To re-unify and re-inspire Malaysians to dedicate themselves to the Malaysian Dream to be a world-class great nation in various fields of human endeavour

DAP will turn 55 years next week from the date the party was registered by the Registrar of Societies.

We formed DAP because we want Malaysia to be a world-class great nation in various fields of human endeavour and not be a mediocre third-world nation.

This goal must be the challenge of every generation in Malaysia.

Ironically, the year-long Covid-19 pandemic which has caused so much damage to the world, has driven home the point that instead of fulfilling, we have regressed from our Malaysia Dream to be a world-class great nation, with many countries overtaking Malaysia in achievement and excellence in various fields.

Recently the World Bank even came out with a report about Malaysia’s “Aspirations Unfulfilled” while NGOs in Malaysia in Civicus reported on “Rights in Reverse” in the past one year.

In the latest monthly Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking at the end of February 2021, Malaysia was ranked lower than Singapore (3), China (6), Taiwan (7), South Korea (8), Japan (9), Thailand (10), Hong Kong (13), Israel (14), UAE (15), India (16), Saudi Arabia (17), Vietnam (18) as Malaysia is ranked No. 23 in the index.

Malaysia fell seven places from the January ranking, when we were ranked No. 16, but we still then lost to Singapore, Taiwan, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, UAE, South Korea, Thailand and Israel and was only ahead of India and Saudi Arabia.

From the fall in the daily increase of new Covid-19 cases, we seem to have finally turned the corner and started to bring the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic under control, but not after it had rampaged for seven months making it one of the longest Covid-19 waves in the world – and we have not yet returned to three-digit and double digit numbers for daily increase of new Covid-19 cases.

The 30-year Vision 2020 to be a fully developed Malaysia - united, confident, moral, ethical, democratic, liberal and tolerant, caring, economically just and equitable, progressive and prosperous and in full possession of an economy that is competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient - ended without any national notice.

The magnitude of the failure to achieve Vision 2020 can be gauged from the failure to achieve the nine central strategic challenges by the year 2020, viz:

  1. Establishing a united Malaysian nation made up of one Bangsa Malaysia.
  2. Creating a psychologically liberated, secure and developed Malaysian society.
  3. Fostering and developing a mature democratic society.
  4. Establishing a fully moral and ethical society.
  5. Establishing a matured liberal and tolerant society.
  6. Establishing a scientific and progressive society.
  7. Establishing a fully caring society.
  8. Ensuring an economically just society, in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation.
  9. Establishing a prosperous society with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.

Recently, Malaysia was inundated by a lot of negativities - hate, lies, falsehood and baseless fear, creating distrust and animosity among diverse races, religions and cultures which meet in confluence in Malaysia.

Malaysia needs more positivities and we must move away from the politics of hate, lies, falsehoods and fear which are not only against the teachings of the great religions and civilisations which have made Malaysia their home, but are the very reasons why we have not lived up to the vision of Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, to be “a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world”.

The Malaysian Constitution and the Rukun Negara set out the basis for a united and great Malaysian nation, and the challenge facing Malaysians is whether we can succeed in nation building welding the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures that have made Malaysia their home to become a model of an united, tolerant, successful, progressive and prosperous plural entity in a complex and plural world.

Our greatest challenge in a New Malaysia is how to reach out to the Malays living in a completely Malay world, Chinese living in a completely Chinese world, Indians living in a completely Indian world, Kadazans living in a completely Kadazan world, Ibans living in a completely Iban world, to share with them a larger Malaysian picture and perspective – the ideal that this beloved Malaysian nation belongs to all ethnic groups in Malaysia and that we have a shared destiny.

We Malaysians have multiple identities – ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural – but we share one common overriding identity as a Malaysian.

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.

Can this spirit of oneness as Malaysians transcending race, religion, region or party politics prevail in our country so that we are not distracted from our Malaysian Dream to build a world-class great Malaysia for all Malaysians?

How do we nurture the bond of oneness among Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or even party politics and stop the toxic rise of intolerance, bigotry and extremism in our plural society through lies, fake news , false information, hate and fear?

Why can’t plural Malaysia with our diversities of race, language, religion and culture be one of the top nations in the world in interfaith dialogue, understanding and tolerance?

At the end of Vision 2020, we were haunted by the controversy whether Muslims can wish their Christian friends ‘’Merry Christmas”, while the new Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs, Yaqut Cholil Quomas, wished Christians “Merry Christmas”, visited a Christian Church and sent a message to all Indonesian religious communities “to make religion a source of inspiration, a source of peace and to spread mutual love”.

Last month, Indonesia instituted its first Hindu university in the country in Denpasar, Bali. On January 31, Indonesian President Widodo signed the decree for the new university named after Gusti Bagus Sugriwa, a famous religious, education and community leader of the country – signifying the strength of pluralism in Indonesia where all can contribute to the development of the whole.

The United Arab Emirate declared 2019 to be a national “Year of Tolerance” for various faiths in the country, and in 2017, created the world’s first Ministry of Tolerance.

There is a global Islamicity Index developed by two Muslim scholars, where even the best-performing Muslim-majority countries in the human rights and political category performed poorly when compared to the rest of the world.

Overall, the top score of performing countries are led by New Zealand and the Scandinavian countries while the bottom were all Muslim-majority countries – Yemen, Sudan and Chad.

We are reminded of what the renowned Egyptian Muslim scholar, Muhamad Abdul uttered over a century ago: “I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but no Islam”.

