Statement by Tony Pua on DAP National Congress 2022

Statement by Tony Pua on DAP National Congress 2022
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(March 20): First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all delegates who have attended the DAP National Congress today (Sunday, March 20) and cast their votes for me.  I am extremely grateful for the support.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end as I did not make the cut for the Central Executive Committee (CEC). This is the first time I failed to be elected since the first time I participated in 2008. This is despite the fact that the number of elected members has been enlarged from 20 to 30 persons this Congress.

I have informed the new secretary-general, Sdr Anthony Loke, that I do not wish to be nominated for co-option into the CEC (the elected CEC has the power to elect an additional 10 members to the committee).  This is simply because, unlike most other candidates who failed to make the cut, they merely did not secure sufficient votes from the delegates. In my case, it is clear-cut that the party delegates have specifically chosen to reject me, given my existing position in the party.  Therefore, it would fly in the face of the delegates’ decision should I find my way back to the CEC via the co-option exercise.

Over the past 15 years, since I quit the corporate scene and joined politics full-time in 2007, I have given my all to make a difference, both for the party and for Malaysia.  Despite the many struggles, challenges and pitfalls, the journey has given me the greatest joy as Malaysians fought tooth and nail against all odds in the 2008 and 2013, before finally beating the mighty Barisan Nasional in 2018.  

I am very, very proud to have played a significant part in taking down the world’s greatest kleptocrat, leading to his first criminal conviction in 2020.  For the first time in history, the former corrupt PM suffered the ignominy of being sentenced to 12 years in prison for abuse of power, and 10 years in jail for each of six counts of money laundering and breach of trust.

I am also extremely grateful to the fantastic HQ staff, in particular the publicity team, for making my tenure as the national publicity secretary (NPS) since 2008 one which has set the standards for everyone else to beat.  We have produced the best mascots, the bestselling books, the sharpest promotion materials, the most inspiring songs, the most popular political videos, the most innovative adoption of latest technologies for campaigns as well as the best utilisation of social media platforms to level the media playing field. 

Even after the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government, we have all worked our ass (sic) off in every campaign, including the consecutive state elections over the past year — Sabah, Melaka, Sarawak and Johor.  I am very happy that Sdri Teo Nie Ching has been elected the new NPS and I am fully confident that she can take the team to greater heights.

One of my fondest memories has to be the most meaningful Impian Malaysia campaign, which was born after the 13th general election in 2013.  With the support of the public who contributed more than RM4 million and hundreds of volunteers across Malaysia, we succeeded in completing dozens of basic infrastructure projects — such as gravity water pipes, kampung roads and solar electricity projects for rural marginalised Malaysians, particularly in the remote villages of Sabah and Sarawak. There are very few things in life which can grant better satisfaction than witnessing the joy of neglected villagers receiving fresh water direct into their houses for the first time in their lives. We even ran education and health camps to improve the well-being of the young and old in these remote villages. I would like to thank the party HQ and the CEC for providing me the support to run the Impian Malaysia campaign, benefiting thousands of marginalised Malaysians.

I would also like to thank Sdr Lim Guan Eng for giving me the opportunity to be his political secretary at the Ministry of Finance during Pakatan Harapan’s all-too-short 22 months in power.  Despite the brevity of the tenure, I am very proud of the lasting contribution to our achievements, including helping the rakyat save at least RM44 billion from just three legacy BN megaprojects — LRT3, MRT2 and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).  

Among our many other achievements, I am proud to have helped set up the RM2 billion MySalam fund, which has help more than 200,000 who have suffered from critical illness or have been hospitalised, as well as having played a significant role in restructuring the North-South Expressway concession agreement, saving the rakyat and the government up to RM43 billion over the concession period.  Unfortunately, many more of our "build back better" economic projects could not be realised as the rakyat’s mandate was betrayed by treacherous politicians.

Over the past 15 years, I am also very proud of attracting many young, idealistic Malaysians of great potential and calibre to join the cause in DAP to fight for a better Malaysia.  For the party to succeed and continue to receive the support of Malaysians at large, it must be relentless in renewing itself with better talent — especially if we intend to be the most competent party in government.  Perhaps my zeal in averaging up the quality of our elected representatives had the unintended consequence of offending some within the party, especially in Selangor where I was first defeated in the party’s state committee election in 2018.  

I have, however, no regrets at all in giving the opportunity to the young and talented, who will ultimately become the bedrock of the party’s future. I certainly hope that the party will remain fearless in promoting new talent, from within and without the party, so that DAP can continue to strengthen the trust given by the rakyat.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Sdr Lim Kit Siang for his guidance, inspiration and leadership over the past decades. He has announced his withdrawal from the CEC contest today, as well as his decision not to contest in the upcoming general election. I am proud that over the past two Covid-19-interrupted years, I played a major role in organising "Projek Siang". It is a tribute to celebrate and honour his contributions to the party and to Malaysia, where 80 Malaysians, including myself, produced 100 beautiful artworks to immortalise his struggles and sacrifices in his journey to build a better Malaysia.  These works are now on display to the public at Theatre Impian.

I call upon all party members and supporters to give their full support to Sdr Anthony Loke as the new secretary-general for DAP. Sdr Anthony has more than his hands full in the current political climate. However, I am confident that he will be able to lead the new generation of DAP leaders to reclaim the party’s rightful place in government.  I will continue to give Sdr Anthony my fullest support, including any assistance he might need from me, especially in fighting the next general election, the only difference being I will assist as an ordinary party member, and not as a CEC leader.

Once again, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all who have voted for me today, and all my supporters out there who have given me the courage and fortitude to fight and persevere over the years.  While I wasn’t expecting very high votes today, I certainly wasn’t expecting to miss the cut, especially in an enlarged CEC.  It is undoubtedly disappointing, but I accept the decision of the party delegates with an open heart. I have no regrets whatsoever as I have given my all over the past 15 years. I would not have done anything any differently at all despite the disheartening outcome today.

Thank you saudara-saudari. Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to serve the party.

Tony Pua,
March 20, 2022

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Anthony Loke is new DAP secretary-general; Lim Guan Eng made chairman