New Year Message by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 31st December 2008: 

Malaysia at new crossroads – whether Malaysians can unite as one people to withstand the worst effects of the global economic tsunami 

2008 is the year of the political tsunami in Malaysia – with five state governments under Pakatan Rakyat, the end of two-thirds parliamentary majority of Barisan Nasional and a totally new national mindset where the toppling of the Umno-Barisan Nasional coalition government at the national level is no more impossible or unthinkable but eminently possible and a matter of time.

In 2009, the world expects the worst economic tsunami in 80 years wreaking even greater economic devastation world-wide than that caused by the global financial crisis this year which had already plunged the United States, Europe and Japan into recession and slowed down world economic growth - and the two great economic powerhouses, China and Japan, will not be spared.

Malaysia is at a new crossroads. We have lost our way after half-a-century of nationhood as illustrated by the tragic fact that the objective of a Bangsa Malaysia as proclaimed in Vision 2020 has become a subject of discord rather than concord among Malaysians and our continued slippage in international competitiveness whether in terms of university rankings, corruption perception indices, human rights or good governance ratings.

The year ended with Parliament passing two reform bills aimed to restore confidence in the independence and integrity of key institutions of the country, to eradicate corruption and to restore an independent and impartial judiciary, but under great national cynicism that there is the real political will to carry out these reforms.

Such cynicism were only reinforced when nothing was revealed in the so-called “tell all” press conference into the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone bail-out scandal after the reforms bills were passed.

The great challenge facing Malaysia in the coming year is whether Malaysians can unite as one Malaysian people to withstand the worst effects of the global economic tsunami in the coming year and regain our lost ground in the international competitiveness stakes to forge a united, just, progressive, caring and meritocratic nation.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor