Speech by Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun for
Launching of “Responding to the Call of Times”
9 January 2010 (Saturday)
Ground Floor, Wisma MCA
A very Good morning ladies and gentlemen.
A very warm welcome to all of you and would like to thank you for taking time off your precious weekend for today’s launch. This special edition of “Responding to the Call of Times” documents journey of Wanita MCA since the new leadership took over on 17 October 2008 up until Dec 2009. It also features our collaborative efforts with women and sisters at various levels - from partnership with Chinese-based organisations to cooperation with NGOs.
This publication chronicles our joint efforts, our journey in advancing shared causes and achievements thus far. We humbly believe that in the past one year, we have built a good foundation with our partner organisations. We would continue to foster a close working relationship as together we could achieve more in our shared goals and beliefs. As such, in this launching ceremony, the emphasis is not merely on Wanita MCA’s efforts- in terms of what we have done and achieved but rather this booklet is a tribute to all of you, who have walked with us and will continue to walk with us. Therefore, we would like to sincerely thank all organisations and individuals- some of you are present today while some who could not make it today, for your invaluable contribution and support rendered to us. It is our sincere hope that we would be able to continue working together through interaction and cooperation in future in extending our hands to the people at large and particularly to women in advancing their rights and interest. Guided by our core missions and vision, we hope to play a role in steering the nation through advocating for causes which we believe in, monitoring of laws and policies, and realising mission and vision set forth through action and services.
The theme of this booklet “Responding to the Call of Times” was conceptualized primarily based on endless challenges encountered from both within and outside the party in the past year. Morale has been dented following defeat in the March 2008 general election. Further, successive squabbles in the wake of the party election held on 18 October 2008 have caused delays and setbacks to our efforts in the process of transformation. But assertive political party and social actors which act in the interest of the people, must at all times have the ability to drive away clouds and mist, forge ahead with determination, perseverance and courage. Further, we must have appropriate attitude grounded with our vision in responding to the call of times.
Time has changed. The people now have different expectations from political parties. The March 2008 general election results evidently showed us that what the people want is not just lip service or minor benefits. People are fed up and jaded by abuse of power and corruption. They want democracy, transparency, openness and justice. The reason we were defeated in many electoral districts was neither because we did not serve our electorate nor because we did not perform well. Rather it was the service provided by us which has failed to prove to the peoples that we have the ability to change the overall trend of abuse of power and corruption. We failed to convince the people of our ability and sincerity in rectifying errors. Consequently, if we were to continue with past approaches of being contented with superficial harmony while turning a blind eye to the rot beneath such harmony; if we are unable to safeguard democracy even within our own party but choose to endure and compromise in silence; not only will democracy which mankind has been fighting for centuries vanish overnight, thus we will never be able to face the people with dignity and pride! Thus, how do we convince the people that we uphold democracy, transparency, openness and justice??
In the past one year, we persisted in marching forward steadfastly together, hand in hand with Wanita MCA Central Committee members, grassroots leaders and members amid various challenges and turbulences. Within a short span of one year, we have successfully implemented the Wanita MCA’s 5 Plans based on the 7 Objectives, which was strategically planned for a term of three years. We have seen remarkable records of achievements in the implementation of some plans while one plan with preliminary results; another in the preparation process ready to be implemented and finally two plans at the initial stages of implementation.
One notable achievement is the setting up of 31 Women and Children Aid Units nationwide. Initiative in line with the objectives and plans which is showing preliminary results is marked by the Political Strategy Bureau with continuous efforts such as presenting memoranda to relevant government agencies and expressing political views and opinions through the media. While the Women Entrepreneur Development Centre (WEDC) falls in the ready-to-be launched preparatory process, recruitment and training initiatives for the Elite Teams and Beliawanis are under way.
Ladies and gentleman, this nation, society and the party belongs to everyone. Not any individual or sex could claim ownership. The institution of a Women’s chapter or Wing in any association or party primarily aims to provide a platform for women. Such gender-specific structures are not intended in any way to restrict us or limit us within those walls rather they aim to provide support and enabling environment for women to step out of boundaries defined by traditional gender stereotypes and also to breakthrough glass-ceilings as a result of patriarchal conventions. In addition to placing emphasis on women’s interests and issues, we must also be concerned with issues in relation to the economy, politics, culture and education. Our stand; our views and recommendations; our efforts; our voice and will to lead will be visible in any issues under the sun which is related to the people.
Ladies and gentlemen, we may have encountered bumps along the way, some hardships in the process, but we have no regrets. Because when we find ourselves at the door-step of a great era with waves of change and at the cross-roads of right or wrong, we need to step out of the passive and submissive mindset and attitude of merely following and accepting without questioning. In view of right or wrong and taking into consideration the future of the party, we must stand forward before our sisters to inform them with a clear and resounding voice as to “What is our direction” and “Where our future lies”.
Responding to the call of times, we must be more determined and persevering than ever.
Responding to the call of times, we must discard our reserved attitude and inward looking approach.
Responding to the call of times, we must be clear with our objectives and never unwaveringly compromise when it comes to key issues and matters of principle!
Responding to the call of times, we are undaunted by any challenges and
we shall resolutely march forward！
Ladies and gentlemen, let us continue to work together to strengthen and materialise our respective action plans in their various stages- whether completed or still in the process of implementation or at the initial stages of implementation, as our concerted effort to develop a credible and reputable female leadership and to cast as a model of women’s participation in nation-building.
Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone again as this publication is a culmination of efforts from all of us. Just like the jigsaw puzzle where it would not be complete without any piece, this publication is no exception. It would not have been possible without the tireless efforts (which include late nights) of the editorial team. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Editor-in-Chief Ms Chua Fong Ling and her team members namely Eunice Yap Lay Keat, Lee Shook Fong, Connie Liew Mei Shiau, Ng Ooi Ling, Joulyn Lee Hooi Ling and Ivy Lim Mei Fong. Special thanks also to the Secretariat of Wanita MCA and Roselin Leong. And not to forget the production Company Adspeak Sdn Bhd.
Thank you. May I wish everyone a very happy and meaningful New Year.