Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader; DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Seremban on Friday, October 13 1995 at 11.30 a.m.
Negri Sembilan DAP leaders, members and branches have resolved to make a new start to re-establish the state’s political leadership and influence in the national struggle for Full Liberalisation ada democratisation in Malaysia
I have come to this press conference in view of the decision of the Negri Sembilan DAP State Committee to ask the DAP Central Executive Committee for guidance and direction and to take over the Negri Sembilan State GAP so that the Negri Sembiian DAP could re-establish its political leadership and influence in the national struggle for Full Liberalisation and democratisation in Malaysia.
Thirty years ago, Seremban was not only the birthplace for the DAP it was also the inspiration for Malaysians to stand up and fight for their rights and those of future generations to an united just democratic, developed, multi-racial , multilingual, multi-cuItural and multi-reiigious Malaysia.
Although the DAP hc.ci remained in the Opposition in the past three decades, our very presence, existence and mass support was a political force and reality which could not be disregarded by the government of the day.
It there was no DAP in the past 30 years, Malaysia would have become a very different countrv today, and The Justjce Bao controversy would not only have ended very differently.
If not for the political struggle and sacrifices of the DAP and DAP leaders in the past three decades, there would have been no “minor liberalisation” in the fields of education, ‘language and culture in the past four years.
Although the “minor liberalisation” is one of the causes for the DAP’s dismal defeat in the April general election, we do not regret our personal and party setbacks – for it is more important for political parties to achieve their political goals than individual political leaders.
In the April general election, the voters had very short memories, forgetting the DAP’s indispensable contribution in creating the conditions to make the “minor liberalisation”.
The voters also failed to look into the future not realising that the “Minor Liberalisation is only one step in the long political struggle to achieve Full Liberalisation and democratisation in Malaysia.
There are signs however that the people have now realised the importance of the role of the DAP if Malaysja is to graduate from ”minor liberalisation” to full Liberalisation and democratisation.
The Bagan by-election, where the DAP won with a 11,802-vote majority, 100 times the DAP majority in the April general election is one such sign that the DAP is still the best hope of the people in their aspirations for both development and democracy.
The DAP is now engaged in the agonising task of standing up after suffering the party’s worst general election defeat and we are committed to a three-year programme of party reform, revival and regeneration, which would be launched off after the Party Congress in November.
What the DAP will embark on in the next three years is probably as important as what the DAP had done in the past three decades- to reinvent the DAP to make the DAP relevent to the hopes and aspirations of a new generation of Malaysians in the 21st century.
There had been fears that Negri Sembilan DAP, which 30 years ago had been inspiration for the DAP cause, would become the albatross.
In the past six months, the Negri Sembilan State DAP had not been in the mainstream of the preliminary efforts undertaken by the DAP for party reform, reform and regenaration.
For instance, to prepare for the three-year programme of party reform, revival and regeration, the DAP has three membership programme:
*Firstly, a membership drive. The number of new members who have joined the DAP from Negri Sembilan since the April general election is the lowest in the Peninsula, lower than Kedah!
* Secondly, a life membership campaign since July to tide the party through our financial crisis as
a result of the disastrous general election result. Out. of about. 350 who had so far enrolled as life members at the special “offer” rate of RM100, there was not a single person from Negri Sembilan.
* Thirdly, a programme to recruit 800 young professionals and university graduates to join the
party in the next three years to form the core of the future leadership of the party. This
programme has not been launched a lthough some states have responded very positively and enthu-¬
siastically. But in Negri Sembiian, there has been no response.
I believe the Negri Sembilan DAP has the potential to be great, again, in keeping with its great tradition as great found¬ing-place for the DAP cause.
I feel fortified in this belief by the resolve of the Negri Sembilan DAP leaders, members andbranches to make a new start to re-establish the state ‘s political leadership and influence in the national struggle for Full Liberalisation and democratisation in Malaysia.
We must never lose sight of our larger, national objectives. With this new spirit in Negri Sembilan DAP, the Negri Sembilan State DAP must prove those who believe that it would be an albatross to the party reform, revival and rejuvenation programme wrong and give new hope that Negri Sembilan DAP can resume its leadership role in the national political arena.
The life membership RM 100 “speciel-offer” programme is to end early next month, but with three weeks left, I see no reason whv the result from Negri Sembilan DAP should remain zero or why it should be at. the bottom of the list.
At present, there is one DAP branch in Johore which has enrolled 36 lite members. I do not think that. when the first initial.list is announced after the Central, Executive committee meeting next Tuesday, the Negrj Sembilan State DAP would be able to change its poor rating.
However, I do not see why the DAP in Neqri Sembilan could not catch up in the next three week , SO that when the DAP RM100 life-membership special offer programme ends in three weeks time, Negri Sembilan DAP as well as some DAP branches in Negri Sembilan should not merit special mention!
As for the Negri Sembilan DAP State Committee’S resolution asking the CEO to take over the Negri Sembiian DAP, I do not want to anticipate the CEO’s decision on Tuesday night except, to say that what is happening represents an important “turning point” in the final preparations for the launching of the three-year party reform, revival and regeneration programme next month.