, from the Prime Minister Najib’s statement announcing that the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin had consented to the resignation of Ahmad Said as well as the appointment of Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman as the new Terengganu Menteri Besar; to the dramatic twist of events where Ahmad Said and and two other UMNO state assemblymen quited the party and then later returned to the party, there appeared an unification in media reporting of the incident from the preparedness to deal with the incidents from different angles. As stability wins over anything else, water leaves behind no trails in its path. From Najib’s statement on 12th May 2014 to the new Menteri Besar Ahman Razif’s taking of oath of office before Sultan Mizan; and to the former Menteri Besar Ahmad Said’s announcement made at his official residence in Kemaman as to his decision to withdraw his resignation from UMNO, the whole process took shorter than two days. Nonetheless, all of the incidents that have occurred in the midst of the Terengganu crisis must not be dismissed out of hand, particularly when comes to the interpretation of matters involving legislative, which calls for some clarification and so that when similar event takes place in future, people in the particular state would no longer stay static in the face of the crisis. This Terengganu crisis, after Ahmad Said and two other UMNO state assemblymen quited the party, left Barisan Nasional with 14 state seats, against Pakatan Rakyat’s 15 in the assembly, giving an equation of 15:14:3, with 3 being the “independent reps”. On the same day, that is, 13th May, the Terengganu state legal advisor Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid, when contacted by Bernama, has claimed that despite the fact that the number of BN assemblymen had dropped from 17 to 14, the state assembly Speaker was counted as a representative of the ruling state government, thereby giving an equation of 15:15:3. It was Wesak day, which is also a public holiday. After founding director of think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU), Ooi Heng and his family offered prayers in a Buddhist temple and after he came across Azhar’s misleading statement, Ooi Heng shared his personal view on Facebook, taking the view that the Speaker shall have the casting vote only when the voting comes down to a tie. After talking to a journalist, Ooi Heng is even convinced that the real reason behind Terengganu state legal advisor making misleading statement was to buy some time for UMNO’s political power, so as to resolve the political and legislative crisis. The Federal Constitution has given exposition on legislative power, which includes both parliament and state assembly, and under which the Speaker’s voting right is also covered. The Federal Constitution is basically modeled on the Westminster parliamentary system. Schedule 8, Paragraph 10 (1B) of the Federal Constitution makes it clear that the Speaker of legislative assembly who is not an elected representative has no voting power. Whereas according to the Article 27 (1B) of the Constitution of Terengganu, non-member of the Assembly elected as Speaker has no voting right. Terengganu assembly speaker, Mohd Zubir Embong, is not an elected representative, as he was appointed as assembly speaker on 16th June 2013 after being defeated in the election for Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat. Hence, the controversy over the question of whether the speaker’s vote can be counted shall not even arise. In fact, not only does the state assembly follow the Westminster legislative custom, but the parliament of Malaysia is also following the system. The Article 57 (1A) of the Federal Constitution clearly provides that any person elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives who is not a member of the House of Representatives has no voting right. Furthermore, according to the Standing Order 45(1), the speaker shall be entitled to give his deciding ballot only when the voting comes down to a tie where ayes are equal to noes. This deciding ballot can be known as the casting vote, or ‘undi pemutus’ in Malay. The aim of this article is to clear doubts on this legislative incident, and as far as the Speaker’s voting right is concerned, no critical comment is intended to be directed at the roles that both government and the opposition have played in this political power crisis. However, I am of the opinion that despite the misleading statement by the state legal advisor, government and opposition elites should still be held responsible politically for this legislative incident. It is indeed bizarre that both government and opposition have no idea about the legislative procedures in the Terengganu state assembly when most of the assembly members are from UMNO and PAS. In the two days within which the 3 UMNO state assemblymen became ‘independent reps’ (Less than 48 hours), Terengganu state assembly has actually been beset with crisis. While there was likely UMNO fall down in Terengganu, UMNO has nonetheless got themselves some time to stabilise their shaky hold on power. Apart from UMNO taking the lead in this incident, the fact that PAS was being indifferent to the misleading statement will go down in the history of legislative politics. History is bound to repeat when political elite’s political action has not been properly examined. -The Rocket * The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the columnist ... Full Article →