(Miri, Thursday): During my last trip to Sarawak, I have been told twice, the first time in Kuching and the other time in Sibu, that I have thinned and aged. I responded on both occasions that with the various pressures on me particularly in the past four-and-a-half months, it is a miracle that I have not collapsed.
The countdown has started for Lim Guan Eng, whose political fate and personal liberty would be decided by the Federal Court on August 24. Guan Eng may only have eleven days of freedom left. If the Federal Court upholds the Court of Appeal conviction and sentence of Guan Eng for both the Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act charges, Guan Eng would start his prison sentence at the Kajang Prisons on August 24 itself!
In the past four-and-a-half months, the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign had received tremendous support from Malaysians of all races and different parts of the country, for it is an offence against the most fundamental notions of decency, justice and humanity that a Member of Parliament who went to the defence of a 15-year-old girl to defend her honour, human rights and women rights should not only be disqualified as an MP, but be jailed for 36 months, with the victim detained at one time, while the high-and- mighty accused for statutory rape getting away scotfree.
In fact, the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign had been so successful, not only in highlighting the injustice of the Lim Guan Eng case, but also in crystallising the widespread and deep-seated grievances and dissatisfactions of the people that it had broadened into a parallel and even bigger national campaign - the national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance for all Malaysians.
If there is justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, Sarawakians would not have to suffer the brunt of the deathly so-called coxsackie virus epidemic last year, which killed 31 children. The pain of parents and those who lost their loved ones are still as shattering as when the tragedies took place more than a year ago.
If there is justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, Miri and Sarawak would not have to suffer a second haze disaster this year, after suffering an state-of- emergency after the Air Pollution Index (API) reached the unthinkable level of over 800 points.
If there is justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, the four-month-old water shortage crisis in the capital of a country with abundant rainfall would not have occurred at all.
If there is justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, the economic crisis would not have kept deteriorating, with no light at the end of the tunnel - with the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Composite Index crashing to the all-time low of 326 points and the ringgit weakening to 4.22 against the US dollar at the end of trading today!
There is a very long long list of a lack of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, which have all been clustered together by the Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign into a parallel, broader and more powerful national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
This is the important reason why Malaysia is poised on the threshhold of a new political scenario, as for the first time in my 32 years of politics, I feel that the prospect of denying the Barisan Nasional its two-thirds parliamentary majority is real and near - very achievable in the next general elections.
This is the hard work of DAP leaders not only in the past four-and-a-half months, but also in the past three years ever since the disastrous electoral debacle suffered by the DAP in the April 1995 general elections, in launching off a party reform, renewal and rejuvenation programme to create a New DAP which is relevant and meaningful to the aspirations of a new generation of Malaysians in a fast-changing era faced with completely new sets of challenges from those of twenty or thirty years ago.
For the past three months, in particular in the last four-and-a-half months, DAP leaders had been dedicating every ounce of their energy and every second of their time to help create the conditions for a new political scenario in Malaysia, something which is now tantalisingly near with the prospect of being able, for the first time in Malaysian history, to deny the Barisan Nasional its two-third majority in Parliament in the next general elections.
Unfortunately, there are people in the DAP who have been spending every ounce of their energy and every second of their time to wreck and destroy the political initiatives which the DAP leadership had launched in a multitude of directions, whether inside or outside the party, in the past three years.
I fully understand the deep disappointment and even disenchantment felt by DAP members and supporters at the party turmoils in the past two-and-a-half months when they have such high hopes for the party.
Let me state that I fully share their disappointment, and even disenchantment. In fact, I dare say that my disappointment and disenchantment is even greater than any felt by DAP members and supporters.
The DAP turmoils had been going on for some three years, except that they have only surfaced publicly in the past two-and-a-half months in the full glare of electronic and printed mass media.
At a time when our first and only thoughts should be how to take the party and the country to new political heights, nothing can be more frustrating and exasperating than having to deal with people inside the party who refuse to make any contribution whatsoever whether in internal party reform or opening up a new political scenario for the country, but only in leg-pulling and even stabbing in the back with highly negative and divisive activities through lies and falsehoods.
They have not only no interest or sympathy for Lim Guan Eng who has a 36-month jail sentence hanging over his head, refusing to make any contribution in the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign, but they are doing their utmost to undermine the campaign by discouraging public support, sympathy and solidarity with Lim Guan Eng with a catalogue of lies and falsehoods on television and the newspapers.
This is why I had said that the DAP is facing its worst crisis in its 32-year party history, not just because of what the people have read and seen in the past two-and-a-half months, but what had been going on inside the party, the leg-pullings and the stabs-in-the-back in the past three years!
The historic mission of creating a new political scenario to deny the Barisan Nasional its two-thirds parliamentary majority is already a full-time task. The national movement for freedom, justice, democracy and good governance is another full-time task. The Sympathy, Support and Solidarity for Lim Guan Eng campaign is another full-time task. Having to face up to a KOKS (Knock-out Kit Siang) campaign with party elements who are prepared to join forces with the Barisan Nasional to further the Barisan Nasional agenda, appearing nightly on television to help Barisan Nasional to try to destroy the credibility and image of the DAP leadership with lies and falsehoods - this is another full-time task.
I am not aware that I have thinned and aged, but I am not surprised. As I said, it is already a miracle that I have not collapsed.
I know Guan Eng is very worried about me, when he should be worrying about himself and his family. My wife, my two daughters and my youngest son are also very worried about me.
But this is not the time for personal worries. I am determined that I will not allow any leg-pullings and even stabs-in-the-back in the party in the past few years to frustrate the DAP from fulfilling its historic mission to help create a new political scenario in Malaysia by denying the Barisan Nasional a two-third parliamentary majority in the forthcoming general elections.
And to do this, I must somehow put in 48 hours' work into a 24-hour day, every day, every week and even every month. It must be done whatever the personal cost!
August 24 will decide Guan Eng's political life when the Federal Court holds its final appellate hearing on whether he must go to jail for Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act offences.
KOKS leaders want to end my political life very much earlier, not just at the Party National Congress in Kuala Lumpur on August 22/23, but instantly, as some of them have called for my immediate resignation.
I will leave my political fate in the hands of the DAP delegates at the DAP Congress, whether the KOKS campaign is to succeed, either in "knocking" me out from the new Central Executive Committee to be elected at the Congress or to isolate me so that I could only become their puppet even if I am re-elected as DAP Secretary-General.