SHAH ALAM: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has acknowledged the role of the late PAS spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat played in keeping the then Pakatan Rakyat together.
In his policy speech at the 2019 DAP National Congress, Lim said Nik Aziz had consistently protected Pakatan against conservative forces within his own party as well as racists and extremists that were outside the party.
"Sadly his death has allowed the racists and extremists to gain ascendancy,'' said Lim, adding that in line with the late spiritual leader's legacy, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu and several others, had left PAS under severe duress and incessant attacks, to form their current party.
Lim also said the Pakatan parties would not have won without the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
"For that we thank Tun Dr Mahathir for his courage and judgment to strike out a new political path, unimagined previously when the Barisan Nasional kleptocracy was seen as invincible,'' he said.
On another matter, Lim said winning the 14th General Election was the easier part but building a New Malaysia together was the harder task Pakatan had to undertake.
He added as a member of Pakatan, DAP must focus on national unity, shared prosperity that provided equal opportunities in jobs, education and business, maintaining a clean government and battling corruption, respecting the rule of law and ensuring justice for all, propagating people-centric and performance-oriented good governance, as well as protecting the environment and the basic rights of every Malaysian to live with dignity.
"Providing food, shelter and clothing is no longer enough. We must also provide education, employment and business opportunities as well as a prosperous future we can believe in," said Lim.
Lim also said Pakatan was facing many challenges, especially in terms of national unity, whereby there were initiatives by 'irresponsible elements' trying to divide and disrupt the government through the politics of racism and religious extremism.
"Exploiting hate and confrontational politics is a weak attempt to hide their inability to competently manage the economy until their state government is practically bankrupt and salaries cannot even be paid, or hide their corruption on an industrial scale until Malaysia is declared a global kleptocracy,'' he added.
Lim however said that Pakatan cannot fight hatred with hatred, adding that it must rely on facts and reason.
"Only by turning around the economy and ensuring economic prosperity for all, can we win and defeat these dangerous forces that wish to split Malaysia by turning Malays against non-Malays and Muslims against non-Muslims,'' added Lim.
Lim explained that as much as the people wanted Pakatan to resolve problems quickly, the current state of the Malaysian economy is a result of decisions made in the last 20 or 61 years.
"No matter how hard we try problems from 61 years back cannot be solved in one year.
"Instead we need to think ahead about the next twenty years to put Malaysia back on track for the next generation,'' he added.
Lim also said DAP wants to be a partner in power as opposed to being a partner for the sake of power or for money or self-gratification.
He said DAP wanted to collectively create a better Malaysia that everyone could be proud of, on behalf of the people and for the people, inspired by shared ideals of social democracy.
"DAP has been very clear that we would only be in power through coalition building as well as being a responsible coalition partner. No party can rule alone in Malaysia,'' said Lim.
In his policy speech, Lim also said there was a need to gain the support of all ethnic races as well as the people of Sabah and Sarawak in order to win elections in Malaysia.
He said the opposition's strategy was to appeal to the extremes of both Malay and non-Malay audience in the hope that Pakatan would collapse mid-way during the term.
"Our opponents are playing a divisive and destructive game to create a confidence crisis in the government.
"They want a clash of identities between our people, we cannot let them win,' he added.
Pakatan has to rise to the occasion and provide a moderate vision to bring all ethnic groups together as a buffer against the Opposition's destructive strategy, said Lim.
According to Lim, the DAP does not want to be 'boxed-in' as a non-Malay party or a Chinese party as it is comprised of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Dayaks, Orang Asli leaders and members.
"We have members from all races since our inception in 1966.
"Our elected representatives include Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans and Kadazans. We are a truly Malaysian party,'' he said.
Lim opined that Pakatan needed to put in a new framework that recognised all Malaysians had more in common than differences, that while cultural backgrounds may differ, lives were intertwined and destinies were similar.
"Malaysians must work together against forces of disunity, racism and religious extremism by showing our preference for co-operation not conflict, consultation instead of confrontation and an inclusive shared society rather than an exclusive separate society,'' he said.
Later in the day, Lim told a press conference that certain race-based polices by the previous government will continue for the time being.
He cited the quota for the matriculation intake as one of such policies that will remain for now.
"We must do something better than the previous government, if not better, at least not worse off," he added.