2004 – the election year – will decide whether there will be springtime for democracy, good governance, sustained development and national prosperity or whether they will remain unfulfilled national hopes
2004 Chinese New Year Message
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Tuesday): The Chinese New Year of the Monkey falls on the 83rd day of the “First Hundred Days” of the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has raised high public hopes and expectations for a clean, incorruptible and efficient government prepared to listen to the people – just like the “ABC” slogan of “Amanah, Bersih, Cekap” of a new Prime Minister 22 years ago.
The “political spring” has not yet come to Malaysia but 2004 – the year of the 11th national general election – will decide whether there will be springtime for democracy, good governance, sustained development and national prosperity or whether they will remain unfulfilled national hopes.
Malaysia has to recover a lot of lost ground before there could be a springtime for democracy and good governance, as illustrated by the following international rankings for the country:
On the eve of the Chinese New Year, the country has been buffeted by grim news, including:
Whether 2004 will usher in a “political spring” for Malaysia with the new Prime Minister fulfilling his promises of a clean, incorruptible and efficient government prepared to “listen” to the people, will depend on the people using their votes wisely to strengthen and not weaken the system of democratic governance – to ensure a reinvigorated Parliament, an independent Judiciary, a free Press, a vibrant civil society and a strong Opposition to check government abuses and excesses and in particular misguided nation-building policies, as in abandoning the 46-year nation-founding “social contract” that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.
Happy Chinese New Year to all Malaysians.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman