Five Tasks in the Dragon Year  to lay the foundation for  a new Malaysia of justice, democracy and good governance in the new millennium


Chinese New Year 2000 Message 
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Penang, Thursday): With the Dragon Year starting off the new millennium, Malaysians  should embark on five tasks to lay the foundation for a new Malaysia of justice, democracy and good governance.  They are:

Economic Reforms.  Without economic reforms, there can be no sustainable economic recovery for Malaysia.  Warning voices have already been raised that the Malaysian government is repeating the same mistakes that had plunged the country into the nationís worst economic crisis 1997-98 as it has not taken significant measures to strengthen Malaysiaís economic fundamentals. Without economic reforms and restructuring to eliminate  cronyism and all forms of economic distortions and inefficiencies,  Malaysia may be heading for a bigger economic  bust in the near future.

Political Reforms.  Malaysia is the only country afflicted by the Asian economic crisis which has refused to undergo both economic and political reforms.  Human rights, democracy and the rule may be facing their greatest peril in the nationís history.  There is a concerted attempt to stultify democracy, not only among the people at large, but even in UMNO.  Malaysians must have the will and commitment to rally behind the cause of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in the new era.

A Political Culture of Zero Tolerance for Corruption.  Recently, the Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department, Datuk Rais Yatim, said the people should give the new Anti-Corruption Act time to run its course before dismissing it as discriminatory.  The Anti-Corruption Act had been on the statute book for more than two years and the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) had more than enough time to be judged as to whether it is still a "toothless tiger" as far as freedom to act against the corrupt without fear or favour.  The ACA has failed to pass the test and the time has come for Malaysians to demand and create a new political culture of zero tolerance for corruption.

A Paradigm Shift in Malaysian Politics.  Malaysians must move into a new and higher stage of nation building, with a paradigm shift in Malaysian politics where it is not so dominated by the primordial issues of race and religion but issues-centred as on questions of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

Promotion of inter-racial, inter-religious, inter-political  and inter-civilisational dialogue.  To sustain the new and higher stage of nation building, there should be a systematic campaign to promote inter-racial, inter-religious, inter-political  and inter-civilisational dialogue among Malaysians,  regardless of race, religion or political beliefs.  If the Barisan Nasional is not prepared to promote this process, the Barisan Alternative should be its main dynamo.

(3/2/2000)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman