GEORGE TOWN, Dec 12 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact can only retain power if its state governments show policies carried out have helped and not harmed the public, in sounding the rallying cry ahead of the next big fight at the polls against the rival Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
“If we are to retain power at the next general elections, then PR must be a people’s government trusted by the people to help and not harm them,” the DAP secretary-general told party members at its state convention here today.
“PR can be trusted by the people not only by showing competency and honesty, but that we are a people’s government that listens to the people, does the people’s work and gives hope to the people,” he added.
Lim noted that the DAP-PKR-PAS administrations had their work cut out for them as years of BN’s “misrule” had hardened the public’s attitude towards government and must work doubly hard to show they are a reliable alternative to the ruling federal coalition.
“After BN’s misrule, the people have learnt not to trust the government. BN’s was not only seen as incompetent and corrupt, its governance was seen as an institution that harms rather than helps the people.
“However showing what we are not is not enough. We must show what we are,” Lim (picture) stressed.
The first-term CM said Penang had taken great strides forward in the two years since the DAP came into power and proudly listed several milestones, including drawing in more direct foreign investments that have open up more jobs than could be filled and putting the Seberang Perai local council’s books back into the black.
But the ambitious Lim said such measures were not enough.
“No genius wants to work for a fool,” he remarked.
“A stupid government or private sector will only drive the best and brightest away.”
Lim cautioned DAP members from falling into the complacency, which he attributed to the BN’s downfall in Election 2008.
“We must boldly lead Penang’s future by embracing moderation, rule of law and a government trusted by the people.
“Whatever our individual abilities and capabilities, we are only as good as the combined intelligence of our team,” he advised.
He called on party members to pit their strength together, reminding them that the ruling coalition owned several established media channels and would use them to break the DAP’s “team spirit”.
“BN’s efforts will fail if we stand united.
“But if we fall into BN’s trap and publicly diminish our own selves without first discussing such issues internally, then we risk losing the people’s trust we have worked so hard to earn,” Lim said, in what may have been a veiled reminder of the political turmoil that befell its alliance partner in Selangor following PKR’s recent party elections.
The reform party helmed by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail appeared to have lost much support, especially among its urban base, following highly publicised allegations of vote-buying.
The DAP leader stressed that “integrity in leadership is crucial towards fighting corruption.”
The 12-year-old party – the youngest in the PR pact – has been repeatedly hauled up over the integrity of the candidates it fielded in Election 2008 who won but later defected after being embroiled in sex and corruption scandals.
PKR has lost five lawmakers and DAP, two.