2017 LDP Party Conference President Speech

POLICY ADDRESS OF YB DATUK SERI PANGLIMA TEO CHEE KANG, JP, PRESIDENT OF LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN THE 28TH PARTY CONGRESS HELD AT KIAN KOK SCHOOL HALL, KOTA KINABALU ON 5TH NOVEMBER 2017

 

  1. GREETINGS AND THANKS

 

  • Pertama-tamanya, marilah kita sama-sama bersyukur dan memberi puji kepada Tuhan yang maha kuasa dan maha penyayang kerana dengan limpah kurnia dan izinnya jua kita dapat berhimpun di Majlis Perasmian Perhimpunan Agung Parti yang ke-28 pada pagi ini.

 

  • Saya mengucapkan terima kasih kepada semua pucuk pimpinan pusat dan bahagian, para perwakilan dan pemerhati dari seluruh Sabah kerana menghadiri Perhimpunan Agung Parti pada hari ini. Ini membuktikan bahawa anda semua menyayangi dan bertaat-setia kepada Parti.  Perjuangan LDP bukan sahaja perjuangan Majlis Tertinggi atau pun saya perseorangan, tetapi adalah perjuangan kita semua.  Setiap ahli, mahu pun Ahli Majlis Tertinggi, Ketua Bahagian, Wanita, Pemuda atau ahli biasa ada peranan masing-masing.

 

 

  1. PARTY OBJECTIVES EVEN MORE RELEVANT TODAY

           

2.1     Sejak penubuhan Parti pada 02 Ogos 1989, 28 tahun telah berlalu.  Sebagai sebuah Parti politik yang bertanggungjawab, LDP tidak lupa objektif-objektif asalnya, iaitu,

 

  • mempertahankan Perlembagaan Malaysia dan menjunjung prinsip-prinsip yang terkandung dalam Rukun Negara;

 

  • memperjuangkan demi masyarakat yang adil dan saksama tanpa mengira kaum dan agama, memupuk semangat saling hormat-menghormati, toleransi dalam masyarakat yang berbilang kaum, kebudayaan dan agama;

 

  • mempertahankan kepentingan Sabah dalam konteks Malaysia; dan

 

  • menghapuskan amalan rasuah dalam semua bentuk dalam Kerajaan dan mewujudkan Kerajaan yang bertanggungjawab kepada rakyat.

 

2.2      Objektif-objektif ini adalah termaktub dalam perkembangan Parti.  Walaupun objektif-objektif ini digubal 28 tahun yang lalu, tetap relevan  pada hari.  Sebenarnya, memandangkan senario politik di peringkat nasional dan negeri kini, objektif-objektif ini telah menjadi lebih relevan.

 

 

  1. ROAD TO FEDERATION OF MALAYSIA

        

3.1      Nation building has never been easy.  On 31 August 1957, the 9 Malay States, together with 2 of the British Straits Settlements, Penang and Malacca gained independence and formed the Federation of Malaya.  This was achieved through the joint effort of the Malays, Chinese and Indians.

 

3.2      In its pre-independence days, the multi-racial and multi-religious social demography already existed in Malaya.  It was precisely due to the combined strength of the different communities that they gained independence and formed a new nation which they called home.

 

3.3      It was against the backdrop of a plural society that the Federation Constitution was drafted, which recognises:

 

  • the special position of the Malays, later extended to the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, but the rights and liberties of other communities are equally protected in accordance to provisions in the Federal Constitution; and

 

  • that Islam is the religion of the Federation, but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

 

3.4      Similarly, it was the joint effort of leaders of diverse ethnic origins in the North Borneo that led to the self government of Sabah on 31 August 1963.  In August 1962 the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee (MSCC) under the chairmanship of Donald Stephens convened a meeting with political leaders from United National Kadazan Organisation (UNKO), United Sabah National Organisation (USNO), the Democratic Party, the United Party and United Pasokmomogun Organisation (UPMO) who drew up a 14 point memorandum of minimum demands, later extended to 20 points, which were subsequently incorporated into the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution.

 

3.5       The Democratic Party and the United Party which were both Chinese Parties later merged to become Borneo Utara National Party (BUNAP), which was later renamed Sabah National Party (SANAP), before it became Sabah Chinese Association (SCA) in 1965 when it merged with a non-political organisation by the same name.

