Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia has since its founding in 1968, been committed to the pursuit of a non-ethnic approach as the basis of its political struggle, be it in politics, economics, education and culture. Parti Gerakan has never relented, and will never relent, in our struggle for a truly Malaysian non-racial approach towards the attainment of a united, secular and socially just Malaysia, though the forms and modes of struggle can vary according to changing circumstances. This was the line of our party’s founding fathers. It remains our line to-day. It will be our line tomorrow. This consistency and steadfastness in our party’s commitment to the non-ethnic approach are premised on the belief that there is a large section of our society whose political consciousness is Malaysian, and want political representation as Malaysians.
Parti Gerakan is committed towards building a stable political environment in Malaysia. Such stability can only come about through continued commitment to our current long-tested system of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. Malaysians must renew their pledge of commitment towards this system and resist efforts aimed at its replacement. Equally important, consultations as a means of resolving conflict and differences must continue to be built into our political culture. Corollary, confrontation must be eschewed as an instrument of conflict resolution. Human Rights Commitment to parliamentary democracy requires not just its sustenance but its further strengthening.
Parti Gerakan is well aware that with the passage of time, demands for greater transparency and accountability as well as more human rights will surely be made. This is inevitable and almost irresistible. Evaluated objectively, these are just demands. Parti Gerakan is committed to this movement for a more open, transparent and accountable government. We are equally as committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined in our country’s Constitution, the United Nations Charter (Chapter X, Article 62) and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948. While we recognize that most human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and inter-related, we also share the view that the right to development as contained in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action on Human Rights adopted in June 1993 is equally a universal and inalienable right and hence an integral part of fundamental human rights.
Parti Gerakan believes that economic, social and cultural rights and freedoms such as the right to a job and shelter and freedom from starvation and illiteracy are as important and therefore should be placed on par with political and civil rights. Just as we believe in the interdependence of most human rights, we too uphold the principles of interdependence and indivisibility of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Promotion of human rights cannot be confined to political and civil rights alone but must be done in a balanced approach to encompass economic, social and cultural rights. To us, human rights and fundamental freedoms will be meaningless if Malaysia is devastated by social, political and economic instability and upheavals. Furthermore, while recognizing the universality of human right standards as reflected in the various international declarations and instruments, Parti Gerakan firmly believes, however, that the application and implementation of these standards must take into consideration the specific historical, cultural and religious norms as well as the level of economic development of Malaysia. Parti Gerakan also believes that the responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights in Malaysia rests primarily with the Malaysian state. International cooperation may be necessary in helping the Malaysian state develop its capacity to provide the maximum enjoyment of human rights by Malaysians. At no time, however, will Parti Gerakan agree to big foreign powers using the human rights issue as a guise for intervening into the domestic affairs of our country nor can we agree to it being attached as a condition for development assistance by these powers.
Freedom to Realise One’s Potential
To ensure rising productivity and increasing economic competitiveness, we believe that an environment must be created that will avail to ALL Malaysians democratic rights to develop and realise their potential to the full. In line with this, we believe in the continued liberalization, democratization and privatization of education, particularly at the tertiary level, though governmental efforts in this field should not be dwindled either.
Belief in Free Markets but with State Protection for the Poor
Parti Gerakan is of the view that the market mechanism is still the most efficient instrument of resource allocation. Reliance on markets should thus be the primary driving force in the generation of the economic wealth of the nation. However, markets can and do fail. Here, state intervention to correct market failures is of the utmost importance. To us in Parti Gerakan, the argument that markets are more efficient and hence should be used to the almost total exclusion of the state or vice-verse is extreme and irrational. Both markets and the state have a complementary and mutually re-inforcing role. The emphasis should be on the development of people-friendly markets where markets serve people and not people serve markets.
Just and Equal Society
Efforts aimed at creating a just and equitable society must continue to be a hallmark of governmental policy. This is to ensure that at no time will the fruits of development be largely appropriated by only a tiny minority, with the majority wallowing in deprivation and poverty in the midst of plenty. To this end, a governmental policy framework that is compassionate and caring not only to the physically handicapped but also the economically disadvantaged is thus of vital importance. Such discriminatory measures should at all times, however, be driven by economic needs and not ethnicity. The objective is to ensure equal access by ALL to opportunities generated by markets.
Protection of Environment
Policies pursued by both the state and private sector must be environmentally sound. Here, Parti Gerakan subscribes to the pursuit of sustainable development. Current patterns of consumption and production that are unsustainable must be discontinued and be replaced by patterns that are rational and sustainable. Efforts undertaken by the government may not be enough. These must be complemented and supplemented by both individual and international efforts. The latter encompasses increased allocation of financial resources on the part of the developed countries toward global environmental management as well as the transfer of environmentally sound technologies from the developed countries to help Malaysia safeguard its environment, without jeopardizing growth.
Role of Women
On the status and role of women, Parti Gerakan will take all appropriate measures to ensure the full development and advancement of all Malaysian women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with their male counterparts. These measures include:
1.the removal of obstacles to de facto equality in political participation and decision-making, thereby advancing their political status;
2.the advancement of Malaysian women in education, employment and health, with special attention being focused on problems faced by women living in extreme poverty, rural women and women in the informal sector of the economy;
3.pushing for more legislation to ensure gender equality and their effective enforcement; and
4.launching a nationwide battle against sex stereotyping which remains among the most firmly entrenched obstacles to the elimination of discrimination and is largely responsible for the denigration of the role and potential of women in Malaysian society.
On the cultural front, Parti Gerakan subscribes to its earlier position, as expressed in its Memorandum on Culture, that values and beliefs are more important aspects of culture than forms. Be that as it may, cultural forms are not to be dismissed as completely unimportant. Content is after all expressed through form and it is in actual practices that values are manifested and made meaningful. In the light of this, we believe that the best approach towards the issue of Malaysian culture should be to identify values that are common to all cultures while allowing for diverse cultural forms. Content can be localized while the forms of its cultural expression can be myriad and varied. To us in Parti Gerakan, the cultures of the different communities constitute a rich stock of national assets that should be preserved and protected. Therefore, an important guiding principle for the development of culture should be liberalism an open-minded attitude towards cultural patterns and development. To these may be added freedom, equality, justice, democracy, solidarity and science as further guiding principles for the development of culture.
No Money Politics
One worrisome development that often accompanies modernization and industrialization is the commercialization of politics and the politicisation of commerce and industry. This inter-twining of business with politics can often result in the development of cronyisrm, deviations in policy implementation, corruption and the stifling of enterprise. These are serious social ills which, if allowed to germinate and grow, can threaten to bring down the social fabric of a society. The avoidance of these thus necessities a separation of the two in Malaysia. Just as much as commerce and industry in our country should not be politicized, politics too must not be commercialized.