Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DA P Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Seremban DAP anniversary Dinner held in Seremban on Saturday, 7th May 1994 at 8 p.m.
DAP Vision 2001 in the Seremban by-election in 1983 had been a forerunner of Vision 2020 by a decade
DAP is a party which fights for basic fundamental rights of all Malaysians as well for the long-term interests of nation and the people.
This is why the DAP has been to hold out ground in the last 28 years – establishing itself as the second largest political party in the country after UMNO in terms of electoral support in general elections.
The MCA and Gerakan however are political ‘parasites’ which cannot stand on their own, but must depend on UMNO for survival, and for their position in Cabinet, Government and Parliament. If the MCA or the Gerakan, for instance, have to become an Opposition party, it is dubious that either could last 28 months let alone 28 years.
Right from the very establishment DAP 28 years ago, the DAP had been inspired by a vision for a united, equal, just, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Malaysia.
Seremban had been the founding place of the DAP political movement and in the last 28 years, Dr. Chen Man Hin as DAP National Chairman, has dedicated himself to spearhead the political struggle which has made the DAP a household word in Malaysia as well as internationally.
When the history of Malaysia is written in the future, there would be proper recognition of the great contributions by DAP leaders in the nation- building process, for there is no doubt that the Malaysia of today owes in no small measure to the struggle and sacrifices of the DAP and its leaders.
There should also be no doubt that the future of Malaysia would also depend on the role and contribution of the DAP in shaping the national destiny in the coming years.
DAP’s role and influence in the nation-building process is different from that of a Government party as we are in Opposition – but that does not make it any less important or crucial.
DAP leaders in detention exercises more influence than MCA or Gerakan leaders in Cabinet – not on the basis of who is in government, but who has the clear support of the urban electorate
For instance, if it is asked as to who has exercised more influence in the nation-building process in the past three decades – whether the DAP or MCA or the Gerakan – I have no doubt that it is the DAP – not on the basis of who is in Government, but who has the clear support of the urban electorate.
In fact, DAP leaders when they are in detention exercises more influence than MCA or Gerakan leaders in Cabinet, for the fact that no Government can completely disregard the popular support behind the DAP in every general elections.
Mahathir’s Vision 2020, for instance, is not because of MCA or Gerakan, but because of the two consecutive general elections victory of the DAP in the urban areas in the 1990 general elections.
MCA had nothing to do with Mahathir’s announcement in February 1991 on Vision 2020 for they were still waiting for professional consultants to submit their report as to why the MCA did so badly in the 1990 general elections – getting only 20 to 25 per cent of Chinese voter support. It has also nothing to do with Gerakan, for Gerakan leaders were still licking their wounds from the 1990 election results where its President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Deputy President Kerk Choo Ting would have lost if not for UMNO’s Malay votes.
Mahathir however got the message of the DAP’s second consecutive victory in the urban areas in the 1990 general elec¬tions – that the people, wanted liberalisation of government nation building policies so that they would be more fair and just to all Malaysians.
In fact, before Mahathir announced Vision 2020 in February 1991, DAP had already spelt out a Vision of Malaysia in the 21st century in the 1983 by-election in Seremban.
This Vision 2,001 in the Seremban by-election. in 1983 had been a forerunner of Mahathir’s Vision 2020 by a decade.
Tonight, it is most appropriate that we are all reminded of the ‘Vision of a Malaysia in the Year 2001’ enunciated in Seremban on November 17, 1983, and its nine strategic objectives:
• Where all Malaysians regardless of race, reli¬gion, language or culture, are completely equal citizens;
• Where all sons and daughters of the Malaysian soil, regardless of race, are Bumiputeras of Malaysia;
• Where all the deprived and dispossessed classes of today, the workers, hawkers peasants, fishermen, enjoy the full fruits of their labour instead of being wage-slaves or exploited consumers of the rich and powerful;
• Where there is the fullest honouring and flowering of the different cultural traditions and mother-tongue education in Malaysia with national unity reinforced by a common national language and a common sense of national destiny;
• Where the brightest talents regardless of race can find fulfilment and creative outlet for the greater good of Malaysia instead of being stunted if they remain at home or drained away if they have to seek fullest realisation of their capabil¬ities abroad;
• Where the clean and righteous rule the land while the corrupt and immoral, whether legally or morally, are punished and disgraced;
• Where political democracy would grow to its fullest stature instead of our present democratic system which has only a Parliament House to boast about;
• Where the fundamental rights of men as enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution are given the full¬est measure of expression instead of being quali¬fied umpteenth times until they lose all meaning and significance; and
• Where with the talents of Malaysians of all races and the bountiful resources God has given Malaysia, Malaysia can become one of the great nations of the world.
Between 1966 to 1990, the DAP succeeded in checking the worst excesses of irrational and extremist forces in power – as in stopping the ‘One Language, One Culture’ Policy, saving Bukit China in Malacca which would have otherwise heralded an era of cultural intolerance and the defence of the fundamental political, economic, educational, social and cultural rights Malaysians .
The DAP has embarked on a new phase of our political struggle after the 1990 general elections.
The Second consecutive general elections victory of the DAP in the urban areas in the 1990 general elections have brought about Vision 20?0 and minor liberalisation of government policies and measures in certain economic and educational fields.
We must now work for the third consecutive general elections victory of the DAP in the urban areas in the next general elections – to give a clear and unmistakable message that Malaysians want not just minor and limited liberalisations, but major liberalisations in the entire spectrum of nation-building policies to give every Malaysian an equal place under the Malaysian sun!