Middle-ground politics only way to stave off racial and religious woes, says Guan Eng

Lim said DAP has constantly been at the forefront as a multiracial party fighting for the well-being and welfare of all Malaysians. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Lim said DAP has constantly been at the forefront as a multiracial party fighting for the well-being and welfare of all Malaysians. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party must do its best to cement a Malaysian middle ground that will prevent those obsessed with racial conflict and religious confrontation from destroying the nation.

Referring to DAP’s upcoming 55th anniversary on March 18, he said the politics of dominance and hegemony is no longer viable, and only the politics of inclusiveness can sustain a genuine political partnership based on empathy, mutual respect and trust.

“We celebrate our anniversary as a principled, progressive and policy-driven political movement contributing towards building a united, fair, free and prosperous Malaysia,” Lim said in a statement.

The Bagan MP said the party managed to transform itself from a perennial and effective Opposition party into a performing party, succeeding in forging a united coalition despite many obstacles.

“Building political cooperation is not easy in a multiethnic and multicultural society. Nation-building requires coalition collaboration.

“In reality no single party can win alone, nor can any party win without gaining support across ethnic lines. Together with our allies who share similar ideals of democracy and justice, we can build this nation together,” he said.

Highlighting the anniversary’s theme of ‘Democracy, Justice, Caring: Muhibah’, Lim said DAP has constantly been at the forefront as a multiracial party fighting for the well-being and welfare of all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazandusuns, Ibans or Orang Asli.

“We recognise the value of working together with allies who share compatible core beliefs, a commitment to reform and to consolidate democracy, as well as recognising that the politics of multiracialism is the only way forward. History was created on May 9, 2018.

“Alas, treachery, betrayal and money politics ended the Pakatan Harapan government abruptly after only 22 months in power. Yet this narrative of change and reform is far from over,” he said.

Lim listed several aspects which he said DAP has been focusing on for some time, including its demand for Sabah and Sarawak to be given more powers and responsibilities according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and to decide on how to improve the lives of ordinary Sabahans and Sarawakians.

“We should place the agenda of economic growth, increasing real wages and job creation as a priority, and the government should be the catalyst to drive this agenda. Fundamentally the only way to rescue the economy is to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Increasing fiscal spending is necessary during the pandemic and economic recession.  An additional RM45 billion economic stimulus package encompassing automatic and unconditional extension of bank loan moratorium, increase of monthly welfare aid to RM1,000 including the unemployed, provide rental and utilities’ subsidies, extend loan credits and grants,” he said.

The former finance minister said the party is committed to upholding the Federal Constitution and dedicated to the task of constructive nation-building.

“Malaysia is a nation united with its citizens sharing a sense of belonging and ownership, enjoying equal opportunities, freedom from fear and poverty.

“It is also a functioning democracy that respects the dignity and fundamental rights of every citizen by giving hope for the young that their future will be protected and not stolen; rewards those who work hard and promote a culture of excellence; ensures peace, law and order as an undeniable right and not a privilege,” Lim said.

He added DAP’s most cherished dream is to see Malaysians with multiple ethnic, religious, linguistic, and cultural identities possess one common overriding national consciousness and identity as Malaysian First.

“We must give hope to Malaysians, that if we can mobilise solidarity in the name and spirit of Muhibah, we can defeat not just the pandemic but also social ills such as corruption, abuse of power and discrimination that plagues us, and build a better Malaysia,” Lim said.

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