THE MALAYSIAN DREAM OF CHANGE, MODERATION AND HOPE

– By
LIM GUAN ENG

BN suffered historic losses because BN was an agent of corruption,
abuse of power, cronyism and extremism. BN ran out of both ideas and
ideals. Instead of repenting over its many broken promise BN became
more arrogant. The people chose DAP and PR because we are seen as
agents of change, moderation and hope. Most important we are clean.
the people’s expectations of being an agent of change, moderation and
hope. Despite our lack of experience we have inspired hope by proving
that we can govern better than BN. Whether in Penang or Selangor, DAP
and PR has performed in these 4 years better than BN for the last 51
years. We have made PR states cleaner, greener and safer and we shall
make Malaysia cleaner, greener and safer.

We must fulfil the aspirations of Malaysians, especially the young,
for change from a broken system of corruption and repressive laws that
violates basic human rights. Malaysians wants leadership with
integrity, a democratic people-centric government that listens to the
people, does the people’s work and gives hope to the people.
We have succeeded by practicing moderation and rejecting extremism,
preaching fellowship and not hatred, respecting each other as
Malaysians first and Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans
second. Moderation is justice, freedom and truth combined. Moderation
is our road to success to realise our Malaysian dream of a clean and
developed nation enjoyed by all.

DAP’s greatest asset is our integrity and incorruptibility. That is
why DAP would punish any member leader involved in any illegal or
corrupt acts. We propose 6 integrity measures:-

1) there must be a ban on political parties’ involvement in business
which can only lead to conflict of interest. How can politics mix with
business as the former seeks to uphold public interests whereas the
latter is to pursue private benefit and profit? How wealthy political
parties that are involved in business have become can be seen by MCA
giving money to its members every year.

2) the ban on mixing politics with business must be followed by
establishing an open tender system to check crony capitalism. An open
tender system will avoid unjust contracts such as the Independent
Power Producers and the toll concession operators allowing the few to
earn tens of billions of ringgit in extraordinary profits at the
expense of the 27 million ordinary citizens.
Malaysians mourn the “the lost decade of corruption”, where the
Washington-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI)
estimated RM 1,077 billon of illicit money(including corruption money)
had been illegally siphoned out of our country from 2000-9. The recent
RM250 million “cows and condos” scandal where money was released 2
years before any agreement was signed to a family company of Women,
Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul
Jalil for buying condos instead of cows shows the BN refuses to
change.
No wonder in the latest Transparency International(TI) Corruption
Perception Index, Malaysia dropped to 60th place in 2011 as compared
to 37th in 2003 when Tun Abdullah Ahmad first took over as Prime
Minister. In contrast Penang was praised by TI for implementing open
tenders.

3) Freedom of Information Act to ensure transparency and also public
disclosure of government contracts.

4) there must be a declaration of personal assets by public officials
holding positions of public trust.

5) there must be full and unconditional implementation of the 125
recommendations proposed by the 2005 Royal Commission on the
Enhancement of the Management and Operation of PDRM, especially the
formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct
Commissionv(IPCMC). The IPCMC was intended to cut down abuses of
police powers and police corruption. Failure to set up the IPCMC only
shows the unwillingness of the BN government to deal with the negative
public perception about the police.

6) the Elections Commission(EC) must be punished for failure to act or
even failure to press for action by the relevant authorities on
election bribery, especially failure to comply with the Election
Offences Act 1954 imposing election spending limits of RM200,000 for
every Parliamentary constituency and RM100,000 for every state
constituency.

To Realise The Malaysian Dream Of A Developed Nation We Must Reject A
“Police State” In Favour Of A Policy State That Focuses On Improving
The Quality Of Life And Reducing The Cost Of Living Of Ordinary
Rakyat.

Policies must be made to benefit the people and not to turn Malaysia
into a police state.

