There are those who forecast that with the PAS Muktamar resolution to cut off relations with DAP spelling the end of the seven-year-old Pakatan Rakyat, DAP will become a narrow-minded Chinese or non-Malay political party.
They cannot be more wrong. Firstly, DAP had never aspired to be a Chinese or non-Malay party. Right from the beginning during DAP’s formation in 1966, DAP had pledged itself to pursue a Malaysian Dream, not a Chinese Dream, an Indian Dream or a Malay Dream.
This is why DAP is the first political party in the country to be Pan-Malaysian, establishing branches in Sarawak and Sabah before any other political party in the country.
All through the past five decades, DAP had been accused of being anti-Malay and anti-Islam by UMNO, because of UMNO fear that the DAP will be able to make inroads into UMNO spheres of influence with our Malaysian political appeal, transcending race, religion or region.
No political party seeking support from all Malaysians can be anti-Malay or anti-Islam, or for that matter, anti-Chinese, anti-Indian, anti-Dayak, anti-Kadazandusun or anti-Buddhism, anti-Christianity, anti-Hindiuism or anti-Sikkhism.
The battle against such lies and falsehoods had been a particularly uphill battle for the DAP because we had to face the full onslaught of the UMNO juggernaut with its control and ownership of the mass media, particularly in the era before the advent of Internet, the Internet news portals and the social media.
However difficult the terrain, DAP had never wavered from our objectives and principles that the DAP had been formed not to fight for any one race but for all races and Malaysians in the country!
This is why right from the beginning, starting from the first general election in 1969 contested by the DAP, the party had always put up a multi-racial and multi-religious slate of candidates.
In fact, in the 1969 general elections, two Malay State Assemblymen were elected, one in Perak and the other in Negri Sembilan. In the past 11 general elections, DAP had elected Malay Members of Parliament and State Assembly representatives in Peninsular Malaysia.
In the 2013 General Elections, we elected a Kadazan State Assemblyman in Sabah and we look forward to the election of the first Dayak State Assembly representative in the forthcoming Sarawak state general elections.
As in the 1969 general election, DAP has now more Indian MPs than MIC. It is because of the DAP that there is an Indian Deputy Chief Minister in Penang and the first Indian Speaker in the Perak State Assembly after the 2008 General Election.
All these precedents and breakthroughs are testimony that DAP had never aspired to be a Chinese or non-Malay party and in the post-Pakatan Rakyat scenario, we will double up in our resolve to be a fully Malaysian party strengthening our Malay, Dayak and Kadazandusun membership and support in keeping with our Malaysian ideals and aspirations.
This is why we have Impian Sabah, Impian Sarawak, Impian Kelantan and we have recently announced Impian Kedah/Perlis, all of which are born out of the conviction that we are all Malaysians and that the country cannot be developed, progressive and prosperous if there is any state where the people are poor and backward and that all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region, are entitled to the full development of their potentials and rights.
I have always regarded myself as a Malaysian first and Chinese second.
I believe that in the sixth decade of our nationhood, there are more and more Malaysians with such an outlook and commitment – who are Malaysians first, and Chinese, Malays, Indians, Kadazandusun and Ibans second.
This is the stuff that Impian Malaysia, whether Impian Sabah, Impian Sarawak, Impian Kelantan or Impian Kedah/Perlis, are made of!
The two political coalitions in the country are in throes of great flux and even chaos.
Pakatan Rakyat is no more as the result of a new PAS leadership which finds the siren call of a Unity Government between UMNO and PAS to protect Malay interests more appealing than keeping faith with the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework.
But the principles and goals of the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework extends beyond political party walls.
On the other side of the political spectrum, the Umno/Barisan Nasional under the leadership of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is on its last legs.
Many UMNO/BN leaders do not have confidence that they can survive as the Federal government in the next general elections because of the slew of political and socio-economic scandals piling one after another – the most serious of which is undoubtedly the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal.
Even the “brain-washing” headquarters of the UMNO/BN coalition government, the Biro Tatanegara in the Prime Minister’s Department, has a very bleak and gloomy forecast for the future of Barisan Nasional, which is why its recent teaching module sought to get public feed on the state of terminal health of Barisan Nasional, whether the BN coalition is in (i) Wad Biasa; (ii) Wad Kecemasan; (iii) ICU or (iv) Tanah Kubur.
It is significant that even Biro Tatanegara, which costs Malaysian taxpayers over RM 1.1 billion in the past three decades to maintain and upkeep of some 300 staff – does not think Barisan Nasional is any good state of health at all!
There are at present three political realities we must grasp if we are to be ahead of political developments in the present stormy waters:
Firstly, that no single race or one political party can govern this country, as it is through inter-racial, inter-religious and inter-party co-operation – as equals and not between superior and subordinates – that Malaysia can become a successful model of plural society which is progressive and prosperous not only to the world but also to the Middle East.
Secondly, that although Pakatan Rakyat is no more, the hopes and aspirations of Malaysians as encapsulated in the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework principle and policies of national unity, justice, progress and prosperity remain valid, relevant and achievable in the 14th General Election and must remain the objective and goal of all Malaysians.
Thirdly, that what the country needs today is for Malaysians, whether political parties, organizations or individuals – and most important of all, the Federal and State Governments, to have a more inclusive outlook and commitment which tolerate and accept the role and contribution of all races, religions, regions and groups; and not a narrow bigoted, sectarian and exclusive outlook, promoted by the mistaken concepts of master race or master religion.
These are the three principles which can save Malaysia, which has clearly lost its direction in Malaysian nation-building in the past three decades, now mired by corruption, abuses of power and lack of accountability, transparency and good governance.
(Speech at the forum on “Can Najib or 1MDB Survive” at Wisma Teng Chen, Klang on Tuesday, 23rd June 2015 at 9.30 pm)