Outgoing DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today said Pakatan Harapan (PH) needs to do a better job to communicate its message to Malaysians if it is to regain their support, especially for the next general election.
In order to succeed, the Bagan MP said there should not be blame put on others for the loss of popular support.
Instead, he called on the component parties to reflect on PH’s own weaknesses in the recent slew of state elections to see how they can do better.
“We need to face up to our record when we were in the government.
“PH must show it is united and move as a team,” he said during his opening address at DAP’s 17th annual congress here.
He raised the importance of a common logo in PH which would help to demonstrate that unity of purpose.
“Whilst DAP is tempted to use the Rocket logo, DAP will stick to the coalition logo of PH to help us to win together.
“No single party has won the general elections, only coalition parties have succeeded in winning power since Merdeka.
“We need to share victories with our allies through a common logo so that we can win more seats,” he said.
He noted that the DAP had learnt its lessons from the Melaka and Sarawak state elections, indicating that this resulted in his party’s improvement at the Johor state election on March 12.
“Our efforts in correcting our weaknesses have shown some progress with DAP mitigating our losses by winning 10 out of 14 contests despite the lower turnout.
“Let me congratulate all DAP winning candidates from PH in the Johor, Melaka and Sarawak state elections,” he added.
Noting the DAP is in a transitional generation where a new secretary-general will be elected, Lim expressed gratitude for all the support the party has given to him.
“This will be my final speech as secretary-general and I am grateful for all the support the party has given to me.
“I am proud that through my tenure as secretary-general, DAP has transformed itself from aspiring to be the largest opposition party to aspiring to be the next government.
“We have shown that DAP is capable of governing Malaysia,” he said.
He also said that he was proud that along with the other party leaders, they managed to nurture the next two generations of DAP leaders who will continue the legacy of the first batch of young men and women who founded our party 56 years ago.
“I am proud that I handed over a stronger DAP to the next secretary-general because DAP is now the largest party in Parliament.
“DAP is very grateful that we have our first-generation leader Saudara Lim Kit Siang still with us to guide us with his wisdom and his insights.
“I will support the new secretary-general and work together with the new generation of DAP leaders to build our party and to work with like-minded allies for a better Malaysian Malaysia.
“We want the new secretary-general to succeed so that the party can grow,” he said.
Lim acknowledged the dejection among party members and the general public as a result of the “Sheraton Move” that caused PH to lose its power.
But he also said the PH coalition should take heart that the Opposition situation now was not as bad as it was before the 2008 general election.
“When I took over the position of secretary-general of the party in September 2004, I made the bold and audacious promise to take the DAP from being a perennial Opposition to a partner in power.
“No one believed in a person who was disqualified from being a wakil rakyat after being imprisoned for a case relating to a rape victim who was detained whilst the rapist went off scot-free. But we succeeded because we dared to dream,” he said.
As secretary-general, Lim said he set out three goals for the DAP, which he added are still relevant today.
“One, we had to rebuild the morale and spirit of the party after successive elections showing little progress from 1995 to 2004.
“Two, we had to attract younger members and potential leaders into the party as part and parcel of rejuvenating the spirit of the party.
“Finally, we must maximise the overall strength of the party by utilising the strengths of various leaders, both young and experienced,” he said.
He noted that DAP was able to make history in Election 2008 by being part of the then Pakatan Rakyat coalition that wrested power from the Barisan Nasional in four states, and denied the juggernaut coalition two-thirds majority in Parliament.
In that election, DAP increased its seats in Parliament from 12 to 28 seats.
“In the 2013 and 2018 general elections, DAP increased our tally to 38 and 42 Parliamentary seats respectively.
“It was a new chapter in DAP’s long struggle for a better Malaysia.
“I am grateful to the party members for the confidence and trust to serve as the secretary-general since 2004, chief minister of Penang for two terms from 2008 to 2018 and Minister of Finance from 2018 to 2020,” he said. – MMO