(Kuala Lumpur, Saturday): In the past few days, I had almost made daily calls to the mass media to be fair and responsible in their reporting of the DAP troubles because some mass media seems to be serving a higher agenda either to present the DAP in the worst possible light, as trying to perpetuate the vicious image that there is no room for criticism, dissent and differences of opinion in the DAP, or to perpetuate the impression that the DAP troubles stem from my opposition to party reforms.
There appears to be a third agenda in certain mass media, to vilify me through negative reports and write-ups by painting me as an opportunistic, heartless, ruthless, unscrupulous and unprincipled political leader.
One such example is the "News Analysis" in Page 2 of New Straits Times today, which carried the bold headline "Another cry of victory for Kit Siang but at what price?", the implication being that I derive great joy from a so-called "victory" in the most recent DAP crisis, particularly the resignation of four Penang state leaders from their party posts.
I do not feel any sense of victory but only great sadness at the latest DAP crisis, the KOKS (Knock-Out Kit Siang and in Penang also Knock-out Karpal Singh) campaign and the resignation of four Penang State leaders from their party posts.
Malaysians who hope that the DAP can spearhead a national movement for change in the next general elections are rightly aghast that the DAP has been plunged into what is probably the worst crisis in the 32-year history of the DAP and the party seems to be seized by a paroxysm of self-destruction and asked why these DAP troubles could not be postponed.
Having worked so hard in the past three years to carry out party reform, renewal and rejuvenation and to make the DAP fully relevant to the needs and aspirations of the new generation of Malaysians - as in promoting information technology, the mass signature campaign on the haze disaster, the anti-corruption movement to create a new culture of zero tolerance for corruption in political and public life, national conferences on important issues like labour, health, education and women's rights, the nation-wide initiative taken by the DAP on the national economic crisis in the past 12 months, the Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign and the latest national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance - I want to see every party leader, member and supporter to give his or her heart and soul to the great battle we are waging for a more just, equal, democratic and prosperous Malaysia.
We are now on the threshold of a new political equation in Malaysia, where on the common platform of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, opposition political parties, NGOs and patriotic Malaysians can transcend differences of race, religion, class or party affiliation to take a common stand for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance to save Malaysia.
As the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance, June 22, 1998 said, "If there is justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, the economic crisis in Malaysia would not be so protracted and intractable, with no light at the end of the tunnel after nearly one whole year of economic turmoils; there would be no corruption, cronyism and nepotism in Malaysia; there would be no water shortage crisis in a country with abundant rainfall; there would be no politically-motivated selective prosecutions; there would be no crisis of confidence in the independence of the judiciary; and finally, there would be no patent injustice meted out to Lim Guan Eng."
At this important watershed of the nation's development just before the new millennium, I do not want to see from any quarter any development which could distract from the historic challenge of mobilising Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, class or party beliefs in a great movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance - let alone having on our hands the worst crisis in the DAP's 32-year history.
I do not want this DAP crisis, and would prefer that this DAP crisis come after the next general elections, which might be held any time. But it is precisely because of the imminent general elections that the DAP crisis had been precipitated, with the KOKS campaign intensifying in Penang, Perak, Selangor, Federal Territory, Sarawak and Sabah.
I respect the right of anyone to support or lead the KOKS campaign if he or she is convinced that this is in the best interests of the DAP, but this should be an open, fair, clean and democratic campaign and not an underground or surreptitious campaign based on lies, falsehoods and character-assassination of party leaders and inducements of plum parliamentary and state assembly seats in the coming general elections..
Let those who support and lead the KOKS campaign speak up and present their case so that party branches and members can decide whether it deserves support or not. In fact, I am myself prepared to support the KOKS campaign if the grounds presented are persuasive enough.
However, up to now, despite my requests, the leaders of KOKS campaign have not explained the grounds for their slogan of "32 is Enough", implying that as Suharto had fallen after 32 years as Indonesian President, the time has also come for me to leave the Malaysian political scene.
The KOKS campaign is not a breach of party discipline but the democratic and inalienable right of DAP leaders and members, and I think that the party must take the KOKS campaign seriously although no one has emerged to admit to the KOKS campaign or the KOKS campaign slogan of "32 is Enough", although such a campaign had been conducted for a year or so. May be the Party should conduct a full and thorough debate on the KOKS campaign to provide channels for those who support it the fullest opportunity to present their views and argue their case.
Although there are those who would like to see the DAP crisis bog down the DAP leadership and frustrate the movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance from taking off the ground and gaining momentum to create a new political equation in Malaysia, let all loyal DAP leaders and members and all like-minded Malaysians resolve that they are not going to allow this to happen, that we will double and treble our efforts to make the national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance a manifestation of the people's power in Malaysia which must be seriously reckoned with by the government.