Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the Perak DAP State Convention in Ipoh on Sunday, September 24, 1995 at 10a.m.
The new DAP Central Executive Committee to be elected at the DAP Party Congress on November 11-12 will be responsible for the three-year DAP revival and renewal programme and prepare the DAP for the new politics of the 21st century
In the April general elections, the DAP suffered its worst general election defeat in the party’s 29-year history.
In Penang, where the DAP had campaigned to capture the Penang State Government, the party won only one State assembly seat while out Parliamentary representation in Penang was halved from six MPs to three.
In Perak, we lost all Parliamentary seat and won only one Sate Assembly seat.
Nation-widem we were “thrashed” when from 20 MPs and 46 State Assemblymen before dissolution, we were left with nine MPs and 11 Assemblymen.
Even worse, the tiny DAP band of nine MPs were reduced to eight when veteran DAP leader, P.Patto passed away on July 12 and further reduced to seven when Wee Choo Keong was disqualified as MP for Bukit Bintang.
When the DAP was in the depths of the abyss, what we find very heartening was that our sorrow and shock at the April general election resuit was shared by the people at large.
Not only the DAP, but the country as a whole, reacted with shocked and disbelief at the April general election result.
Similarly, when the DAP won the Bagan Parliamentary by-election on September 9, the whole nation again shared with the DAP at the result, again in disbelief but with elation this time!
DAP leaders and members, however must not misread the meaning of the DAP’s victory at the Bagan by-election.
Even before the Bagan by-election result, the DAP at all levels had agreed that there is a need for a radical programme of party reform to renew and revive the DAP.
The by-election victory does not mean that there is no need for party revival and renewal. On the contrary, it should be regarded as a catalyst for party reform and rejuvenation.
The new DAP Central Executive Committee which will be elected at the DAP Party Congress in Kuala Lumpur on November 11-12 will be responsible for the three-year DAP revival and renewal programme and prepare the DAP for the new politics of the 21st century.
In this three-year party DAP revival and renewal programme, the DAP must talent-scout, nurture and develop a new generation of leaders to take over the future leadership and direction of the DAP.
In these three years, all DAP leaders must undergo a process of change and renewal so that the DAP can not only understand and respond to the needs of a new generation of Malaysians, but also keep abreast with fast –changing times and technology.
What I read recently in another context on change and renewal is relevant to this three year DAP programme of party renewal and revival:
“Yesterday natural resources defined power. Today knowledge is power.
“Yesterday hierarchy was the model. Today synergy is the mandate.
“Yesterday leaders commanded and controlled. Today leaders empower and coach.
“Yesterday leaders were warriors. Today leaders are facilitators.
“Yesterday leaders demanded respect. Today leaders encourage self-respect.”
At a time of party elections, whether at the state or national level, it is natural for cussles for position which is healthy provided they are a competition as to who could serve the party better rather than to further one’s self-interests.
Call on Mahathir to ensure that the Seventh Malaysia Plan incorporates a strategy to develop an information technology infrastructure to place Malaysia in the forefront of the information revolution
Precisely because knowledge has replaced natural resources to define power in the present era, Malaysia must not be left behind in the revolution of information technology (IT).
Malaysia has had six five-year development plans, but there has been no strategy to develop an information technology infrastructure to place Malaysia in the information revolution.
The information highway infrastructure must be regarded as an essential infrastructure for Malaysia because it can mean:
An increasing competitive advantage for Malaysian enterprises;
Opportunity for specific new industry to develop;
Better, more effective and cost-effective provision of government services and information; and
Improved quality of life and a changed way for Malaysians to live, learn, work and play.
I therefore call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, who is also Chairman of the National Information Technology Council, to ensure that the Seventh Malaysia Plan incorporates a strategy to develop an information technology infrastructure to place Malaysia in the forefront of the information revolution.
DAP calls on Anwar to present an IT budget in Parliament next month which not only removes all import duties on personal computers but give incentives to encourage the development of a computer-literate society
The Government can start in developing Malaysia into a technologically-literate nation by introducing an IT budget next month with at least four objectives:
To develop awareness among Malaysians at large of the significance of the information highway in Malaysia and in the world;
To develop usage of information technology in Malaysia among government, private sector and individuals; and
To encourage Malaysia companies to invest in the development of new usages, technologies and software for the information highway and to market these processes internationally; and
To convince companies that are involved in information technology in other countries to participate in the developments in Malaysia.
The DAP calls on the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to present an IT budget in Parliament next month which not only removes all import duties on personal computers but give incentives to encourage the development of a computer literate society in Malaysia.
Malaysia at present has only 7500 Internet users who have subscribed to jarring. At present, Jaring is the only Internet provider in Malaysia.
In the United States, there are many providers, and its leading provider, American Online, has 3.5 million subscribers. This is an indication of how far behind Malaysia is trailing behind other countries in getting access to the Information Superhighway and the urgent need for a strategy, including an IT budget next month, to get more Malaysians onto the Internet.
I will seek a meeting with Education Minister, Datuk Najib Tun Razak to ask for a copy of the new Education Bill
For ten years, the Barisan Nasional Government has been talking about a new Education Bill to replace the 1961 Education Act and at last, there is a commitment by the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that the new Education Bill would be presented to the budget meeting of Parliament for approval.
However, there are still no signs of the Education Bill although the Dewan Rakyat budget meeting will resume in three weeks’ time on Oct 16.