 

3.6      All these parties which were in favour of the formation of Malaysia formed the Sabah Alliance Party that won 86.5% of the votes in State wide election for the 16 local authorities in North Borneo in December 1962, thus an overwhelming mandate for the formation of Malaysia.

 

3.7     Among others, Datu Mustapha Bin Datu Harun, Donald Stephens, Khoo Siak Chiew, G.S. Sundang signed the Malaysia Agreement on 09 July 1963 on behalf of Sabah.

 

  • Point 1 of the 20 points provides that “while there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia, there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo.” However, Sabah decided to change it by an amendment to the State Constitution in 1973 by inserting Article 5A which reads

 

Islam is the religion of the State, but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the State.

 

3.9      Dear delegates, these are historical facts which you may not find in schools’ history text books.  The reason why I laid them before you today is to bring home the point that it was the diverse ethnicity that contributed to the independence of Malaya, Sabah and subsequently the formation of Malaysia.

 

3.10    Our forefathers desired and envisaged Malaysia to be a nation with a diverse but inclusive society.  Unity of the multi-racial, multi-religions and multi-cultural Malaysia is thus premised on integration instead of assimilation.

 

3.11    Malaysia has always been well respected by the international community as a modern and progressive nation where its people live peacefully and harmoniously together despite their differences in ethnic origins and religions.  With much regrets, with the exception of Sabah and Sarawak, racial distrust and religious intolerance are on the rise.  According to a report in The Diplomat released in August 2017, Malaysia has shifted towards a more rigid, political Islam resulting in greater intolerance in the country.  Dr Zachary Abuza, a professor cum researcher at the National War College in the United States, was quoted by The Diplomat as saying “Malaysia has become steadily more intolerant”.

 

3.12    We came across stories which went viral in the social media that decently dressed women were not allowed to enter a Government Department office.  In Kelantan, a watch shop was penalised for displaying “sexy” posters in July 2016.  In September 2017, also in Kelantan, a muslim man had to face a fine of RM1,000 for wearing shorts to play futsal.  Lauderettes in Muar and Kangar were found to serve muslims only.  Then we have a Deputy Minister who said that “the BN Government is not shirking its responsibility to make Malaysia an Islamic State”.

 

3.13    In our quest to build a nation that is harmonious, modern and progressive, we must not focus on the differences that exist in our plural society, we should instead find our common grounds and take the middle path.  When Malaysia was formed, it was never meant to be a theocratic state.  Yes, Article 3 provides that Islam is the religion of the Federation but our Federal Constitution is a secular constitution based on universal values such as fairness and justice, the rule of law, separation of powers, and the protection of personal liberties.  It is premised on values common and acceptable to all regardless of race and creed as opposed to religious principles.  Malaysia is a colourful nation where diversity should be celebrated.

 

3.14    On 10 October 2017, the Malay Rulers expressed their concern over the words actions of certain individuals which had gone beyond all acceptable standards of decency that would disrupt the unity and harmony that currently exists in our multi-ethnic society.  The Rulers also reminded all Malaysians to abide by the principles embodied in the Constitution and be guided by the Rukun Negara.

 

3.15    The strong stance taken by the Rulers has managed to stop these divisive issues from brewing into major catastrophies.  Likewise, the Government must take a clear stance followed by firm actions to ensure that the nation will not deviate from its original path.

 

3.16    On this note, I would like to reiterate our firm stance against Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (RUU355) and the implementation of Hudud Law promoted by PAS, as doing so will create two separate criminal justice systems for Muslims and non-Muslims.

 

 

3.17    As evidenced in the Cobbold Commission Report 1962 and the Inter-Governmental Report 1962, religion was one of the major issues for North Borneo where big majority of its population were not Muslims.  If they were told that the new nation would one day undergo Islamisation, the outcome of the Cobbold Commission Report would have been different, there would not be Federation of Malaysia today.

 

 

  1. SABAH RIGHTS UNDER MA63 AND THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION

                    

4.1      In our Congress last year, I put forward a case for Sabah and Sarawak in that the East Malaysian States are not any other states in the Federation of Malaysia.  With the special safeguards and revenue rights embedded in the Federal Constitution, we enjoy higher degree of autonomy compared with  States in Peninsular Malaysia.

