By Lim Kit Siang
The unity, solidarity and commitment of DAP and reaffirmation of the Middle Malaysia concept by the just-concluded 16th DAP National Congress in Penang have struck fear in UMNO/BN and reverberated throughout the country, ringing alarm bells in UMNO/Barisan Nasional, as they realize that the agenda has been set for the crucial and critical battle in the 13th General Elections in the next 100 days to decide for the first time in the nation’s 55-year history whether there shoud be a change of federal government in Putrajay.
It jolted UMNO leaders including the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak into quick reaction, claiming that it was the Barisan Nasional and not the DAP that represents “Middle Malaysia”.
If Najib is confident that it is UMNO/BN which represents Middle Malaysia, and has overwhelming support of the four million middle ground voters in the 13 General Elections – the three million new voters and the one million swing voters from the 12GE in 2008 – Najib would have dissolved Parliament and the 13GE would have been held already.
Furthermore, Najib would not have to suffer the “To Be or Not To Be” agony in the past two years to decide on the dissolution of Parliament (an agony which he is still undergoing despite Parliament having only some four months’ tenure before it is automatically dissolved under the Constitution on April 28, 2013) and the ignominy of being the longest unelected Prime Minister in Malaysia without his own mandate from the people.
The former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah was also awakened to describe the 16th DAP National Congress as an unhealthy phenomenon on the ground that it showed that DAP is monopolised by a particular race.
But the most laughable comment must go to the Gerakan President and former Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon who described the non-election of any Malays in the DAP central executive committee as against the 1Malaysia spirit.
Both Abdullah and Tsu Koon seem to have forgotten that UMNO is an exclusively race-based party which has yet to open it doors to all Malaysians despite the proposal by founding Umno President Datuk Onn Jaffar more than 50 years ago that UMNO should be opened to all races.
Has Tsu Koon ever told Najib that UMNO is against the 1Malaysia spirit and policy and should open its doors wide to all races?
In fact, dare Tsu Koon raise in Cabinet or the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council that the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is a bad example for Najib’s 1Malaysia policy as Muhyiddin had declared that he is “Malay first, Malaysian second”, and this open contempt and challenge to Najib’s 1Malaysia policy must be addressed and rectified without any further delay ?
DAP welcomes competition from Najib and UMNO/BN to compete with DAP for the support of Middle Malaysia, but before they could stake the claim for support of Middle Malaysia, UMNO/BN must renounce the tactics and ideology of extremist politics including Ketuanan Melayu and the four types of hate politics of race, religion, lies and fear.
Najib had dismally failed in his recent UMNO Presidential Address to represent Middle Malaysia, as his speech failed on three main grounds:
• Firstly, it highlighted the fact that Najib’s 1Malaysia policy had never been endorsed by the UMNO General Assembly in the past four years and no Umno general assembly had ever declared that Ketuanan Rakyat Malaysia and not Ketuanan Melayu is the overarching UMNO objective and mission.
• Secondly, inability to demonstrate UMNO’s commitment to support his declaration to make Malaysia “the world’s best democracy” by giving firm assurance that UMNO will transfer power peacefully to Pakatan Rakyat if this is the voters’ verdict in the 13GE.
• Thirdly, failure to touch even on the problem of corruption, when the problem of corruption under Najib is even worse than under the previous Prime Ministers, whether Tun Abdullah and Tun Mahathir, and a clean and incorrupt government is one of the pillars of a Middle Malaysia.
Is Najib prepared to battle with DAP for the hearts and minds of Middle Malaysia, by distancing himself and castigating irresponsible and reckless UMNO political leaders who resort to the politics of fear warning about another May 13 like Wanita Umno leader Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil or about “chaos” like Muhyiddin?
Dare Najib seek endorsement of the Cabinet as well as the highest decision-making bodies in Umno/BN for the 1Malaysia policy and the subordination of Ketuanan Melayu to Ketuanan Rakyat Malaysia?
I agree that the failure at the 16th DAP National Congress to elect Malay candidates to the 20-seat CEC is a setback to the DAP cause to represent all Malaysians.
This is however not because the DAP is anti-Malay or anti-Islam, as the DAP had right from the beginning of DAP’s formation in nearly 47 years ago in 1966 committed itself to be a party for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.
This is borne out by the history of DAP’s first general elections in 1969 where DAP fielded Malay candidates for both parliamentary and state assembly seats – getting two Malay candidates elected as state assemblymen in Perak and Negri Sembilan.
Over the decades, DAP had held firm to our multi-racial commitment and fielded Malay candidates for both parliamentary and state assembly seats, with several Malay leaders elected as State Assemblymen and the late Sdr. Ahmad Nor elected as MP for Bayan Baru in Penang.
It has always been an uphill task for the DAP to reach out to the Malays, with the UMNO and its mainstream media carrying out a sustained campaign to poison the minds of the Malays and demonise the DAP as anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
DAP will not be, and have never been, anti-Malay or anti-Islam.
This is why the new DAP CEC has taken immediate action to co-opt and appoint Senator Dr. Ariffin Omar as DAP National Vice Chairman and Zairil Khir Johari as Deputy Publicity Secretary.
I will like to ask which Barisan Nasional party has Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan and Iban members in their central committees? There is none, which shows that DAP is more inclusive than anyone of the 13 Barisan Nasional component parties, including UMNO.
We will persevere to reach out to the Malays as well as to all communities, although to date, the politics of Malaysian solidarity, democracy and justice as represented by DAP has taken a lower priority to the Malays than the politics of race as represented by UMNO and the politics of religion as represented by PAS.
Over the decades, more and more Malays have realised that what the UMNO propaganda mills have churned out against the DAP, that it is an anti-Malay and anti-Islam party, are pure lies and falsehoods.
As a result, DAP is getting increasing Malay support not only from ordinary Malays, but also Malay voters. This is what is frigthening UMNO and BN.
We will continue to improve ourselves and learn from our weakness and setbacks
to ensure that DAP can more effectively and successfully represent the interests of all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Orang Asli, Kadazans or Ibans.
This is why the DAP made history as the first Pan-Malaysian political party, with branches and political activities not only in all the states in Peninsular Malaysia but also in Sarawak and Sabah.
The 16th DAP National Congress is testimony of DAP’s unbowed commitment to grow, develop and expand as an inclusive Malaysian party representing all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Orang Asli, Kadazans or Ibans; whether Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs or Taoists; and whether in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah or Sarawak for a Middle Malaysia.
If Pakatan Rakyat succeeds in the “Hundred Days to Putrajaya” campaign and forms the next Federal government say with 125 parliamentary seats (PKR 45, DAP 40 and PAS 40), the stage will be set for the fruition of a Middle Malaysia.