(Kuala Lumpur, Monday): Tonight is not so much a 30th anniversary commemorative dinner on my being Member of Parliament (1969-1999), but a 30th anniversary commemorative dinner for the great Malaysians without whose support I could not have been MP for 30 years without interruption, namely the voters of Kota Melaka, Petaling Jaya and Tanjong - for whom I had been MP for three terms, one term and three terms respectively - but also in the widest sense, the larger Malaysian people who had given their unstinting support to the DAP cause - and the DAP leadership and membership in the past 33 years.
I am a product of the unceasing quest for justice, freedom and equality of Malaysians and I want to thank Malaysians from all walks of life in all parts of Malaysia who had given me their support in the past three decades to sustain me in a hardy, gruelling and very demanding political journey - which is also their political journey.
I want in particular to pay tribute to my wife, Neo Yeo Tee, who had given me great support and solidarity throughout my trials and tribulations, and shown greatness of spirit when both her husband and eldest son were detained at the same time for their political beliefs - and her agony is not over yet, with her son now in imprisonment, disqualified as Member of Parliament and treated as a lowly common criminal! I am proud that although I am physically more absent that present with my children and grandchildren, the family spirit and solidarity like IT is not limited by time or place as I have always ensured that I keep in contact with my family every day, if not physically then by phone.
My 30 years as MP is not important, as it merely marks the DAPís 30 years of parliamentary struggle.
In the first 30 years of the DAPís parliamentary struggle, the DAP has succeeded in breaking the hardening mould of a nation-building policy based on assimilation rather than integration and many DAP leaders paid a heavy price to assert and establish that Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation which must be fully reflected and represented in the nation-building process.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad publicly admitted a few years ago that the Barisan Nasional government had originally wanted to implement a policy of assimilation to build a Malaysian nation but has now realised that this is unsuitable for a plural society like Malaysia and that it should be by way of integration.
This is a measure of what the DAP had succeeded in the first 30 years of our parliamentary struggle.
The biggest fight for Malaysia, however, is in the future and not in the past - the DAPís second battle for a Malaysian Malaysia where all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, can enjoy justice, freedom, democracy and good governance. This is the Battle of Malaysian Malaysia II.
Malaysia is at a historic political turning point, with golden political opportunities to bring about far-reaching changes, by breaking the Barisan Nasional mould of political hegemony, caused by its never losing two-thirds parliamentary majority and even commanding five-sixth majority as at present - which is the root cause of the undemocratic rule and repression of fundamental rights of Malaysians.
If Malaysians cannot smash the Barisan Nasional mould of political hegemony in the next general election, then the people may have to wait for another 10 to 15 years before such an opportunity re-appears. This is why all opposition parties should work to create the conditions for the breaking of the Barisan Nasional mould of political hegemony to unleash new energies and forces to create a vibrant democratic polity and civil society.
When the Barisan Nasional mould of political hegemony is broken, Malaysians can look forward to a more open, accountable and transparent government, a freer press where journalists can be proud to be journalists for they will be able to carry out their role as the Fourth Estate to do investigative reporting, where Parliament will stop being a rubber-stamp of the Executive but a vibrant institution with parliamentary committees to carry out oversight functions over the executive, where draconian laws like the Internal Security Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Sedition Act would be repealed, where there will be an all-out war against corruption and where travesties of justice like the case of Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim would never have taken place.