DAP congratulates Chen Shu-bianís election as Taiwan President and urges Beijing and Taipei to act with restraint and start serious constructive dialogue to resolve cross-Taiwan Straits issues peacefully

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): DAP has sent congratulatory messages to Taiwan President-elect Chen Hsui-bian on his successful presidential election as well as  to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman, Lin I-Hsiung.

Chenís presidential victory is a great boost to social democracy in the Asia-Pacific in the new millennium.

DAP has a delegation in Taiwan led by  National Vice Chairman, Lim Guan Eng, who is  guest of the DPP,  to observe the presidential election campaign.

Now that the Taiwan presidential election is over, both the Peopleís Republic of China and the Republic of China should exercise the greatest restraint and start serious constructive dialogue  to resolve the cross-Taiwan Straits problems peacefully.

Chenís victory, which ended more than five decades of rule by the Kuomintang, was primarily a vote for domestic Taiwanese reforms and for an end to corruption and money politics  - "black gold" - than a declaration of  independence by Taiwan voters.

Chenís first post-election announcement that as president he would not declare independence from  China and his commitment to form a government of national consensus to include all political parties as well as non-party individuals  to look for ways to build bridges with the mainland and the restrained response of Beijing are good beginnings.

There are many lessons for Malaysians, both the Barisan Nasional and Barisan Alternative, in last Saturdayís  Taiwanese presidential election.

For Barisan Nasional, it should ponder hard as to  how the outgoing President Lee Teng-hui, once dubbed "Mr Democracy" for his crusading reform agenda, is now dubbed as "KMT terminator" by disgruntled party members for forcing out many reform-minded leaders while being deaf to the demands for change from a young and confident electorate.

For Barisan Alternative, it should ponder how baseless fears of the electorate - in particular the baseless fears of the Chinese and non-Malays  that a vote for DAP is a vote for PAS and Islamic state where there would be no pork, no alochol, no karaoke, no temples, no Chinese schools, Chinese women have to cover their heads, pretty women would have no work and that there would be chopping of hands and feet - could be overcome so that the peopleís cries for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance could take their rightful place on the national agenda.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman