Sarawak DAP should find out the reasons for the poor performance in the Sarawak State general election but focus on preparing forthcoming 15th General Election which should be held this year

Sarawak DAP did poorly in the Sarawak state general election held last month.

I am disappointed with the results of the Sarawak state general elections as apart from Pandungan and Pending, I had expected DAP to win Kota Sentosa, Bukit Assek, Pelawan, Tanjong Batu and Pujut.

The Sarawak DAP should find out the reasons for the poor performance and the serious setback in the Sarawak state general election but even more important, focus on preparing for the forthcoming 15th General Election in Malaysia which should be held this year.

There are people who say that a new dawn has come to Sarawak with the passage of the 2021 Constitution Amendment Bill by the Dewan Rakyat four days before the Sarawak state general election, undoing the injustices of the 1976 Constitution Amendment Act which reduced Sarawak to one of the 13 Malaysian states when it was one of the three entities with Sabah and Malaya which formed Malaysia in 1963.

I do not agree. We want a new dawn for Sarawak, but a new dawn for Sarawak has not arrived yet. It is a work-in-progress. What happened in Parliament is only the first step to bring about a new dawn for Sarawak, after half-a-century of nightfall!

More will have to be done before the arrival of a new dawn in Sarawak.

Firstly, there cannot be a new dawn for Sarawak if there is there no new dawn for Malaysia.

When can a new dawn in Malaysia happen? Not in one or two years, even one or two decades, probably in more than three decades when we practise “Malaysian First” policy for the whole country, and “Sarawak First” policy for Sarawak!

I would like to call the political battle from 1957 – 2018 as “Battle One” which ended UMNO political hegemony which had turned Malaysia into a kleptocratic state.

“Battle Two” will be from 2018 to 2063 for Sarawak to have a new dawn and for Malaysia to become a world-class great nation by Malaysia’s 100th birthday anniversary in 2063.

The Sarawak general election on Dec. 18, 2021 is the opening shot for this Battle Two for Malaysia and Sarawak to become world-class entities.

I will not be around to see the outcome of “Battle of Malaysia II” in 2063, but I call on the youths of Sarawak to stand up and help lead the youths of Malaysia to ensure that the country can become a world-class great nation to ensure Sarawak can have a new dawn because Malaysia has got a new dawn!

Ever since the establishment of DAP in Sarawak in 1978 by the setting up of branches in Sarikei, Sibu and Kuching, Sarawak DAP has been waging a long-term struggle on two fronts – firstly to create a world-class Sarawak and secondly, to create a world-class Malaysia.

We met with earlier success in 1982 to send two Members of Parliament, representing Kuching and Sibu, to Parliament, but DAP Sarawak had to struggle for 18 years from 1978 to 1996 to get elected into the Sarawak State Assembly but the two objectives to create a world-class Sarawak and a world-class Malaysia are unfinished businesses.

There is considerable disappointment and unhappiness among the people with the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government, because the hopes and expectations were very high over the unprecedented success in toppling the seemingly invincible UMNO government of half-a-century.

But it is unfair to judge the Pakatan Harapan government in 22 months when it had been given a mandate for five years to implement its election manifesto.

I myself am not happy with the performance of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government as I believe that more could be done.

But the Pakatan Harapan was denied the opportunity to fulfil its election pledges – as the PH government could accelerate the fulfilment of the election pledges in the second half of its term if it had been slow in the first half-term.

Furthermore, it was not a DAP government alone, but a coalition of four political parties. It takes time to convince the other three political parties of the importance of implementing the Pakatan Harapan election pledges.

On top of that, there was sabotage and treachery within the Pakatan Harapan ranks which culminated in the Sheraton Move conspiracy in February 2020 which undemocratically and unconstitutionally toppled the popularly-elected PH government.

I can understand the frustrations and disappointments of the people that the Pakatan Harapan did not do more in the 22 months in power before it was undemocratically toppled.

But I disagree with those who suggest that the DAP should break away from the Pakatan Harapan Government without trying to make it work. We must persevere in our struggle to make a better Malaysia and a better Sarawak – not for our own sake, but for the sake of our children and children’s children.

This is why I had declined three times the offer of titles to me, for we are in politics not for the sake of ourselves but for a better future for our children and children’s children.

But we have made great progress although we have also suffered great setbacks.

Malaysians have not fully realised the historic significance of the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 when we ended the political hegemony of UMNO.

Now most people are wiser after the event and claimed they had expected the 14th general election result.

If you had asked me on the morning of May 9, 2018, I would say I never expected UMNO to be toppled that day.

According to Roman Bose’ insider account in his book (Tommy Thomas has described Roman Bose as Najib’s spin-doctor), Najib Razak never expected to be thrown out of office that day. In fact, up to the end of polling, Najib was expecting a restoration of UMNO’s political hegemony by winning two-thirds majority in Parliament that day.

The 14th General Election results produced a new political scenario seeking a new political equilibrium where the voices of the people matter in shaping the destiny of the nation resulting in the turmoil which saw four Prime Ministers in five years.

The lesson for Malaysians is to realise that a political struggle to make Sarawak and Malaysia world-class great entities is a long and arduous one and require perseverance and stamina for the long haul.

It has taken half-a-century to break UMNO political hegemony.

Will we need another half-a-century before Malaysia’s Centennial in 2063 for Sarawak and Malaysia to become world- class great entities?

Sarawakians together with like-minded Malaysians must be in forefront to mobilise Malaysians to spearhead the reset of national policies in the next half-a-century to bring about such institutional reforms so that Malaysia can be a world-class great nation.

We must not give in to hopelessness, dejection or despair. We have suffered great setbacks but we have achieved great strides.

Under the Merdeka compact 1957 and Malaysia Agreement 1963, Malaysia has only a future as a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation and not as a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Dayak land or as a Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Sikhist or Taoist country.

That is why there is the provision in the Malaysian Constitution that any Malaysian can be a Prime Minster of Malaysia, and the post is not exclusively only for a Malay or a Muslim.

There is of course the political reality, and even in the United States, it has taken more than 200 years for a black man to become the President of the United States and an ethnic Indian to become the Vice President of the United States.

I do not know whether it will take 200 or more years for a non-Malay to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia, but under the Merdeka and Malaysia compacts, any Malaysian can aspire to the highest political office in the land, whatever the political realities of the country.

This is problem not confined to Malaysia. In Sarawak, for instance, can a Dayak be Sarawak Chief Minister again, and when?

We must return to the forefront for Malaysians to be Malaysian first, and not Malay first, Chinese first, Indian first, Kadazan first or Dayak first.

For half-a-century, we have been in decline, overtaken by countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam.

We must be in the forefront that Malaysia buck up and cease to be a mediocre country or countries like Indonesia and Philippines will overtake us in the coming decades.

There is insufficient understanding of the historic significance of the confidence-supply-reform (CSR) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and the four Pakatan Harapan leaders on Sept. 13, 2021.

Critics have accused Pakatan Harapan leaders for ceasing to be Opposition leaders, that they have been co-opted by the government, saying that there was no CSR MoU for the past half-a-century.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

They failed to realise that it is the historic decision of the 14th General Election which ended the UMNO political hegemony which produced conditions for the CSR MoU, as in the past half-a-century UMNO was too strong and hegemonic to want to have a MoU.

It was because Ismail Sabri is the weakest Prime Minister in the nation’s history that produced the conditions that made the CSR MoU possible.

I agree with academician Edmund Terence Gomez that the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSCC) on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Office should open its proceedings on Wedn3esday to the public and media as it Is important to ensure that there is no attempt to cover up by ensuring the right questions are asked in the Azam Baki conflict-of-interest case.

But I doubt this is possible as the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders have not been amended to allow it and this is one of the missed opportunities of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government.

Before 2018, MPs can articulate but cannot implement but after 2018 and 2020, there is a possibility to put these parliamentary reforms into practice as suggested by the CSR MoU.

But I fully agree that we must not be the slaves of CSR MoU. If Ismail Sabri crossed “red lines” violating what is most decent and honest, then PH leaders must review the CSR MoU.

I understand there is one provision in the CSR MoU which the Ismail Sabri government wants to renege. If so, then I agree that there is no purpose in continuing with the CSR MoU.

(Speech by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang at the 2022 DAP Sarawak Sfate Covention in Kuching on Sunday, 16th January 2022)

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