(Malacca, Friday): At its meeting on July 1, 1998, the DAP Central Executive Committee decided to convene special meetings of branch committee members in each state to allow for a full discussion of the issues of internal party democracy, party reform, nepotism and KOKS (Knock Out Kit Siang) campaign.
The CEC was gravely concerned about the persistent agenda in certain mass media to perpetuate the image that:
Members and supporters of the DAP are heart-sick that at a moment when the DAP is poised on an unprecedented political take-off, the DAP is plunged into a full-blown crisis which has threatened all the headways and breakthroughs we have achieved through the hard work of the Party in the past three years, and in particular in the last three-and-a-half months, to create a new political equation with a new national movement enlisting the support of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or even party affiliation to stand up for the causes of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
I can assure members and supporters of the DAP that I feel even more heart-sick than them as I had put my entire heart and soul to create a new political scenario, and when things are finally on the verge of a political take-off, the last thing I want is a party crisis which would deflect, impede and even destroy the promises of a new political movement in the country.
Party members and supporters ask why the crisis cannot be deferred till the Party Congress or after the next general elections. I would also like an answer to this question. But when the party crisis is forced on the DAP, then party leaders have no choice but to pull away from their 100-per-cent concentration on the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign and the national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance to divide their attention to it. The biggest beneficiary is undoubtedly the Barisan Nasional.
I have spent 32 years of my life under four Prime Ministers standing up for the rights of Malaysians to speak up and to criticise the government for wrongdoings and malpractices, resulting in two detentions under the Internal Security Act, conviction and sentence under the Official Secrets Act among other consequences I had to face. It would make a complete mockery of what I had dedicated the best years of my life, to create greater space for democracy in Malaysia, if there is no room for differences of opinion, criticism and dissent in the DAP.
It is just impossible for the DAP to stand tall in Malaysian politics for 32 years, despite the various ups and downs, if there is no room for differences of opinion, criticism and dissent in the DAP.
But what the DAP nor any political party or human organisation can tolerate is irresponsible, baseless and destructive criticism based on lies and falsehoods, aimed not to improve the party but to tear it apart.
For over a year, lies and falsehoods had been spread about the DAP leadership, that Lim Kit Siang had "changed", that he had reached special agreement with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to give him full and undivided support and to destroy the DAP in exchange for Lim Guan Eng’s freedom. But when there is an attempt to escalate the KOKS campaign inside the Party, creating a crisis in the Malacca DAP State leadership with the resignation of the entire Malacca State Committee, then there is no way to avoid the Party Crisis.
DAP is faced with the worst crisis in our 32-year history, which stems from both internal and external factors. While the internal DAP crisis is very debilitating, I am even more worried about the crisis the DAP is facing caused by a combination of external forces which do not want the DAP to succeed in creating a new political equation and breakthrough in Malaysia.
These forces would include the Barisan Nasional and certain mass media under their control. I must say I was confounded that the mighty, wealthy and powerful mass media conglomerate, Nanyang Siang Pao, without provocation, had suddenly decided to declare war on the DAP by writing a most nasty and vicious editorial against the DAP leadership last Tuesday, which was even more ferocious than what our traditional political opponents, the Barisan Nasional parties whether UMNO, MCA, Gerakan or MIC, had ever said about the DAP.
I had asked the "black hand" behind the Nanyang Siang Pau campaign to exploit the DAP crisis, destroy the DAP and "kill Lim Kit Siang" to step forward to justify this "black operation". For three consecutive days, NYSP denied me the fundamental right to reply to its nasty and vicious NYSP Editorial on Tuesday as what I said was completely blacked out! It would appear that the KOKS campaign is not just to be found in the DAP, but also outside the DAP involving external but powerful elements. It would appear that it is not just people inside the DAP, but outside the DAP, who think that for me "32 is Enough".
This is probably my greatest political trial in 32 years. Who am I compared to the might, influence and the tens of millions of ringgit at the command of the NYSP. I am prepared to be crushed by the NYSP corporate empire but I will not bow down to anyone, regardless of how powerful, mighty or wealthy it might be. I will not sacrifice my principles.
Whether I survive this biggest test in my life depends in the end on the DAP members and the Malaysian people. The DAP will not burn or boycott Nanyang Siang Pao as we will leave it to the Malaysian public to decide whether the NYSP campaign to exploit the DAP crisis to destroy DAP and "kill Lim Kit Siang" is to succeed or fail.
Although the DAP is undergoing a great crisis caused by both internal and external threats, I would like to call on DAP leaders, branches and members to immediately refocus all energies and resources to create a new political beginning for Malaysia in the 21st century in the next general elections
For the first time in Malaysian political history, the possibility of denying the Barisan Nasional a two-thirds parliamentary majority is very real. The recent Arau parliamentary by-election, which I had described as Richter 5 political earthquake, together with other seismic political events like the Bagan by-election (Richter 3) and the Teluk Intan by-election (Richter 6) point to a most exciting and challenging times in the coming general elections. This may be precisely why the DAP is faced with such a great crisis at present, and why we must persevere to show that we will not allow it to cause us to miss the historic possibility of creating a new political paradigm in Malaysia for the new millennium.