Completing The Economic, Political And Ethical Transformation Of Penang Into An International City That Serves As An Enduring Symbol Of Hope And Optimism For The Nation – That Even During The Bleakest Of Times, People Have Faith In The Future.
We meet in a spirit of hope. For the first time in a generation, it is the BN that appears lost and disillusioned. From marginalised opposition parties, DAP have finally attained our objective of becoming a full partner in government with our allies PKR and PAS in Pakatan Rakyat.
Let me congratulate everyone of you, especially the members who worked tirelessly without any expectations of reward for making history possible. This people’s victory belongs to you. We have won the last general elections for three reasons:-
• Discipline and a shared purpose towards realising our vision of transforming Penang into a dynamic state that leads again based on public integrity, competency and an ethical leadership;
• Intellectual confidence in offering new ideas based on principles, innovations and sound logic; and
• A common purpose of realising a people-centric government that can win over detractors, fence-sitters and skeptics that we can rule as a democracy based on the principles of justice, freedom, truth, social welfare and universal values.
DAP has the ideas, ideals and imagination that has inspired the electorate to vote and gave us and Pakatan Rakyat a resounding 2/3 majority in the last general elections by winning 29 out of 40 seats with DAP winning all our seats and increasing from one to 19 state seats. Our ideas of civil liberties and political equality, ideals of socio-economic justice and equal opportunities and imagination of empowering all through democracy and integrity has captivated and inspired Malaysians especially the young.
In contrast BN, UMNO MCA and Gerakan suffer from AIDs – Acquired Intellectual Ideals, Ideas and Imagination Deficit syndrome. For the past 50 years BN has exploited racial extremism to win votes where only the ruling BN elites from UMNO, MCA and MIC dominate.
They have still not learnt the lessons of the political tsunami of March 8 by continuously exploiting racial and religious issues to divide Malaysians to distract attention from their failures of governance or stopping corruption. After the March 8 general elections, not only was there no action against mismanagement but there were 3 new scandals.
The three scandals amounting to RM 23.7 billion have deprived much needed funds for infrastructure works such as drainage to prevent flash floods of for social programs that uplift living standards and wipe out poverty in Malaysia includes:
1. Maybank’s overpriced RM 10.8 billion purchase of two distressed foreign banks at twice their present value – the RM 8 billion acquisition of Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) and RM 2.8 billion purchase of a 20% stake in Pakistan’s MBC Bank;
2. RM 1.6 billion purchase of 12 Eurocopter’s Cougar helicopters without conducting any test flights; and
3. RM 11.3 billion for the High Speed Broadband (HSBP) project without open tender.
Witness the vicious racial attacks by UMNO against the Penang State government’s decision to put road signs in other languages IN ADDITION to Bahasa Malaysia in the Georgetown heritage area. Let no one doubt that DAP respects and upholds Bahasa Malaysia as the official language and has even amended our party constitution in 2006 to reflect this official status.
UMNO and BN should open up their eyes and see that big nations such as China have other languages on their road signs. Even our own international airport has other languages. Stop behaving like a “katak di bawah tempurung” as we can not survive and compete internationally as a closed society.
Why is UMNO making so much noise when Bahasa Malaysia is not replaced in Penang but fails to act when Science and Mathematics are no longer taught in Bahasa Malaysia but replaced by English? Such is the hypocrisy of BN and UMNO. Clearly when Malaysians are united, BN is weak. Only when Malaysians are divided can BN be strong again.
BN, UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC have no principles apart from clinging and grabbing power for their own private benefit. Their time is up; their philosophy done and their experiment is over.
Our time has come to implement our philosophy of good governance that makes our life rich and society more beautiful. Let us restate our Vision, Mission Statement and Core Values for Penang:-
Transform Penang into an international city and state that is the location of choice for investors, destination of choice for tourists and habitat of choice for Malaysians desiring sustainable living.
Sustainable living simply means that the manner that we use resources today preserves the resources we’ll need tomorrow.
Establishing a “people-centric” government that practises good governance through CAT – Competency, Accountability and Transparency that not only creates prosperity but is shared equitably with the rakyat.
• Competency ensures effective and efficient delivery which requires us to choose the best so that we can be on top of the rest;
• Accountability conforms with a healthy democratic culture that builds participation, consultation and responsibility into the decision-making mechanism;
• Transparency promotes integrity and fights corruption whereby decision making is done in an open manner subject to public scrutiny and oversight.
Adopting an ethical and moral leadership that professes and gives faith, hope and love; where
• the people must have faith that the government is there to help and not harm them;
• the government must give hope to the young that there is a bright future with equal opportunities, level playing field and social justice; and
• the government must show love for the people based on human dignity, compassion and a caring society.
Upon taking power we have emphasised that we will be a people-centric and an investor-friendly government. We have cancelled parking and hawker summonses, ensure that emergency aid for disaster relief must be given within 24 hours, stopped BN crony projects like the Penang Global City Centre, save government expenditures, given aid to schools and the poor and making wiping out hard-core poverty in one year what BN can not do in 50 years one of our top priorities.
For investors we have demonstrated that we are committed to efficient and effective delivery, reduced red tape by allowing industries to “build first, approve later” and run a clean administration with open tenders.
We are committed towards a culture of excellence and fully developing our human resources to make “Penang Leads” again. At the same time we have also placed our feet firmly in the future with our Penang free wireless effort by making Penang the first wifi state in two years with wireless free and wimax at affordable prices.
Foreign investment has exceeded last year’s levels and apart from the USD100 million investment in a golf course in Batu Kawan by Koreans, I will be announcing a new investment on Tuesday by a branded American company. There can be no greater vote of confidence in the new state government and Penang’s future than by attracting more foreign investments in the midst of a global financial crisis.
The task before us is huge. We need to transform Penang economically by moving up the value chain, mastering new technology and ability to compete internationally. We need to transform Penang politically where people have a voice and a share in the economic benefits. We need to transform Penang ethically to ensure good governance by leaders with integrity committed to fighting corruption.
We can only succeed if we believe in the people of Penang and the people of Penang believe in us. Penang’s success in becoming the Silicon Valley in Malaysia was built on the expertise, energy and entrepreneurship of it people. A government can only be as good as its people and we trust the expertise, energy and entrepreneurship of the people of Penang to help us in this transformation.
DAP and PR Penang state government is focused just not on physical development but also in values such as freedom, public integrity, justice, observing human rights and respect for the rule of law. We have faith that with our CAT governance and our values system will propel us forward to a better society for all.
Transforming Penang into an international city requires completing the triple transformation of economy, political and ethics. Let Penang be an enduring symbol of hope and optimism for the nation – that even during the bleakest of times, people have faith in the future.
(Opening Speech By DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng During The Penang DAP State Ordinary Convention In Tanjung Bungah Hotel, Penang On 2.11.2008.)