Why should BN spend so much time and effort to justify why the Bersih
rally has to be banned, peaceful assemblies are not allowed near
petrol stations, places of religious worship and public places that in
effect bans peaceful assemblies? Should not time and effort be spent
on the managing the rising cost of living and poorer quality of life?
The price of meat, vegetables and fish has gone up over the past year.
Milk powder for babies have risen by nearly 50%. But other basic
commodities have gone up such as:

1. Sugar – RM1.45/kg (Jan 2010) to RM2.30 (May 2011) – 58% in 18 months
2. Telur: B grade RM9/30eggs (sept 2010) RM10/30eggs (now)
3. Electricity tariff – average increase of 7.12% in June 2011.
4. Teh tarik and kopi susu – increase RM0.10 to RM0.20 (9.1% to 18.2%.
5. Gardenia bread – 5%-14% hike (2011)
6. Service tax increase 1% – additional RM720 million in taxes to
Federal Government
7. Onions – price up 17% (Dec 2010)
8. Milo prices – up 5% 1st half 2011; 4% 2nd half 2011
9. Nescafe price went up further 6% in 2nd half 2011 – when price is
already >RM20 per 300gm.
10. All your favourite food whether roti canai, char koay teow and
nasi kandar is smaller even though at the same price.

When the Penang state government implemented our “Golden Child”
programme giving RM200 for every child born to Penangites since
1.1.2011, parents tell me that the RM200 can only last 3 months for
buying milk as compared to 5 months in 2010. This is borne out by the
inflation rate rising by 3.2% for Jan-Nov 2011 as compared to 2010.
The inflation rate rose by only 0.6% in 2009 and 1.7% in 2010. Over
2011(November) food prices increased 4.7%, Transport 4.6%, Restaurant
& Hotels 5.8%, Alcohol & Tobacco 5%.
Rising inflation is a serious problem because of high levels of household debt.
The bottom 60% of our population have an average household income of
less than RM3,000 a month, while the bottom 40% live on less than
RM1,500 a month. More worryingly, Bank Negara’s Annual Report 2010
revealed that Malaysia’s household debt at the end of 2010 was RM 581
billion or 76 per cent of GDP, thus giving us the dubious honour of
having the second-highest level of household debt in Asia, after South
Korea.
In addition, the Malaysian household debt service ratio stood at 47.8
per cent in 2010, meaning that nearly half of the average family’s
income goes to repaying debts. As a rule, banks would not lend money
to those whose total servicing of loans exceeded one third of their
income. In other words, we are spiralling into an indebted nation.
There does not seem to be a way out as income has also stagnated in
the last 10 years. This has resulted in a dire situation whereby the
bottom 40 per cent of our population earns only 14.3 per cent of the
total income while the top 20 per cent shares 50 per cent of the total
income.
To make matters worse, federal debt has now touched RM456 billion as
at the end of last year while our debt-to-GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
ratio has nearly reached the national debt ceiling of 55%. In contrast
Penang reduced our debt by 95% or RM600 million from RM630 million in
8.3.2008 to RM30 million by end October 2011, the largest debt
reduction amongst Malaysian states in history.

It is therefore time to introduce the concept of economic solidarity.
By this we mean solidarity between the rich and the poor, between the
urban and the rural, between the strong and the weak. Ultimately, our
aim must be to build a society that empowers its people, especially
the bottom 60% that really need it. More than anything, we need to
ensure economic survival and create economic solidarity through:
1. Implementing minimum wage.
2. Indexing minimum wage to the rate of inflation.
3. Fostering female participation in the work force.
4. Reducing reliance on unskilled foreign labour.
5. Moving up the value chain in automation and technology.
6. Addressing corruption and leakages through the CAT (Competency,
Accountability, Transparency) Governance model.
7. Observing rule of law and
8. Upholding the freedom of workers to protect their legitimate rights.

