(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The new Perak DAP state leadership has made a very impressive start in developing a New DAP in Perak, creating new political hope and impulse among the people.
The DAP has to date held 18 economic crisis forum/ceramahs/dialogues throughout the country, and ten of them are held in Perak, three each in Penang and Malacca and one each in Selangor and Negri Sembilan.
Malaysians need information about the national economic crisis, which has entered into the seventh month, as the people are quite at a loss as to how the Malaysian tiger economy which has been described as of world-class economy, could be brought so low, so quick and so hard, without any forewarning whatsoever.
Up to now, apart from the DAP, the various political parties have not tried to fill the information vacuum by holding economic crisis forum/seminars/ceramahs to explain the nature of the crisis, prepare the people to face the the worst effects of the crisis which many analysts believe are yet to come, and to focus public attention and energies as to how the government, society and people can respond as one unit to tide through the economic crisis in the shortest time possible and with the minimum of avoidable pain, hardships and sufferings to the people.
The DAPís proactive programme to inform the people about the national economic crisis has forced other political parties to hold national economic crisis forums and seminars, like the one being organised by the MCA in Ipoh this Sunday.
I must commend Perak DAP for not only being the most active of all DAP States, but even being the most active of all political parties, both government and opposition, in undertaking a systematic programme to hold national economic crisis forums/seminars/ceramahs/dialogues on the national economic crisis.
All other DAP states should in fact emulate Perak DAP leadership in its innovative approach to the challenge to create a New DAP, which is not a question of differences between the old-guards and the young blood in the party, but a state of mind, regardless of party or physical age, to be able to face up to the new challenges of the Malaysian society entering the new millennium by using new approaches and mind-sets.
I visited Sitiawan last weekend and met some of the "18 Immortals" who founded the first Sitiawan DAP Branch in Pekan Gurney some 30 years ago. I paid tribute to the dedication and commitment of the Sitiawan "18 Immortals" whose conviction, idealism and foresight laid the basis for the establishment of the DAP in Sitiawan - and Sitiawan together with Malacca were the only two areas which have consistently elected the DAP in the past 28 years through seven general elections, whatever the ups and downs the party had gone through in the past three decades.
I said in Sitiawan that I would like to see the surviving "18 Immortals" who founded the Sitiawan DAP 30 years ago to be able to be among the "18 Immortals" to lay the basis for a New DAP in Sitiawan.
DAP is not divided into the Old DAP and the New DAP, for it is the objective of the entire DAP to be transformed into a New DAP, with a new mindset to meet the new challenges of a new era.