Press statement by DAP Secretary-General and MP for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on 3 March 2021:
Democratic Action Party celebrates its 55th anniversary on 18 March 2021 as a principled, progressive and policy-driven political movement contributing towards building a united, fair, free and prosperous Malaysia.
Demokratik. Adil. Peduli: Muhibah is a fitting theme to reaffirm our commitment towards ideals centered on Malaysian perspectives of unity in diversity, racial fraternity and religious harmony as well as common aspirations of equal opportunity, social justice, economic prosperity and democratic freedoms. This is in essence our Malaysian Dream, which we in the DAP have dedicated ourselves to for the past 55 years.
Since our inception in 1966, DAP has been a multiracial party fighting for the well-being and welfare of all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazandusuns, Ibans or Orang Asli. DAP is proud to have elected representatives from all communities except orang Asli.
Building political cooperation is not easy in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society. Nation building requires coalition collaboration. In reality, no single party can win alone. Nor can any party win without gaining support across ethnic lines. Together with our allies who share similar ideals of democracy and justice, we can build this nation together.
DAP recognises the value of working together with allies who share compatible core beliefs, a commitment to reform and to consolidate democracy. A decade ago our battle cry was UBAH, designed by our party comrade Sdr by Ooi Leng Hang. The nation was ready for change. We recognise that the politics of multiracialism is the only way forward. History was created on 9 May, 2018.
Alas, treachery, betrayal and money politics ended the Pakatan Harapan government abruptly after only 22 months in power. Yet, this narrative of change and reform is far from over. We must do our best to cement a Malaysian middle ground that will prevent those obsessed with racial conflict and religious confrontation from destroying the nation.
The politics of dominance and hegemony is no longer viable. Only the politics of inclusiveness can sustain a genuine political partnership based on empathy, mutual respect and trust. It is MUHIBAH, it is a solidarity of hope and goodwill.
DAP has transformed itself from a perennial and effective opposition party into a performing party in power, and managed to forge a successful united coalition despite many obstacles. We must continue to work towards becoming the party of choice for all Malaysians.
Since 2008, we have a good track record of governing with integrity, competency, accountability and transparency. We are still entrusted by the people of Penang to be the State Government for more than a decade. We have groomed a strong cohort of leaders at the national, state and local levels who are able to contribute constructively to the political process.
We also want Sabah and Sarawak to be given more powers and responsibilities according to the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 to decide on how to improve the lives of ordinary Sabahans and Sarawakians. We want to build a Malaysia that we can all be proud of. This is the spirit of Muhibah.
Economy And The COVID-19 Pandemic
We should place the agenda of economic growth, increasing real wages and job creation as a priority, and the government should be the catalyst to drive this agenda. Fundamentally, the only way to rescue the economy is to contain the pandemic. Implementing fully the 3Ts of mass testing (including subsidizing part of the testing costs for companies for their local and foreign workers, tracing of all close contacts of COVID-19 positive patients and treatment may cost more than RM 2 billion.
The cost to the government of subsidizing the costs of these tests is far less than the daily economic costs incurred by most companies, especially SMEs. For instance, the tourism industry alone has lost RM100 billion in revenue in 2020, with no light at the end of the tunnel following more hotels and tourist operators closing. Many other sectors from construction to retail are also suffering.
Increasing fiscal spending is necessary in COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession. An additional RM45 billion economic stimulus package encompassing automatic and unconditional extension of bank loan moratorium, increase of monthly welfare aid to RM1,000 including the unemployed, provide rental and utilities’ subsidies, extend loan credits and grants.
DAP is committed to upholding the Federal Constitution and dedicated to the task of constructive nation-building :
- Malaysia is a nation united with its citizens sharing a sense of belonging and ownership, enjoying equal opportunities, freedom from fear and poverty;
- Malaysia is a functioning democracy that respects the dignity and fundamental rights of every citizen by giving hope for the young that their future will be protected and not stolen; rewards those who work hard and promote a culture of excellence; ensures peace, law and order as an undeniable right and not a privilege; and
- Our dream that while Malaysians will have multiple identities – ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural – they have one common overriding national consciousness and identity as Malaysian First.
We must give hope to Malaysians, that if we can mobilise solidarity in the name and spirit of MUHIBAH, we can defeat not just the pandemic but also social ills such as corruption, abuse of power and discrimination that plagues us, and build a better Malaysia.