We also need to address the weaknesses inherent in the current system
that is characterised by corruption, crony capitalism and monopolies.
As the situation stands, Malaysia is the only rice-producing country
that has privatised rice production and worse, consolidated it into a
monopoly under a single crony capitalist company. As a result, while
Thailand and Indonesia are self-sufficient, we are dependent on
imported rice for one third of our consumption. And because of the
monopoly, we are paying more for imported rice than even Singapore.
Another example of crony capitalism is the gas subsidies of RM20
billion given to Independent Power Producers and lop-sided highway
toll concession agreements which allow toll operators to increase
their toll periodically over extended concession periods, despite the
fact that most of them have already recouped vast profits far
surpassing their investment outlays.
Until 31.12.2010, the toll operator for North-South Expressway (NSE)
spent RM 5,945 million to construct the NSE but has received RM 24,266
million in toll receipts and government compensation. In other words
the NSE toll operator has recorded a surplus of RM 18,321 million as
at 31.12.2010 over its investment outlay.
Is there any need for the NSE toll operator to collect any more tolls
from the public much less increase toll fares? By right and in the
rakyat’s interest, toll collection in the NSE should be stopped
immediately in view that the revenue returns are 3 times more than the
original investment. The situation is similar for Penang Bridge which
has collected RM 1,859 million but spent RM 944 million on
construction cost, enjoying a surplus of RM 924 million.
It is time that we replace this crony capitalistic economy with a
“People’s Economy” that will focus on increasing disposable income and
improving the basic foundations of skills, technology and
productivity.

Economic Prosperity
More than forty years ago, Malaysia’s GDP per capita was USD350 while
South Korea trailed at USD130. Today, South Korea’s GDP per capita
stands at around USD20,000 while we are languishing behind at around
USD7,000. Forty years ago, the average Malaysian was three times
richer than the average South Korean. Today, they are three times
richer than us.
This has happened because human talent was not valued and maximised,
freedom of opportunity was not encouraged and a system was fostered
that rewards know-who rather than know-how. Merit and excellence
became secondary to political connections. (No practice of
Meritocracy)
Hence, we now need to rebuild our economy to achieve prosperity based
on innovation and the ability to create and adapt to new and relevant
ecosystems. For example, today is the age of the information
superhighway. In order for us to prosper we will need to build
internet-related industries and skills that are relevant to these
industries.
We also need to build a new generation of entrepreneurs imbued with
energy and expertise. However, entrepreneurship must necessarily be
driven by the innovation, creativity and drive of the private sector.
In this regard, we believe that the business of government is to get
out of business.
The Government’s role in cultivating economic prosperity is to invest
in the future by concentrating on its social functions. Focus should
be given to the areas of infrastructure, housing, education,
transportation and healthcare, whereby a strong government role will
ultimately result in improving the economic well-being of the people.
For example, better public transportation will reduce the necessity to
buy cars and thus immediately increase disposable income in place of
car loans. The same applies with government intervention in affordable
housing, education subsidies and healthcare.
In Penang, we have embarked on a series of social programmes that have
lessened the burdens of the people. We give RM100 a year to senior
citizens, the disabled and single mothers, in addition to a RM1,000
one-off payment to their heirs if they pass away. We also give RM1,000
one-off to students who are accepted into public universities and
RM200 for every baby born in Penang. To help the people cope with the
high cost of bringing up children, we also give RM100 to every student
entering Standard 1 and 4 and Form 1 and 4.
Besides hand-outs to target groups, we have also established the CAT
Dialysis Centre in Balik Pulau that provides subsidised dialysis
treatment. In addition to that, we also provide free buses for in the
inner city of George Town as well as for commuters from Seberang Jaya
to Bayan Lepas. More significantly, we have also managed to abolish
hardcore poverty a year after taking over. Now, we are aiming to
eliminate poverty altogether by 2015. If we can do this in Penang, we
can do this for the rest of Malaysia.
3 Core Voter Groups To Win The 13th General Elections.
Three groups of voters will decide the next general elections – namely
phantom voters, East Malaysian voters and the youth. If we do not deal
with phantom voters by ensuring clean elections, we will have lost
even before we contest.
For Sabah and Sarawak we can not win only 2 out of 56 parliamentary
seats as in 2008 elections. This is too big a handicap to give to BN.
We need to win at least 1/3 or 18 parliamentary seats. DAP can help by
winning a bulk of the 18 seats. As we are stronger in Sarawak than
Sabah, Sarawak DAP shall be the fire engine room towards Putrajaya for
the next general elections. Even though Johor is one of the front-line
states, Sarawak can make Ubah Malaysia happen.
Sarawak DAP has accepted this challenge thrown by me to lead the
charge as the Putrajaya fire engine room from East Malaysia. Sarawak
DAP Chairman Sdr Wong Ho Leng will present a special report on how to
help PR achieve winning 18 seats at the next general elections.
According to official statistics, 72% or three quarters of Malaysians
are below the age of 40. Coupled with the fact that there will be a
record number of first-time voters in the coming General Election,
estimated to be about 2 million, we must appeal to the youth who make
up the bulk of the two million new voters.
We must also empower women. PR offers women a vision of respecting
their dignity and worth unlike that of Sharizat who will roll up her
sleeves to defend her family company in the cows and condos scandal
but not the Penan women who were raped.

