We must create a new future for all Malaysians and not be the captives of the past
I want to thank my family, party comrades and colleagues, friends and relatives for this unprecedented and wonderful virtual birthday celebration.
I am glad to see the founding Chairman Dr. Chen Man Hin and Mrs. Chen with us, Johore pioneer State Assemblyman Lee Kaw, DAP veterans Tan Chui Sui (Mrs. Chiang Heng Kai), Wong Kang Li and wife, Chong Siew Chiang and wife, Ngoi Thiam Woh, my long-time friend K. Siladass, my classmates going back to seven decades ago, Pek Teck Soon, Tan Tik Seng and Allah Goh.
I have spent more than 55 years in DAP. The party has come a long way since its early days in the sixties, when we contested in the first general election in 1969 with some 2,000 members, sandwiched between a formidable ruling coalition, the Alliance, and until then, the main voice of dissent - but which had just launched an election boycott before the 1969 polls on the ground that the democratic constitutional struggle was just a farce.
The DAP fought for a non-communist, social democratic and just multi-racial Malaysia for all Malaysians.
All these were deliberately forgotten when in subsequent years, I was accused of being a communist, apart from being anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-Royalty and on top of them, a quadruple agent of CIA, KGB, MI6 and the Australian Secret Service.
Although I was in Kota Kinabalu, I was accused of being the cause of the May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur, leading illegal processions in the streets of KL to provoke the rage of the Malays. In actual fact, I was never in KL during the May 13 riots. I first set foot in KL on May 18, 1969 after I was arrested by the Special Branch on returning home at the Subang International Airport earlier that day.
But we must never allow the past to bury the future. If necessary, the future must bury the past to build better lives for future generations.
The year-long Covid-19 pandemic which has wrought such disaster not only to the lives of Malaysians but the whole wide world reminds me of two truisms: 1. No one is safe until everybody is safe. 2. No country is safe until all countries are safe.
Regardless of race, religion, region or class, we are all from the same race – the human race.
There is a lot of dejection, depression even a sense of hopelessness in the land. But we must never yield to these negative sentiments. Although we do not want “positive” results in Covid-19 tests, we must always be positive and never give up hope and dare to dream big dreams for ourselves and the country.
I wrote a poem “My Dream” for my class magazine, The Light, when I was in Form III in Batu Pahat High School, and it remains as relevant today some 64 years later:
“One for all and all for one
“We care not what colour, creed or religion you belong
“For aren’t each of us Malaya’s son
“Then why let silly racial quarrels prolong?”
Let us renew our dream that while Malaysians will have multiple identities – ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural – they have one common overriding identity as Malaysians.
Nobody is asking any Malaysian to forget that he or she is a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Iban or Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Sikkh, Taoist, but everyone is first and foremost a Malaysian.
That is my dream. That is your dream.
We must have the stamina, fortitude and conviction to see this Dream come true!
We must create a new future for all Malaysians and not be the captives of the past!
We want Malaysia to be a world-class great nation. We do not want Malaysia to be a failed state.
Finally, I want to thank the IT pioneers of Malaysia DAP and Penang DAP for a most creative and path-breaking virtual birthday celebration, as well as everyone who had participated in the event.