Take ‘Middle Malaysia’ route to Putrajaya
Amidst a gloomy backdrop of intensified religious and racial bickering, DAP has mapped out the path of ‘Middle Malaysia’ which the party hopes Pakatan Rakyat would ride on towards the ultimate destination – Putrajaya.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng told delegates at the party 15th national conference in Ipoh today that the nation was “at war with itself” and the way forward is by threading the middle path of inclusiveness, equal opportunities and ending discrimination.
“We must occupy the electoral centre that is diverse and united, moderate and sensible, consistent and relevant to ordinary Malaysians. We must become ‘Middle Malaysia’,” he thundered to some 1,200 delegates.
“‘Middle Malaysia’ belongs to every Malaysian. Unlike Umno’s Malaysia, in ‘Middle Malaysia’ the content of our character is more important than the colour of our skin.
“Unlike Barisan Nasional’s Malaysia, in ‘Middle Malaysia’ we look at each other as brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers and as sons and daughters of Malaysia,” he said.
“Unlike ‘Crony Malaysia’, ‘Middle Malaysia’ respects and celebrates you with the firm belief that Malaysia’s wealth, opportunities and resources belong to all Malaysians,” he added.
Lim’s speech comes at a time when the nation is reeling from recent arson and vandalism attacks against numerous places of worships, mostly churches, over the rights of non-Muslims to the word ‘Allah’.
DAP has also found itself the target of those who paint the party as a Chinese chauvinist establishment out to erode the special privileges of the Malays and undermine Islam, the national religion.
DAP can’t do it alone
Currently, the party is half-way through its term as coalition governments in Penang and Selangor and the new slogan by Lim is viewed as DAP’s new direction as it gears up for the polls.
Previously, the party advocated its Malaysian Malaysia concept that stressed on equality for all, which dominated party ideology since its inception in the late 1960s, but was received with suspicion and opposition from the Malay masses.
While advancing ‘Middle Malaysia’, Lim took potshots at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s 1Malaysia theme, which he said had divided the nation further.
In contrast, the Penang chief minister lauded Pakatan allies PAS and PKR for their position on the Allah controversy.
“This is what Pakatan’s ‘Middle Malaysia’ is all about, both tolerant and mutual respect as compared to BN’s ‘Extremist Malaysia’ that frightens everyone with intolerance and fear,” he said.
Citing an example of DAP’s inclusiveness, Lim noted that the Penang government which the party leads has increased state funding for Islam related matters two-fold to RM24.3 million in the 2010 Budget, compared to what BN allocated in 2008.
To further castigate the 1Malaysia concept, Lim cited the government’s handling of the Teoh Beng Hock case as well as the Perak takeover in February 2009.
Middle Malaysians matter most
While listing down many achievements by Pakatan state governments, Lim noted that DAP’s fortunes are dependent on the ability of all three coalition partners to move as one and advance the common policy framework launched last month.
“Remember that DAP will never win alone. We nearly won all the seats in Negeri Sembilan but still unable to govern. We need to win as a coalition, as a full partner in power together.
“It goes without saying that we would expect our coalition partners to understand our platforms and build and expand our common grounds,” he said.
In his speech, Lim repeatedly stressed that Pakatan’ focus should be to capture the ‘Middle Malaysian’ vote as it matters most to what he terms as a “second round of nation building”.
“It is crucial to note that there is only one middle ground in Malaysian politics, and it is the middle ground that matters. Make no mistake that ‘Middle Malaysia’ will decide which coalition governs next.
“To embrace ‘Middle Malaysia’, Pakatan must be seen as moderate, inclusive and distance and differentiate ourselves from our exclusive, racist and extremist opponents,” he said.