(Sibu, Sunday): The Barisan Nasional parties are cranking up their general elections machinery in expectation of early general elections, which can even be held in October or November this year.
For the first time in Malaysian electoral history since Merdeka in 1957, there is now a conjunction of political forces and events which has made it possible for Malaysians to look forward to the possibility of denying the Barisan Nasional two-thirds parliamentary majority in the next general elections.
The Barisan Nasional won an unprecedented landslide victory in the 1995 general elections and now command five-sixth majority in Parliament, seriously weakening Opposition check-and-balance of the government. This is one important reason why the country is faced with multiple crises - whether economic, political, environmental, mass media or social.
The next general elections, therefore, is going to be a very challenging and exciting political milestone for the country.
I call on Sarawakians to join Malaysians in the rest of the country to bring about a major political change in the country by ensuring that the Barisan Nasional is denied the two-thirds majority in Parliament.
For Sarawak, I hope to see at least three DAP MPs from the state after
the next general elections, which would be more than two DAP MPs from Sarawak
in the 1982 and 1990 general elections.
In the sixties, seventies and eighties, the DAP was the natural champion of the new generation of Malaysians who want justice and fairplay in a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious society, where issues of language, education and culture are handled from the perspectives of a policy of integration rather than a policy of assimilation.
In the nineties, with the Barisan Nasional government's "minor liberalisation" in language, education and culture, these issues have lost their saliency, and other issues have come to the fore, like the economy (in particular the year-long economic crisis), democracy, human rights, women's rights, information technology, environment, education, labour, health, justice, corruption and good governance and leaders of the New DAP must master or be conversant with these subjects.
A New DAP is not about getting rid of "old leaders' or the first who should be eliminated would be the National Chairman, Dr. Chen Man Hin and the second myself, for both of us would be among the "oldest" party leaders.
What we want is to unite the ideals, experience and energies of the "old, middle-aged and young" to create a New DAP which can become the natural champion of the hopes and aspirations of the new generation of Malaysians.
A New DAP is not a repudiation of the DAP's political record of past three decades, which are all very proud, but an affirmation of our confidence and new role in the next three decades.