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DAP’s 45 years of serving the people – by M Kula Segaran

Forty-five years is a long time in the life of a man, but in the life of political parties, the period isn’t long. The genesis, evolution and maturation of a political organisation would easily take that long or even longer. What matters is whether the party has the ideals that can withstand the test of time and having those ideals it has the leaders who can propound them with not only eloquence but with the sacrifice of their sweat, tears and, sometimes, even with their blood.

The DAP has been fortunate in that it has had those ideals that were sustained by a set of indomitable leaders. No matter what their adversaries have said about them, the founding pair of Dr Chen Man Hin and Lim Kit Siang which was bolstered in later years by the redoubtable Karpal Singh, have seen the DAP through years of tribulation to its current triumph as the party with the largest representation in Parliament.

Though this is a huge achievement, this is no time for a vicarious triumphalism. The road ahead is long and arduous but the sense of a threshold being passed and the anticipation of great possibilities is balm for tired minds and hearts. More than ever, the farsightedness of the DAP’s unwavering support for mother tongue education appears like the idea of democracy itself, an idea whose universality and wholesomeness are now unquestioned from Damascus to Denpasar. Saudara Dr Chen still attends party meetings to offer his valuable advice while Saudara Kit Siang still travels all over the country to spread our political message. Yes, DAP’s political mission is not yet complete. Come next general election, together with our Pakatan Rakyat partners, we want to capture more state power as well as the Federal power.

I have often heard public say, BN tak boleh pakai lagi. MCA dan Gerakan pun tak boleh harap lagi. So our massage to the people is “Ubah!” Go for change and suffer no more the arrogant and incorrigible BN governments. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently said BN has changed after the 2008 electoral debacle. Is this true? Just take a look at two issues.

Firstly, the treatment of national type schools. Despite the unprecedented electoral debacle it has suffered in the 2008 general election, the BN government has not reversed its unfair policies towards the national type schools.

The amount of allocation spent on the national type schools is pittance when compared to national schools. Under the Ninth Malaysia plan the following sums were spent by the Ministry of Education namely:
for National schools – RM33.30 per student per month;
for Tamil schools – RM10.55 per student per month;
for Chinese school – RM4.50: per student per month.

The above figures speak volumes. Is this in line with 1Malaysia concept? This is one of the many examples that prove that 1Malaysia is just an empty political slogan.

Secondly, on the Interlok controversy. I have asked the Education Minister to ask himself five key questions on the novel, namely:

Is it not true that the book contains inaccuracies and demeaning words which have hurt the Indian community’s feelings?
Can such a controversial book be used as a school text book?
Can the book truly promote better racial understanding and forge unity?
Is it not justified for the Indian community to demand the withdrawal of the book as a textbook for SPM students?
Has not the controversy been allowed to drag on long enough?

Anyone can give the right answers. I believe Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also can give the right answers. But yet he cannot come out with the right solution – that is, to withdraw the book as a text book. There are many examples I can cite to show that BN is no longer fit to govern this country.

Suffice to say that come next general elections, Malaysians should rise up to the occasion and vote for change to bring about a better Malaysia for all.