Formed in October 1965, Democratic Action Party
(DAP) Malaysia was formally registered six months
later on March 18, 1966 as a social democratic
party irrevocably committed to the ideal
of a free, democratic and socialist Malaysia,
based on the principles of racial equality,
social and economic justice, and founded on
the institution of parliamentary democracy.
(SETAPAK DECLARATION, made in the first DAP
National Congress in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur on
July 29, 1967).
In August 1966, the official organ of the Party,
the Rocket, made its inaugural appearance.
In October 1967, DAP joined 55 other social
democratic, socialist and labour parties all
over the world as a member of the Socialist
International (SI) at the SI International
Conference in Zurich, Switzerland.
DAP contested its first general election in
1969 and won 13 Parliamentary and 31 State Assembly
seats, securing 11.9 per cent of the valid votes
However, DAP experienced its ups and downs
in the various general elections contested in
the 42 years between 1969 and 2008, from securing only 9 Parliamentary and 11 State Assembly seats in the 1995 general election to capturing 28 Parliamentary and 79 state Assembly seats in the 2008 general election.
Through thick and thin for over three decades,
DAP has been second to none in the battle for
democracy, justice, equality and a united multi-racial,
multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious
DAP leaders, members and supporters did not
flinch when many of them had to pay a heavy
price for their political beliefs, losing their
personal liberties when detained under the Internal
Security Act, prosecuted, convicted and jailed
on politically trumped-up charges or victimized
in a large variety of ways.
DAP succeeded in the first 30 years of its
struggle to save Malaysia from the catastrophe
of permanent national division and eventual
disintegration by breaking the hardening mould
of a nation-building policy based on assimilation
rather than integration.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) government had publicly
admitted in 1994 that the assimilation nation-building
policy which it had originally attempted to
implement, with its one language, one
culture approach, which refused to recognize
the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious
and multi-cultural reality of the country, was
unsuitable for a plural society like Malaysia.
DAPs consistent and unwavering advocacy
of the integration approach to nation-building
and uncompromising opposition to any assimilation
policy eventually prevailed.
In the 1999 general election, DAP teamed up
with Parti Islam SaMalaya (PAS), Parti Keadilan
Nasional (Keadilan) and Parti Rakyat Malaysia
(PRM) to form the Barisan Alternative (BA) in
an attempt to shatter the BN political hegemony,
attributed to its undisrupted two-thirds parliamentary
majority the root cause of the BNs
political arrogance, undemocratic rule and repression
of the fundamental rights of Malaysians.
Unfortunately, however, subsequent events that
transpired, especially the insistence of PAS
in forming an Islamic State an idea deemed
incompatible with the pluralistic nature of
a Malaysian nation cherished by DAP forced
DAP to pull-out from the coalition two years
DAP remains unswerving in its commitment that
Malaysia shall remain as a democratic, secular
and multi-religious nation. DAPs co-operation
with the other three opposition parties was
based on the BA common manifesto, Towards
A Just Malaysia in order to break the
BNs political hegemony and smash the chains
of repression fettering the rights and freedom
of Malaysians and undermining justice, freedom,
democracy and good governance. Once the common
objectives of the BA coalition had been tainted
by one component party's insistence that the
secular nature of this country should replaced
with an Islamic one, it was no longer tenable
for DAP to continue in the BA.
Nonetheless, the biggest challenge for Malaysia
lies in the future and not in the past
to realize a Malaysian Malaysia where all Malaysians,
regardless of race or religion, can enjoy justice,
freedom, democracy and good governance.
In March 2008 general election, a new political scenario emerged in Malaysia with the unprecedented denial of two-thirds parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional and its loss of power in five states - Penang led by a DAP Chief Minister, Perak, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan. This led to the formation of Pakatan Rakyat by the three opposition parties - DAP, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and PAS - which together totalled 82 of the 222 parliamentary seats to usher in a just, united and democratic Malaysia.
DAP shall persevere with its political commitment
to bring about a fair, just, democratic and
united Malaysia so that the country can rise
up to the challenges of the information technology
and globalization era and take its rightful
place in the international arena.
DAP, to make Malaysia a better society