It was exactly 30 years ago that I moved from Kota Melaka parliamentary seat to Penang to contest in Tanjong constituency – the Battle of Tanjong of 1986 – against the incumbent Dr. Koh Tsu Koon who was to become the Penang Chief Minister for four terms spanning 18 years from 1990 to 2008.
DAP comrades in Penang had in fact suggested in early seventies that I move to Penang to lead the DAP charge to make Penang the “engine head” for political change in Malaysia, and although this suggestion was made at every subsequent general election, I had not agreed to the move from “south to north” until the 1986 general election.
Although the subsequent “Battles of Tanjong 2 and Tanjong 3” in 1990 and 1995 did not succeed in DAP capturing the Penang State Government, this objective was finally achieved in the 2008 and 2013 General Elections, and it is my hope that Penang will not only continue to be the seat of DAP-led Penang State Government, but the base for the achievement of federal change of government in Putrajaya in the next 14th General Election.
Although the DAP is now celebrating our 50th anniversary, I believe that the DAP’s most important and challenging tests are not in the past 50 years, but in the next 20 to 30 years.
We want the DAP message of justice, freedom, good governance and national unity not just to ring loud and clear in Penang but throughout Malaysia, in Peninsula Malaysia as well as in Sarawak and Sabah.
DAP is in the throes of an important transition, and we must be guided by two challenging objectives and principles.
Firstly, DAP started as a party for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region. We never wanted to be a Chinese, non-Malay, Penang or Peninsular party.
We are the party of choice in the urban areas, whether in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak or Sabah, but we must not lose sight of our founding party principle to be a Malaysian party for all Malaysian citizens, regardless of race, religion or region.
Our first challenge is to undergo the transition from an urban-based political party representing the urbanites into a truly Malaysian party representing all Malaysian citizens regardless of race, religion or region, whether in the urban or rural areas.
Our second challenge is the recognition of the reality that for the foreseeable future in the next two decades, the DAP will not be able on its own to form the Federal Government, not even a state government, without being part of a multi-racial and multi-religious political coalition.
We must cut our coat according to our cloth and manage our political development and transition in line with these two principles.
This is why DAP has embarked on the journey of the Malaysian Dream – Impian Malaysia, Impian Sarawak, Impian Sabah, Impian Kelantan, Impian Kedah/Perlis, Impian Perak and Impian Johor and pledged support for the Pakatan Harapan coalition.
This is also why next month, I will be visiting some 20 parliamentary constituencies in Kedah, Perlis, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan as part of the nation-wide “Mana RM2.6 billion?” conscientisation campaign – mooted after my six-month suspension from Parliament for basically demanding full accountability from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak for his RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals.
As a result of my six-month suspension, I will not be able to attend the March/April meeting of Parliament starting on 7th March, where Najib’s twin mega scandals will again haunt and dominate the parliamentary session – proving that the Prime Minister cannot be more wrong when he claimed during his 2016 New Year message on 31st December 2015 that the twin mega scandals were no more issues this year, having been resolved and “buried”!
It is indeed strange and odd that while Najib is denouncing news portals and “keyboard warriors and cybertroopers” for “unhealthy practices of journalism” to justify the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) blockade of the news portal, The Malaysian Insider, the UMNO cybertroopers are at the same time launching a relentless cyberoffensive of lies and falsehoods against the opponents of UMNO/Barisan Nasional.
Yesterday, it was a merciless attack on DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng alleging that he had become Malaysia’s 22nd richest person worth RM2.87 billion – which was a downright lie in the league of previous lies by UMNO cybertroopers like the alleged RM1.2 billion Israeli donation to DAP in exchange for an Israeli naval base in Port Dickson, the purported DAP resolution to make Malaysia a “Christian state” or that I had been in Kuala Lumpur and led illegal “victory” street processions hurling anti-Malay abuses which provoked the May 13, 1969 riots when I was never in Kuala Lumpur after the May 1969 general elections and was in Kota Kinabalu on May 13, 1969.
Today, there is a new cyberoffensive of lies against me and DAP leaders.
This is in the form of a chart under the heading “Keluarga Komunis Malaysia” purportedly to show that the former MCP Secretary-General Chin Peng, the former PAP Secretary-General and Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew and I were cousins, and that such ties of related kinship involved other DAP leaders like Teresa Kok, Ngeh Koo Ham, Nga Kor Ming, Anthony Loke, Tony Pua and of course Lim Guan Eng.
There is absolutely no truth to such lies by the UMNO cybertroopers, but it betrays a certain “desperation” and “political bankruptcy” by Najib and his cybertroopers that they have to stoop to such wild lies and base tactics to demonise their opponents.
Such lies and falsehoods, whether by UMNO cybertroopers or propagandists, appear to be set to intensify in the coming days and weeks.
For this reason, Malaysians should be more discerning to be able to differentiate truth from lies on the social media and the Internet.
[Speech (2) at the Penang DAP Dinner to jointly celebrate DAP’s 50th Anniversary and Lim Kit Siang’s 75th Birthday at Hang Chiang School Hall, Penang on Sunday, 28th February 2016 at 10 pm]