In 1998, when I assumed the Chairmanship of DAP Perak, DAP Perak was at its ebb low with only 1 assemblyman for the Sitiawan Constituency and not a single member of parliament for the whole State of Perak. Sense of despair was every where and at the national level they were even voices suggesting disbanding the DAP. The frustration was that despite our sacrifices the people have rejected us. However, we must admit that at the Perak State level our poor electrol performance in 1995 was also contributed by the factional problems in DAP Perak.
The last 13 years since 1995 General Election have not been an easy one but we persevered because we believe the DAP social democratic principles and the values that DAP members held on to are more noble than the racial politics practised by BN.
Our perseverance paid off on the 8 March 2008 General Election which saw DAP becoming part of the ruling Governments of the States of Penang, Perak and Selangor. Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties won 5 States namely, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan. PR can be said to have worn 6 States because out of 11 parliamentary seats in Federal Teritories PR won 10 seats.
The need to have a new mind set
Having given us the mandate, the people have high expectation of us to deliver and perform better than BN. We must not disappointed them. If we are proven to be worthy, the next General Election will see the Federal Government falling into the hands of the PR. The village committees, the local governments and the State Government under PR must perform. Party members must now have a new mind set. While in the past we want to be an effective opposition which we must continue to do at the Federal level, we must now be clear of our objectives as part of the ruling coalition in the state governments.
As a Government, we must see to it that the basic needs of the people i.e food, clothings, lodging and transportation are met. People wants to see that health care and education are accessible to all. Although health care and education are under the BN Federal Government’s jurisdiction, with the increase number of PR MPs to 83, we must ensure that the Federal Government does not privatize these two areas of service and leaving the responsibility of these 2 services to the private sector.
In all other aspects equal opportunity shall be our guiding principle. In this regard, the poor, the disabled, the single mothers, orphans, the natives and other less fortunate groups will be helped to ensure that they will be able to compete with others thereby giving them equal opportunity in our society.
Cooperation with other PR parties in Perak
I must say that the DAP Perak’s relationship with other PR parties namely PKR and PAS in Perak is excellent. If in the past we have doubts and fear about PAS, the Menteri Besar of Perak who is from PAS has proven to be an excellent leader in holding the view that the different races in the state can be united and come together if we subscribe to the universal values that we as a human race subscribe to.
Therefore, the DAP Perak fully supports the Perak State Government’s 5 principles of governance irrespective of race, religion or political affiliation. The 5 principles are justice (keadilan), effectiveness (kewibawaan), transparency (ketulusan), trustworthiness (amanah) and welfare (kebajikan).
The Way forward
DAP Perak must move forward and the new DAP Perak committee must look into the following aspects to strengthen the party.
(i) Self sustaining
We must generate income to sustain our political work. Members are encouraged to be involved in economic activities like setting up DAPUR (DAP shops), raising funds to purchase commercial building or such other economic activities to generate income.
(ii) Expand our influence
We would like to see that in each of the 59 state constituencies in the state, there will be a presence of DAP. Though we may not be contesting many of the seats, we will be an influence to help other PR parties to win in electrol elections. Through these branches we can also help to serve the people. We hope to increase our present 56 branches to 150 branches by 2010. This will surpass the highest number of branches in DAP Perak’s history.
(iii) Web TV
Due to the limited space and sometimes biased reporting by the main stream media, we would like to see a DAP web TV established by DAP or by DAP Perak in the near future.
(iv) Increasing human capital
Many have shown a keen interest in DAP after the 8 Mac 2008 general as they see hope in DAP. We hope more people will be willing to invest their time, energy and expertise in DAP so that DAP can serve the public more effectively. We welcome all who are willing to sacrifice and serve.
(v) Attracting more Malays and Natives to join the DAP
Due to the propaganda in the past by UMNO, many Malays have shied away from the DAP. After the formation of Barisan Alternatif in 1999 General Election and Pakatan Rakyat in 2004 General Election, more Malays have now come to accept the DAP. A few branches with members mainly from the Malay community will be formed soon. We hope to see more Malays joining the party to truly reflect the multi-racial nature of our party. We hope also to see more Orang Aslis join our party so that we may be able to extend our service to them and more effectively represent this community.
(vi) Sunshine projects
Our Sunshine projects have received praise from the public. Our social works in helping the less fortunate was one of the ways that have endeared us to the public. We must continue this good work.
Election of DAP Perak State Committee
It is my hope that the delegates today will vote in a committee based on the merits of each candidate. The delegates must never allow factional voting based on envy, jealousy or hatred but to vote in people who are willing to sacrifice to serve the party and the people. The ghost of factionalism that exists prior to the 1995 General Election which saw us almost wiped out must never be allowed to return.
SDR NGEH KOO HAM