Malaysia needs a new national consensus to return to the quest to become a world-class great nation and stop the country from hurtling towards the abyss of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state.

Since 1970, the GDP of Malaysia has increased 90 times but Indonesia has increased by 117 times, Vietnam 122 times, China 163 times, Singapore 175 times and South Korea 178 times.

After the past 50 years, both Singapore and Vietnam have overtaken Malaysia in having larger GDPs.

There are views that Malaysia is less attractive as a country of investment than even Indonesia because like Singapore and Vietnam, Indonesia is politically stable, resourceful, the government is pro-business and they offer economic incentives for businesses.

Is Malaysia losing out to these countries in creating a workforce with technology know-how, political maturity and stability, racial harmony, the rule of law, control of corruption and government effectiveness?

We must never cease to hope or to succumb to despondency and despair.

While the massive and deep-rooted nature and scale of the legacy of the previous Barisan Nasional government had prevented the Pakatan Harapan government from immediately and fully implementing its pledges and promises before its toppling after only 22 months, the need for institutional reforms are abundantly clear and there must be no turning back to the kleptocracy, injustices and repression of the past.

Let us end the irresponsible spread of lies, fake news and hate speech where many old videos, WhatsApp messages and items had been dug up and regurgitated to, among other things, to launch an attack on the DAP as the “komunis moden in Malaysia”, as for instance, that I came from “Funan”, China when I was 16 years old.

It was a downright lie that I came from Funan to Malaya in 1957 when I was 16 years old. In the first place, Funan is in Cambodia and not China although there is a Funan county in the Anhui province in Eastern China.

I was born in Batu Pahat and went to school there.

Instead of wasting our national energies on lies, fake news and hate speech, let Malaysians rise as one united people to demonstrate our commitment and resolve to transform Malaysia into a world-class nation of unity, justice, freedom, excellence and integrity which is a show-case to the world that we are a success story of the Alliance of Civilisations as the confluence of the great Malay/Islamic, Chinese, Indian and Western Civilisations instead of being a basket-case of a failure as a result of the Clash of Civilisations.

Let us unite to resolve the grave problems of poverty and gross inequality in Malaysia which were supposed to resolved by the New Economic Policy.

Malaysians must make a new start – to unite the energies and resources of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion and region, to pull Malaysia up by the bootstraps to be a world-class nation in as many fields of human endeavour as possible.

The immediate rallying of public support for Malaysiakini in its conviction for contempt of court and a prohibitive fine of RM 500,000 in a few hours is a great sign that the dream for a more open, just and free society in Malaysia where there is freedom of expression, accountability and transparency, ethics and public integrity, is not dead but is still very much alive in the country.

Malaysians must dare to dream big dreams for Malaysia to be a world-class great nation.

When I started on my political journey 55 years ago, I was 25 years old. DAP was a youthful political party as we had three Members of Parliament below 30 years old elected in the 1969 general elections.

We had no need for a youth section at the beginning of DAP for we began basically as a party of youths. We must remain a party representing youths as Malaysians between the 15 – 40 age group exceed 40 per cent of the population.

What sustained us was not the possibility of becoming a State Assembly man or woman, a Member of Parliament, the formation of State or national governments but our idealism and our common dream for Malaysia to become a world-class great nation, an example to the world of interfaith dialogue, understanding and tolerance, and in the words of Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, “a beacon of light in a difficult and distracted world”.

This is why I take enormous pride in the event in Malacca today where we can subordinate the differences and divisions among us in Malacca DAP for the larger national picture – for the sake of the party and the nation.

There is a lot of despair, despondency, negativities about the future of Malaysia – that we are heading inexorably towards a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state.

We must reunite, reunify and re-inspire Malaysians that Malaysia is capable of better things – that while separately, all citizens, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Iban or Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs or Taoists, face the prospect of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state, a united Malaysian people with integrity and excellence, can avoid this fate and make Malaysia a world-class great nation.

I was first MP for Malacca town in 1969, 1974 and 1982.

Although there have been many changes in the past 55 years, for instance the 30 per cent of Malaysians who lived in urban areas in 1966 have increased to 76% in 2019, the objective of the DAP has remained constant and unchanging - that we can only build Malaysia as a world-class great nation if we unite the diverse people in Malaysia into one citizenry as Malaysians and that it is Malaysia, not any race or religion in the country, which faces an existential threat.

We will continue to have our separate identities as Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists, but we must be a Malaysian first and foremost.

It is understandable to regard ourselves as Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs,Taoists first and Malaysian second in the early decades of nationhood, but if we continue to subordinate our Malaysian identity and consciousness to other identities and consciousness, then it is a failure in Malaysian nation-building and nationhood.

That is why the DAP fielded 14 Malay candidates in Perak in the 1974 General Election in the party’s bid to capture power in Perak state, with Ibrahim Singgeh, Perak State Assemblyman for Tapah Road (1969-1974) announced as the DAP Mentri Besar-designate if the DAP was successful in winning power in Perak.

That is also why the DAP remained constant in our commitment to a peaceful, democratic and constitutional struggle to build a non-communist, social democratic Malaysia which is a world-class great nation in various fields of human endeavour.

I am proud that Malacca is starting a new political venture to reunite, reunify and re-inspire Malaysians inside and outside DAP that the Dream for Malaysia to become a world-class great nation is very much alive.

We must invest all available resources and energies to ensure that the Malaysian Dream to be a world-class great nation can succeed with the unity, effort and commitment of all Malaysians.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri