And today I share your pride and joy; that we are gathered here to celebrate the historic event our fellow Malaysians brought forth on March 8 - a Brave New Dawn.
I welcome the new faces among us. When we formed this party we knew a day would come when we would open our doors to a flood of Malaysians joining us on this noble mission. Your presence marks the beginning of a new phase for our party and for our nation.
I marvel at the support we have earned from our nation's youth and women. You have given us hope that Malaysia's future will fall into the hands of a generation that cherishes democracy and will continue the fight for freedom and justice.
With this Congress we embark on a major exercise to refocus and reorganize the party to reach new levels of discipline and new heights of effectiveness. We will take steps to ensure that our call for justice is heard loud and clear from the northern reaches of Perlis to the southern tip of Johor and all the way to the shores of Sabah and Sarawak.
Yet it was not too long ago that many believed this party had no future. They poured scorn on our aspirations and laughed at our dreams. Some even said we would just disappear!
They said multi-racial politics were impossible and our vision for a unified nation had all but expired. There are some whose conviction wavered and who believed that the ship upon which we were sailing may not reach its destined shore. To those who harbor doubt I say: trust in the wisdom of the people and trust not the pundits and cynics bent on supporting a corrupt and decadent establishment.
The desire for change is unstoppable. The people can no longer tolerate the abuses of the current government that affront us each day. The prevailing order prevails no more.
Never in the country's history have Malaysians in such great numbers exercised their right to vote out of office such an entrenched institution. Never before have the people set aside their racial and religious identities and called in a single voice for a Brave New Dawn.
Our successes in 2008 are immense and we should be immensely proud. After two successful elections we have a proven that the Pakatan Rakyat coalition is strong and unified, working together hand-in-hand for change.
We have also witnessed a government under siege and a ruling party in disarray. We have seen them strangle and suffocate the democratic process and we have seen them ignore the crisis of an economy in turmoil.
Yes there have been setbacks. We skirted with destiny on September 16 and despite our best efforts our march to victory has been delayed. I empathise with you and with the people of Malaysia. We are all forced to further endure the slings and arrows of an incompetent government that has lost touch with the people. Although our promise has not yet been fulfilled, the Pakatan Rakyat leaders and I remain committed to the agenda for change and our tenacity has never been stronger.
I call upon you to aspire — as only we united in our quest can — to A Brave New Dawn: Where every child has the right to quality education and every family feels safe at home and in their streets. Where we can believe what we read in the newspapers and what we watch on the television. Where the country's leaders will be honest, where justice prevails and where judges cannot be bribed.
I ask of you first as Malaysians and second as members of KeADILan, let us prepare ourselves with a renewed resolve and the courage of conviction that with our efforts a thousand flowers of freedom will yet bloom in Malaysia.
To my fellow citizens in the Pakatan States, you have humbled me with your support and I thank you. I say to you – let us work together to bring forth a new order and a better quality of life; a new measure of confidence in the accountability of government. I ask you to bear with us; the challenges we face cannot be overcome in a single month and some may take more than a year to redress. Much has been accomplished already, and soon our State Governments will report regularly their accomplishments and their plans for the continued development of our states.
To those living outside the Pakatan States the task before you is formidable. You believe in KeADILan and you believe that with Pakatan Rakyat the future of the country can be great. Yet you live in the stronghold of Barisan Nasional. We need your unwavering commitment and we need you to work harder than ever before so that Pakatan Rakyat's banner can be raised throughout Malaysia.
We in Pakatan Rakyat will continue to protect the rights of every Malaysian including the Malays and Bumiputeras, and strive to bring forth greater quality of life for all. We will reach out to our friends in Sabah and Sarawak - Ibans, Kadazans, Dayaks. Your cry for help has been ignored. We in Pakatan Rakyat say we hear you and we will support you.
Members of Keadilan: Your work has brought our people together. Look around you. Our ancestors might not come from the same place. But we are citizens of this nation and we each want this country to move in the same direction to make it a better home for our children and grandchildren who - we hope - will be living together peacefully. And for them we wish a nation that is prosperous where they can obtain a good education and find a decent job to support their families.
These are Malaysian problems. They are not just Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Dayak or Kadazan problems. They are ones that affect Sabah and Sarawak the same way that they matter to people living in Selangor, Penang, Kelantan or Johor. They are problems that we all face, day after day. And will continue to face them unless we work harder for change.
Today our nation is confronted with monumental challenges. The economy is in virtual crisis. Violent crime in our cities and villages has never been more pervasive. More Malaysians are jobless, or will lose their jobs in the coming year than ever before in our history. Our education system is crumbling just like the buildings in which our children attend school. Billions are wasted every year in blatant corruption while the poor and marginalized are left hoping for some reprieve.
We have called this gathering to celebrate our success but I am now calling you to arms. Let us renew our commitment. Let us resolve to build on what has been accomplished this year and make Malaysia great once again.
Let us fulfill our promise to our friends in Pakatan Rakyat, DAP and PAS, to build a strong partnership. We have shared aspirations for the country and we are stronger as a coalition than the sum of our parts. Together we will win the hearts and minds of the entire nation.
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