DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang said his wish, in conjunction with his 75th birthday today, is to see a realignment of progressive political forces able to restore Malaysia's battered image.

The Gelang Patah MP also said he would hold on to the dream of "a united, inclusive, moderate, democratic and prosperous Malaysia".

Lim celebrated his birthday in the company of family, friends, fellow politicians and members of the public at the Equatorial Hotel, Penang tonight.

"My ups and downs, trials and tribulations in the past 50 years (in politics) were a labour of love," he said in a statement.

He added that Malaysia could be an example to the world due to its success in multiracial, multi-religious, multilingual and multicultural nation-building efforts.

This included the capability of world-class political, socio-economic and educational achievements.

"It was this call to make Malaysia a nation all Malaysians can feel proud of – that was why I ended my journalistic career in Singapore to begin my political work to achieve the Malaysian dream," he said.

Thanking his classmates, comrades, relatives and friends, he said the dream was achievable although hope for political change was not realised in the 13th general election which was followed by the end of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

"However, in the past six months, Malaysians can again hope and root for political change and realisation of the Malaysian dream with the formation of Pakatan Harapan," he said.

He was referring to the new opposition coalition, formed last year comprising PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).

Lim added that Malaysia now appeared to have lost its way.

"In the heady days of Merdeka in 1957, the people in the country had high hopes and aspirations.

"When Malaysia was formed 53 years ago in 1963, our country was second in Asia after Japan in terms of economic development, prosperity and per capita income.

"... by the nineties, Malaysia had been left behind with the emergence of the Asian economic tigers comprising Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

"... today, Malaysia is even further behind the economic tigers as well as at risk of being overtaken by other countries in Asia, Africa and South America," he said.

Bogged down by a multitude of political, economic and nation-building crises, he said Malaysians had lost the self-confidence to re-make the world as displayed in earlier decades.

Using the movie "Ola Bola" as an example of the outpouring of the national spirit, he said it was time for the nation to emerge from the rut and restore their self-confidence to compete with the rest and the best in the world.

"We must rediscover our greatness as Malaysians." – February 20, 2016.


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