Wishes from civil society: Tenaganita

18 March, 2011


Many things stand out about this party. For me, one of the most striking ones is its consistency in maintaining the positions it has taken. This has helped the party gain greater confidence among the people.

Another positive aspect is that the DAP has moved away from being purely an Opposition party. It is now a partner in Pakatan Rakyat and works to move the agenda forward. This is a major achievement, and it has responded well to the political trends after the 1999 Reformasi movement.

DAP has also managed to attract a sizeable number of young people into the party, which creates space for the young to reflect the multiracial dynamics of the nation.

However, I do feel the party used to better in working with the NGOs. Members such as (YB) Teresa Kok used to link up very closely with civil society, they made their presence felt at various NGO meetings and coalitions. This has lessened after March 2008, but I think it is important to revive that relationship.

We need to develop a discourse with people that the concepts of non-discrimination and equality must be realised within the country. I hope that the DAP will continue to voice out more on the issue of migrant workers. (YB) Charles Santiago raises this issue in Parliament. But DAP as a whole should do more to help its constituencies to recognise migrant workers’ contributions to the national economy, and to reduce the hostility that lies between citizens and migrants. The Penang government, for example, could develop a program on the issue of human trafficking so that access to justice is increased for the most marginalised people.

I would also like to congratulate the party for its 45 years of growth. Kudos to the DAP on the political contributions it has made, and the sacrifices its leaders have made to stand up for what is just. In particular, Lim Kit Siang who was detained twice under the ISA. Each time, he came out more vigorous and with greater strength – his tenacity is what any leader should emulate. It will challenge the younger generation who enter the party. I also enjoy his simplicity and his continued openness. So as he turns 70, he has a lot to smile about and it is now for us to look to him to move forward the steps which he created for change in the country.

Irene Fernandez

founder of Tenaganita and PKR supreme council member


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