 

4.2      Since then, the State Government’s effort in restoring our special rights under MA63 and the Federal Constitution has gained momentum.  We held hearings with political parties from both sides of the political divide.  We then compiled a comprehensive report and handed the same to the Prime Minister during his visit to Sabah on 06 May 2017.

 

4.3      In a function held in Sandakan on 07 May 2017, the Prime Minister announced the exemption of cabotage policy for Sabah and Sarawak as well as Labuan with effect from 01 June 2017.

 

4.4      Today, more than 50% of the heads of Federal Departments in Sabah are Sabahans.  The percentage of Sabahan teachers serving in the schools in Sabah is close to the targeted 90%.

 

4.5      The Federal Ministry of Finance has written to the State Government confirming that the review of special grant is now reactivated.

 

4.6      In the national level Malaysia Day celebration on 16 September 2017, the Prime Minister affirmed that matters pertaining to the rights of Sabahans and Sarawakians which are guaranteed in the MA63 will be negotiated with the Federal Government in a brotherly manner.  In other words, the Prime Minister respects our State rights as agreed and provided in MA63 and the Federal Constitution.

 

4.7      As a Sabah based party, LDP shall continue to be a voice for restoration of Sabah state rights as well as devolution of more federal power to the State.

 

4.8      While we understand that certain issues like review of special grant need more time for deliberation the Federal and the State Ministries of Finance taking into account the financial positions of the Federal Government and the need of the State before the quantum can be fixed, others like the delegation of power to regulate production and distribution of gas and electricity can be simply done by an administrative decision.  Such power was delegated to Sabah and Sarawak since the birth of Malaysia in 1963.  However, such power given to Sabah was taken back by Kuala Lumpur when Tun Dr. Mahathir was the Prime Minister in 1983, while Sarawak still maintain that power till today.  Based on the principle that the 2 East Malaysian States should be treated equally, that power should be redelegated to Sabah without delay.

 

 

  1. THE RISE OF YOUNG VOTERS

                    

5.1      Youth constitutes 43% of the total population in Malaysia.  They are therefore a critical demographic group tp engage.  As of March this year, the number of registered voters in Malaysia stands at 14.3 million.  According to the Election Commission, there are still about 3.8 million eligible but have not registered themselves as voters.  Out of this 3.8 million, about two-third falls within the 21-30 year age group.

 

 

5.2      According to a public opinion survey which targeted the 21-30 year group in Peninsular Malaysia conducted in August 2017, 70% of the 604 surveyed were not interested in politics.  71% of those surveyed felt that they had no influence to the Government, and 75% felt that politics was complicated, 66% were of the view that politicians were not trustworthy.

 

5.3      These are very alarming statistics.  I think it is due to the perception that their votes carry no weight and the distrust of politicians that they refuse to register as voters.

 

5.4      I was active in the Party’s Youth Movement before.  I understand that young people need a platform to connect with other people, more importantly to express themselves and let their voice be heard.

 

5.5      According to 1997 National Youth Development Policy (NYDP), youth is defined as those aged between 15 to 40.  If the NYDP is replaced by the Malaysian Policy (MYP) in 2018 as planned, youth age will be redefined to the range from 15 to 30.  In preparation of this, the Party Supreme Council decided in our meeting on 22 October 2017 to lower our Party Youth age from 45 to 40.  At the same time, our Gen-Y is to be reorganized and renamed as New Generation Movement (New-Gen) which is open to male and female Malaysians between 18 to 30.

 

5.6      Whenever I read comments in the social media or websites, I often find a lot of negative remarks, sometimes uncourteous, rude and vulgar.  It worries me because if that reflects the overall mindset of the new generation, then I am afraid Malaysia will have a bleak future.  Sometimes, I wonder whether these keyboard warriors have done anything positive and constructive to make this nation a better place to live in.

 

5.7      Adopt a positive mindset, think positive, act positive and you will get positive results.  On the other hand, negative thoughts, words and attitude, create negative and unhappy feelings which will lead to failure, frustration and disappointment.

