|Subject: Speech by President of Partidu
SPEECH BY PRESIDENT OF PARTIDU REPUBLIKANU
JOAO MARIANO SALDANHA, PH.D
AT THE OCCASION OF PARTY LAUNCHING
Venture Hotel, Bidau-Lesidere, Dili, 18 Dezembro 2007
Dear East Timorese friends,
From Memo to Tutuala, from north coast to south coast
In Oe-Cussi and Atauro,
Today we gather here to launch formally Partidu Republikanu (PR) in this young country, Timor-Leste. Through a long process, the Court of Appeal has registered formally Partidu Republikanu on 12 October 2006. Therefore, PR can make preparations to participate in the Elections of 2007.
This launching is part of socialization of the party. As part of consolidation of the party, yesterday, 17 October 2006, we had the First National Leadership Conference which 62 party leaders from National Directive Council, nine District Directive Councils and four mass organizations of the party, such as Republican Youth, Women, Workers, and Farmers participated in the conference that was held at Colegio Paolo VI, Dili, Timor-Leste.
Why Partidu Republikanu was established? When Timor-Leste became independent, we have started a new chapter in our history. We dreamed that the new country will protect and oversee all East Timorese, to work together to build peace, democracy, and prosperity in this new nation. We also dream that the new nation will be a country of opportunity for all its sons and daughters.
However, all these dreams have evaporated because of many displaced East Timorese in Dili and in districts. More than 40 people died because of stabbing, arrowed, or shot to death. Some have moved to districts and have to start a new life. All of them suffer, loss of property, and like us in this room, asking when does this crisis end?
We are saddened because this crisis caused the disintegration of the National Police (PNTL), the country almost broken into lorosae-loromunu (east-west), trust to F-FDTL worriors hit bottom rock, heavy economic contraction, trust to democratic institutions declined, and almost we are on the verge of civil war. In addition, many have lost jobs and poverty is increasing.
Because of this crisis, nowadays, peace and prosperity is like jewel, which is very hard to find in this country.
Dear my East Timorese friends,
The dreams to protect and oversee (fo mahon ho tau matan) all East Timorese, a country of opportunity for all East Timorese, and to reverse the crisis strengthened the drive to form Partidu Republikanu. This new party would like to work together with others to rebuild the nation. We work together under the light of people's voice because Partidu Republikanu believes in the adage, Vox Populi Suprema Lex or people's voice is the highest law. We must be sensitive to feelings of the majority, to their believes, to their culture, and to their common interests.
On 30 December 2005, a number of young East Timorese leaders joined in a meeting in Dili to share views, experience, and perceptions for the future of this country. We concluded, at the time, that this new country will face a great challenge because of discrimination and exclusivism. This situation needs to be reversed, which otherwise will create tremendous problem in the future. We all agreed that to reverse the course, we need an instrument that can change the conditions from within the system. That is to establish a political party as an instrument to contribute to the national development that is inclusive and that peace and prosperity will prevail.
However, different from NGO and company, political party must gather many support and it cannot be founded by a small group. Therefore, we started by establishing a Preparatory Commission with two main agendas, namely to discuss with more people and prepare to legalize the party at the court.
In subsequent meetings of the Preparatory Commission, different names emerged for the new party. In the end, we settled for Partidu Republikanu and abbreviated as PR. Republikanu because we want to strengthen this republic as what our founding fathers and deceased worriors' want, not a monarchy. We also want this republic to be democratic state, not a dictatorial republic or a monostate republic. We also want a republic that can protect and oversee (fo mahon and tau matan) to all East Timorese.
The key objectives of PR are threefold. First, political objective is to create a democracy that guarantees justice, equality, and tolerance in Timor-Leste. We want to build a nation that can fo mahon ho tau matan to all East Timorese, not only to protect and oversee one group or one region of this country. All the sons and daughters of this country need attention and support of the state.
The economic objective of PR is to promote industry and trade that benefit all East Timorese. We want to promote economic development that guarantees prosperity to all East Timorese. Briefly, we want this nation to be a land of opportunity (nasaun ho oportunidade), not a country of despair and insecurity.
The socio-cultural objective of PR is that PR wants a society that values their moral and cultural values. We would like to uphold East Timorese customs and traditions and adopt other ideas and customs to enrich and strengthen our society.
