(Petaling Jaya, Monday): This media conference is to announce Fan Yew Tengís rejoining the DAP after leaving the party for 20 years.
At the Perak DAPís Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng forum in Ipoh on Saturday night, where Fan Yew Teng was a speaker, I had publicly invited Fan to return to the DAP to help create a new political scenario in Malaysia and for the cause of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
We had been comrade-in-arms in the DAP in the 60s and 70s in the battle for a Malaysian Malaysia. In fact, Fan exercised the powers of DAP Secretary-General even before me.
I was appointed the third DAP Secretary-General sometime in October 1969, when the second Secretary-General, Goh Hock Guan resigned under pressure that he would otherwise be detained under the Internal Security Act. At that time, I was in detention at the Muar Detention Centre and Fan was appointed the Acting Secretary-General during the year that I continued to be in detention.
Fanís return to the DAP will be a great boost to the national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and to the DAPís determination to help write a new political chapter in Malaysian political history by denying the Barisan Nasional its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority in Parliament.
At present, the Barisan Nasional has more than two-thirds majority, commanding some 90 per cent of the Parliamentary seats or more than five-sixth majority in Parliament.
Barisan Nasional will continue to govern Malaysia, whether general elections are held this year or next year. The denial of two-thirds parliamentary majority to Barisan Nasional would be an earth-shaking political event in Malaysia, although it is not common for governments in other countries to have two-thirds parliamentary majorities. In fact, you have ruling parties in other countries which do not even have a simple majority in Parliament.
It is unnatural and unhealthy for the government to command more than two-thirds Parliamentary majority in the past four decades, and this may be the root casue of the multitude of crises facing Malaysia, whether governmental, political, economic, environmental, educational or social.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said in Kota Kinabalu two days ago that the people must be prepared for "drastic and shocking" measures in view of the worsening economic crisis.
What are these "drastic and shocking" measures? Are they recommended by the National Economic Action Council (NEAC)? Although Members of Parliament have not yet been given copies of the National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP) which was prepared by the NEAC to chart the economic recovery of the country, I cannot find any proposals which fit the description of "drastic" or "shocking".
Or is the NEAC preparing a second NERP report, because the first NERP had failed not only to stimulate the economy but to check a further decline. In the past three-and-a-half weeks since the public announcement of the NERP, the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Composite Index had fallen by over 100 points, the Malaysian ringgit had weakened to the 4.2 band against the US dollar, while the Finance Minister and the Special Functions Minister on Economic Affairs had to cancel their overseas trips to raise RM8.4 billion bonds because of adverse reports by three rating agencies downgrading Malaysiaís sovereign credit rating.
If Mahathir wants unwavering support from the people for the governmentís "drastic and shocking" measures to deal with the economic crisis, then the government must take the people into its full confidence by letting the people know all the facts, including the bad news about the economic crisis.
The people want to know, for instance, what went wrong with the Malaysian economy in the past 14 months, that things keep worsening without any light at the end of the tunnel until we seem to have reached a runaway deterioration of the economic crisis.
Malaysians also want a full explanation from the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Ling Liong Sik as to why his forecast of a three-month recovery for the Malaysian economy from January to April this year had failed to materialise.
There must be a full national debate on the national economic crisis without which the government cannot get unwavering support from the people for whatever "drastic" or "shocking" measures it is contemplating.
Fan is returning to the DAP at an important juncture of Malaysian politics, when the party is trying to create a New DAP as part of the battle to build a New Malaysia where the people enjoy justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
I am sure Fan can make a significant contribution in the historic mission to deny the Barisan Nasional its two-third parliamentary majority in the coming general elections - which will lay the basis for a quantum leap for Malaysiaís political development, unleashing forces hitherto dormant in our society to create a vibrant civil society in the new millennium.