 

Everyday may not be good, but there is something good in everyday.”

 

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

 

5.8      If you appreciate the meaning of these 2 quotes, then you appreciate what positive thinking is all about.  Young people, LDP has a platform for you.  Join us, be a positive energy, be a positive agent for change.  Together, we can make a difference.

 

 

  1. THE 14TH GENERAL ELECTIONS

 

6.1      As the 14th General Elections is approaching, Pakatan Harapan has hastily come out with their manifesto promising a “new deal” for Sabah.  Their  promise of a Deputy Prime Minister for East Malaysia, 20% oil royalty, 50% of Federal revenue derived from Sabah to be given to Sabah shows that they are desperate for the support from Sabah and Sarawak.

 

6.2      Pakatan Harapan knows that they can’t capture Sabah and Sarawak, that is why they can make unrealistic promises that are not deliverable.  The purpose is merely to win as many seats as possible from Sabah and Sarawak to make up the number for Putrajaya.

 

6.3      Sabah and Sarawak do not need a new deal, what we want is just to get what we bargained for as agreed in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.  It is plain naivety for Pakatan Harapan Sabah to place their hope on Tun Dr. Mahathir to give 20% oil royalty, 50% Federal revenue derived from Sabah, and the administrative power for education, tourism, transports to Sabah.

 

6.4      Furthermore, Pakatan Harapan is good in making u-turns.  They used to object vigorously to Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the extent that they went on street demonstration, later on Vice President of PKR Nurul Izzah Anwar said that Pakatan Harapan will not abolish GST if they win the General Elections.

 

6.5      Likewise, Pakatan Harapan used to object to Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) but later said that they will continue with BR1M should they succeed in taking over Putrajaya.

 

6.6      As for their relationship with Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), their Chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir said he will put a stop to PAS-PKR negotiation, but Anwar Ibrahim gave his blessing to Azmin Ali to hold negotiations with PAS for cooperation during the 14th General Elections.  PKR and DAP Sabah may say that they have severed tie with PAS, but the fact remains that PAS is still part of the Pakatan Government in Selangor.

 

6.7      Of the 11 State Legislative Assembly seats won by Pakatan Harapan (then Pakatan Rakyat) in the last General Elections, 8 have ditched the Party.  Is this the Party that the people can trust?

 

6.8      If the 13 additional State seats are not adopted, LDP will contest in the 4 State seats entrusted by BN, namely N.2 Tanjong Kapor, N.14 Likas, N.44 Karamunting, N.58 Merotai and P.186 Sandakan Parliament seat.

 

6.9      The 14th General Elections is going to be extremely challenging for BN and LDP to retain our existing seats and regain our lost grounds.  However, I trust that if we always have the people’s interests in our hearts and do what is best for the people, we will sail through.

 

6.10    This is our last Congress before the next General Election, I call for the people’s support for BN especially in constituencies where LDP shall contest, empower us by your votes so that we can be a stronger voice in the Government for our beloved Sabah.

 

 

6.11    By and large, the Malaysian Chinese voted for the oppositions in 2008 and 2013.  The national average Chinese support for BN was only less than 15%, possibly the lowest in Malaysian history.  I am confident that what goes down must come up.  It is time for Malaysia Chinese to do some soul searching and make a rational decision in the next General Election, otherwise the Chinese may be stereotyped as pro-oppositions.

 

6.12    As a Chinese based Party, LDP has been working closely with Chinese non-governmental organisations.  In fact many of our leaders in the Central or divisional level are very involved in the trade, education, religion and clan related Chinese NGOs in the State.  We understand the Chinese community, we are inextricably intertwined with the Chinese community.  We co-exist and are interdependent to one another.  I urge the Chinese community to give LDP your strong support, strengthen LDP and empower LDP so that we can do more for you.

 

  1. LDP will stand united with the rakyat in our hearts and minds. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much

 

UNITED WE STAND, TOGETHER WE WIN!

UNITED WE STAND, TOGETHER WE WIN!

UNITED WE STAND, TOGETHER WE WIN!

 

 

  1. OFFICIAL OPENING OF PARTY CONGRESS

 

8.1      With that, it is my pleasure to declare that the 28th Party Congress of LDP is now officially open.

 

Thank you.

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