Therefore, the symbol of Partidu Republikanu is a man tying a scarf and blow a buffalo horn, which symbolizes the identity of the East Timorese. Blowing horn means to deliver a message or people's voice. Buffalo is a cattle that has social and economic values to East Timorese. It is a strong animal, which means that PR has power to undertake development.
The flag is white with a green circle at the center and letters PR in yellow are written at the center of the circle. White means clean hearts and minds. Green means progress (development) and protection of environment. Circle at the center means target. PR letters in yellow means peace. Therefore, white flag, with green circle at the center with yellow letters at the center of the circle means that the Partidu Republikanu with clean hearts and minds undertake development with clear objectives in peaceful situation to achieve prosperity.
Dear my East Timorese friends,
If trusted by people, Partidu Republikanu has six priorities to develop this nation, security, employment creation, law and order, education, health, decentralization, and gender equality. In security area, we would like to professionalize the police force (PNTL) by conducting more training and clear division of labor between political appointment and PNTL Command. This is important to not politicizing the police force as happened in the recent crisis. We will combat violence from all sources because PR is a non-violence party and believes in pacific ways to achieve its objectives. In the area of defense, PR will use diplomacy as the instrument to defend the nation. When diplomacy is good, defense also is good because we do not have enemies, especially from neighboring countries. When diplomacy is good, if we have difficulties, our friends will come for rescue, such as what happened with the recent crisis when Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, and Malaysia helped us to restore order in Timor-Leste. We will promote international trade, sports, and culture to strengthen the relationship of our country with other countries. Therefore, border districts such as Bobonaro and Suai and Oe-Cussi Enclave will learn Indonesian language at schools to facilitate trade, culture, and defense of the nation.
PR also would like to encourage dialogue between F-FDTL Command and the Petitioners to address the issue of petitioners once and for all. At the same time, PR also wants to see a dialogue between F-FDTL Command and Major Alfredo Reinado and his group to address this issue as well. On the other hand, we would like to create a defence force with international prestige by redefining the role of the F-FDTL to focus on emergency, peace keeping in the world, and natural disaster. Because discrimination first emerged within the F-FDTL, PR plans to create a Promotion Council to address the issues of promotion of soldiers and officers. In addition, we also want to create a military tribunal to solve problems that arise within the F-FDTL. We also want to have clear division of labor between the Ministry of Defence and the F-FDTL Command so that to avoid politization of the armed forces or denigrate their prestige.
Dear my East Timorese friends,
This crisis was worsened by the involvement of many youths. They do not have jobs and have nothing to rely on. If ever trusted by the people, PR would like to create jobs for the youth through agriculture development, rural infrastructure creation, private sector development, and macroeconomic stability. Agriculture is important because the majority of East Timorese live in this sector. We will create more opportunities for training for the youngsters and build agriculture infrastructure as well as a source of job creation. Therefore, we will allocate at least 20% of the national budget to agriculture sector. We would like to complement the agriculture sector development with development of rural infrastructure, especially water and sanitation, electricity, roads, schools, and health centers such that the rural population can have access to the basic services.
PR also would like to attract investors to create jobs and raise income of Timor-Leste. Therefore, we will fight red tape and bring down taxes to zero for capital and basic need goods. To strengthen the private sector, PR will nurture competition, especially in telecommunications industry to bring down prices and provide better services to the consumers. We will work hard to bring down the electricity cost to lower the cost of production and low-income families can have access to electricity. PR also will work hard to bring pipeline from Timor Sea to create jobs, raise income, develop the infrastructure, and strengthening defence.
We also plan to regulate the labor market such that Timor-Leste will only import skilled labor, such as technical and managerial skills. This is important to protect low skill jobs for East Timorese.
Dear my East Timorese friends,
The National Parliament does not listen the people's voice, they do not trust the state institutions, lack of coordination of state institutions because suspicions against each other. Therefore, PR plans to strengthen the capacity of the national parliament so that the parliamentarians understand and relate themselves to the needs of the common people.
PR plans to decentralize activities to districts and sub-districts by having direct elections of district and sub-district administrators. This is important so that people can know their likely leaders in the future. To facilitate decentralization, we also plan to encourage banking and financial institutions to have operations in rural areas.