BUILDING INSTITUTIONS TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE
We offer the Malaysian Dream. The Malaysian Dream of a country that is
truly Malaysian, where we can share in our country’s wealth, enjoy
equal opportunities to prosper, be rewarded for hard work, and where
economic prosperity and human dignity is assured. In this Malaysian
dream, we must build the following 5 institutions.

1) we are Malaysian First. This is the substantial dispute between DAP
and the racist BN. Despite that the BN-controlled media continues to
paint us as racists. Recently, I won a libel suit against UMNO’s
official mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia for RM200,000 after they lied
that I am anti-Malay. We must fight lies with facts and let our record
prove that we treat every Malaysian whether Chinese, Indian Malays,
Kadazans and Ibans as brothers and sisters.
2) Malaysians deserve to enjoy basic human rights and a civil society.
We support the Federal Constitution where Islam is the religion of the
Federation and the special position of the Malays as well as freedom
of religious worship and protecting the legitimate rights of the
non-Malays. In Penang we increased the allocation for Islamic affairs
from RM12.5 million under BN to RM 63 million and established the EXCO
portfolio of non-Islamic affairs.
3) there must be equality of opportunity for all where what you know
is more important than who you know. We fervently believe that every
Malaysian is competent and that the colour of your skin does not make
one inferior or incapable.
4) there must be rule of law where institutions and not leaders
protect the people. Five, we must build integrity and intelligent city
communities towards a high-income and knowledge-based economy.
In building these institutions we must be free from fear. Thomas
Jefferson once said, that when the people fear the government, there
is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty. A
government must show our respect for the people by trusting and having
faith in their wisdom and intelligence.
Conclusion

Before I conclude I would like to explain the necessity to amend the
party constitution by extending another 6 months to enable us to hold
our Party National Congress in December instead of August this year.
The Selangor Menteri Besar has reaffirmed his commitment to hold
Selangor state elections after June or July this year.
It is our duty and priority to focus on retaining and winning Selangor
for PR. As this amendment would mean only a difference of four months,
the CEC has unanimously proposed adopted this proposal to hold the
Party National Congress in December 2012 so that the party will not be
distracted from fighting the battle in Selangor that PR can not afford
to lose.
I would also wish reassert our party’s firm commitment and solidarity
with Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim as leader of Pakatan Rakyat and
Opposition Leader. The focus is not about Anwar Ibrahim but about how
to win the next general elections.

We were entrusted with an opportunity to prove that we can institute
change. We have shown that with a clear agenda of economic solidarity
and democracy, we can make a difference. Now, we seek to bring this
agenda to the national level.
Our party has persevered for 46 years for this very moment. Let us now
stand together, united in diversity and committed to our ideals. In
that respect, it is imperative that we focus not only on strengthening
our organization, aggressive fund-raising to fulfill electoral targets
and comprehensive dissemination of information, but also forge an
unbreakable bond of party unity, to make our dream a free, just and democratic Malaysia come true. We guarantee Malaysians one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of selling out or submission to BN. In our quest for the
Malaysian dream we do not seek the victory of might but the vindication of right.
Let us dare to dream the Malaysian Dream!

LIM GUAN ENG