Speech by DAP Penang State Chairman and Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow at the DAP Penang State Ordinary Convention held at the Equatorial Hotel, Penang on Sunday 18 November 2018 at 10.00am.
This year’s DAP Penang State Ordinary Convention is a historic one as the party and its Pakatan Harapan allies have not only retain State power in Penang for the third term with a bigger majority but also helped to win a unprecedented victory in capturing power at the Federal level at the 14th General Election on 9th May this year.
Today we are in power in Penang and Malaysia after 52 years of political struggle when we managed to work our political allies and the people to bring down the formidable but corrupted Barisan Nasional Government.
We pay tributes to the people of Malaysia from all states and all backgrounds who have shown great courage in evoking a political change against all odds and challenges which started many years ago through the Reformasi, Hindraf and Bersih movement and culmination with the fall of the Barisan Nasional due to the IMDB financial scandals.
We also want to congratulate Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed and all Pakatan Harapan leaders for achieving an almost impossible and formidable mission of forging the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition to defeat the long—entrenched Barisan Nasional.
To our own DAP leaders and members, at the national, state, parliamentary division and branch levels, our Wanita and DAPSY and Veterans, I salute your leadership, commitment, dedication and purposeful pursuit of the party’s noble mission for a democratic Malaysia for all Malaysians.
Congratulations to our Secretary General Sdr Lim Guan Eng for leading the party to a momentous electoral success and your appointment as the Finance Minister of our country.
Malaysia Baharu, New Hope
The euphoria of the May 9th has since subsided as the Pakatan Harapan has set about the business of running the Federal government and the eight State governments.
The people’s expectations are great as they have put in everything to win this victory and wanted to see the transformation of the government institutions and good governance as promised in the General Election.
However, as the new Federal Government settled down into its job, it has now been discovered that the country is facing a one trillion ringgit national debt and other challenges.
After six months, we are proud of the achievements of out Federal government and appreciated the need for more time to deliver on the Pakatan Harapan manifesto pledges.
Growing from strength to strength in Penang
In Penang, we have own own success story as the Pakatan Harapan has secured our third mandate with a stronger mandate, winning 37 out of the 40 seats in the Penang State Legislative Assembly.
The DAP has retained all the 7 Parliamentary seats and 19 State seats with bigger majority.
We are thankful to our Pakatan Harapan component parties’ support in retaining the status quo of the Chief Minister and seven State Executive Councillor posts for the DAP to lead the Penang State Government.
Political scenario in Penang after GE 14
The Opposition was almost wiped out in Penang with Umno retaining two State seats with PAS securing one by default following the disqualification of a Parti Bersatu candidate.
The Opposition is still trying to play a more meaningful role in the State Assembly and thus far has not been able to damper our strong performance in the State Assembly.
Other Opposition parties are still recovering from their third electoral defeats. The Parti Gerakan has since left the Barisan Nasional to be on their own and not expected to pose a serious threat in the short term.
Other minor Opposition parties are still in the doldrums and not seen in the public realms since the general election.
In the meanwhile, the various component parties are in the process of strengthening their organisations and we expect a more cordial working relationship inside and outside the Government.
However, in recent months the NGO movements have been vocal and critical about the Penang State Government due to the proposed implementation of the Penang Transport Master Plan projects and also two recent incidents of landslide at project sites which killed 20 construction workers.
As such, the party is always mindful of our role in government and would perform our best to maintain the support and trust of the people.
“I Love Penang” Manifesto
At the 14th General Election, we have presented to Penang voters our 68-point “I Love Penang” manifesto covering various major delivery themes. I like to report that the new State Government has been able to deliver 36 of the electoral pledges, while the rest are in the progress and also awaiting Federal approval.
We will ensure that all the electoral promises in the “I Love Penang” manifesto will be honoured in this electoral term.
On 29th August, I have presented a 12-year action plan for Penang. It is called Penang 2030 – A Family-focused, Green and Smart State, that inspires the Nation.
This will be the focus and policy direction for our government. We hope that the Pakatan Harapan and DAP will also embrace this Action Plan to work and collaborate with the State and Federal governments, Private Sectors. Professional Bodies and the People
We are answerable and accountable to the people and we have to deliver a better Penang and Malaysia to win the people’s support.
We will strive to work with the Federal Government and other State governments in the Northern Corridor to grow the State’s economic growth, ensure job opportunities with high value incomes, improve basic amenities, upgrade infrastructures to provide housing and to ensure liveability and sustainable development.
The role of the party
We are in governments today because of the party. As leaders and members, it is important for each and everyone to contribute to its growth and strength.
We have gone through difficult and challenging times and we must continue to ensure our party’s core values are uphold and strengthen for the party to flourish. We owe it to the members and supporters who have contributed to our success today.
Following the resolution of our party’s problem with the Registrar of Societies, we have been able to proceed with the holding of AGMs for those protem branches. We have also receive new application to set up branches.
The party’s organisation, publicity, finance, political education and administrative secretariat are expected to play its roles to strengthen the party.
End to Secretary General’s criminal prosecution
The Penang DAP rejoices with the decision of the Attorney General to discontinue with the prosecution of the case involving the Secretary General.
After resolving all technical issues, the State Committee has decided that the public donation and accrued interests of the bail fund amounting to RM1,038,737.43 be donated to the Penang Future Foundation scholarship funds.
Two-term limit as CM and succession planning
On Friday, 16 November 2018, I have moved a motion at the Penang State Legislative Assembly to amend the State Constitution to limit the tenure of the Chief Minister to two terms.
This is to honour our election pledge and also in line with the Pakatan Harapan’s national manifesto.
With the amendment, I will not be serving more than two terms, and if I serve a second term, my tenure as Chief Minister will end at the end of the next election.
It is not only me who is affected. Our Secretary General will also be affected as he will no longer be eligible since he had served two terms as Chief Minister from 2008 to 2018.
The question before us is that the party must prepare our next generation of leaders to continue to lead the Penang State Government.
In this State Ordinary Convention, the party can start this process of succession planning by ensuring that we prepare our second and third echelon leaders for future responsibilities.
When the Secretary General and myself complete our call of duty at the end of the next general election in 2028, the State Government can still be led by a pool of talented DAP leaders.