Decentralization will also be conducted to ministries and divisions. We need to trust the ministries to make decisions, including allocation and expenditures of the state finances. We also need to decentralize state activities to the private sector by fast tracking procurement process, including bidding process that is transparent, fair, and competitive. Therefore, significant reforms will be implemented in procurement if people entrust these reforms to PR.
Our view is that decentralization also will help budget execution. Today and in the recent past, budget execution is slow because of centralization and red tape.
Nevertheless, decentralization will be followed with monitoring and evaluation. Therefore, PR plans to establish an audit court to monitor and audit state programs projects.
My Timorese friends who I respect,
Our judicial system meets great challenges because they lack integrity and facility to work. People do not trust the judges, prosecutors, police, and prisons. Therefore, we need reforms in this sector as well as supporting them with adequate tools and equipments to undertake their jobs properly.
To contribute to national unity, PR will criminalize discriminatory words, such east-west (lorosae-loromunu).
We also recognize private land ownership, customary ownership, and institutional ownership. Land, which is used by the Church for social objectives, state will recognize.
PR will erase analfabetism in 2015 for young people. We also want that our schools have good quality. However, state alone cannot do everything. Therefore, decentralization also is needed in education sector. The government must support private schools that have quality, particularly the Catholic schools.
PR wants Tetum as the number one official language in Timor-Leste. All official documents must be written in Tetum before translating into Portuguese and the working languages. To help the youth, private sector, and government to participate in globalization, PR plans to promote English as the third official language in Timor-Leste, along with Tetum and Portuguese.
Religion and ethics are important for the growth of kids and youth. Therefore, religion and ethics must be taught in schools since primary school through university.
In health sector, PR wants to eradicate malaria by 2015. We will start the pilot project in Atauro island. We also want to reduce maternal and child mortality.
PR will make efforts to help internally displaced East Timorese to return to their houses so that they can re-start their lives. The government must support them through security in hamlets and materials for reconstructing their houses.
Because of the long conflict, there are many widows and orphans in this country who need state must support. PR will also support the veterans of resistance for their transition to normal lives. Some have just been recognized as heroes by the President of the Republic, some are doing business, and others do not have jobs and skills. The state must do more to help them in transition to normal lives.
According to Census 2004, 49.3% of population in Timor-Leste are women. However, most of women stay at homes to cook, take care of children, and laundry. If PR gets the support of the people, we will create a Ministry of Gender and Minority Affairs with the objective to increase the participation of women in politics, public administration, military, and other sectors. In addition, this ministry also will oversee the minority groups, like religion and other minorities because we want a state that can protect and oversee all East Timorese.
PR wants to see the elections of 2007 free and fair such that political parties, including PR can compete. This will allow people to choose freely the parties based on their programs and competence of leaders. PR believes that 2-3% electoral threshold is reasonable. We also want to count the votes on the spot. In addition, we also want that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) supervise and monitor the elections. Therefore, the NEC must have its own funding and has presence in all ballot boxes so that the elections can be free and fair. On the other hand, the Technical Secretariate for the Electoral Administration (STAE) must be an independent body and depends only to NEC.
However, the precondition for the 2007 Elections is security. If we push for the elections soon, we will risk security and compromise the liberty of the voters because they will not have chance to determine their choices freely.
As a new party, we would to say that Partidu Republikanu is preparing for the Elections whether it is sooner or later.
My East Timorese friends who I respect,
I would like to ask you why choose Partidu Republikanu? Because PR has a clear priority in national development. As a new party, PR wants to look to the future by respecting our history. We respect Fretilin as the pioneer party for independence. We also respect CNRM and CNRT, which unified the Timorese in the struggle for independence. In addition, we also respect FALENTIL as the fighters for independence.
We want to look into the future to a country that can protect and oversee all East Timorese. Therefore, who are marginalized politically, economically, and culturally, Partidu Republikanu open its doors, eyes, and hearings for them.
Our policy is to reach our objectives in pacific ways and non-violent. Therefore, we will work with all components of the society, work together with the UN, ASEAN, CPLP, and democratic countries to promote peace, democracy, and prosperity in Timor-Leste and in the world.
Finally, PR can implement these programs because PR have the competence. If we do not have competence in certain areas, we will work with other parties and other components of the East Timorese society to fill this gap.
Once again, PR wants to fo mahon ho tau matan ba Timor oan hotu in peace, democracy, and prosperity.
Viva Republikanu! Thank you very much.