(Penang, Tuesday): It is intolerable and unacceptable that the KOKS leaders are trying to undermine the final Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign of "Keep Justice Alive, Keep Guan Eng Free"
The countdown for Lim Guan Eng has entered into the last six days before he appears before the Federal Court on August 24 for the final appellate hearing of his conviction and 36-month sentence for offences under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act by the Court of Appeal on April 1, 1998.
If the Federal Court upholds the Court of Appeal conviction and sentence, Guan Eng will begin to serve his jail sentence from Kajang Prisons on that day.
Since the Court of Appeal decision on April 1, 1998, more than 100 Support, Sympathy and Solidarity (SSS) with Lim Guan Eng programmes, whether ceramahs, round-table conferences, dinners, fasts, etc. had been organised in various parts of the country, which have all elicited tremendous response from Malaysians from all walks of life and regardless of race, religion or culture.
It is sad that when there is such a tremendous and unprecedented public support for the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign, which has broadened out into another parallel national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, there had been certain DAP leaders who had shown no sympathy, interest or concern whatsoever at the injustice suffered by Guan Eng and had given no support for the SSS Lim Guan Eng campaign. It may not be a coincidence that these party leaders are quite prominent in the KOKS (Knock Out Kit Siang) campaign.
What is worse, at a time when the SSS Lim Guan Eng campaign has entered into its final day-by-day countdown in the run-up to the Federal Court appellate hearing on August 24 these DAP leaders had also intensified and escalated their campaign to try to destroy public support for the SSS campaign which has launched its final theme of "Keep Justice Alive, Keep Guan Eng Free".
I have nothing to say if these DAP leaders do not want to support the SSS Lim Guan Eng campaign, but I think it is completely inexcusable and unacceptable for any DAP leader or member to be engaged in any counter campaign which is aimed at undermining the "Keep Justice Alive, Keep Guan Eng Free" campaign.
Today, two Penang DAP stalwarts, DAP Jelutong Parliamentary Liaison Committee assistant secretary, Guna and the DAP Jelutong DAPSY leader, Koid Teng Guan are taking part in a most meaningful programme of "shaving bald" ceremony to express their outrage at the injustice meted out to Guan Eng. On 21st June, 1998, DAP Bukit Mertajam leader, Ng Yeow Chong, was the first to "shave bald" to express support for Lim Guan Eng for being a victim of selective prosecution, and there will be another "shaving bald" ceremony before the Federal Court hearing on August 24.
I will say that what Yeow Chong, Guna and Teng Guan have done are a million times more honourable and commendable in trying to give voice to justice than what is being done by some KOKS leaders in trying to sabotage and destroy the "Keep Justice Alive, Keep Guan Eng Free" campaign.
These KOKS leaders have used various subtle ways to try to undermine and destroy public support for the SSS Lim Guan Eng campaign and now the "Keep Justice Alive, Keep Guan Eng Free" campaign, as in adopting MCA tactics against the DAP by publicly questioning the status of donations collected during the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign.
The KOKS leaders knew that the accounts for the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign were tabled at the last Central Executive Committee meeting on 10th August 1998, and as senior party leaders, they know fully well that there are proper party avenues to raise these queries, like the forthcoming DAP National Congress on August 22.
But their intention is not to use proper party channels to raise legitimate questions and issues about party administration, but to go public to besmirch the integrity of party leaders insinuating that they are guilty of misappropriation of public funds or criminal breach of trust, and thus at the most critical moment, to undermine public support for the "Keep Justice Alive, Keep Guan Eng Free" campaign.
The KOKS leaders have adopted the classic MCA tactics to try to undermine the credibility and integrity of DAP leaders by raising questions about the DAP Save Bukit China Fund, so that they could distract attention from the fact that the MCA had supported the Malacca State Governmentís plan to demolish the most ancient Malaysian Chinese cemetry hill in the country and that if not for the DAP Save Bukit China campaign, there will be no Bukit China in Malacca today.
What is even worse, if the Bukit China in Malacca had not been saved in 1984, all the other cemetry grounds in the country would have faced the peril of state government acquisition and Malaysia will see an intensified implementation of a nation-building policy of assimilation.
DAPís Save Bukit China campaign not only saved the most ancient Malaysian Chinese cemetry hill in the country, but saved all the cemetry grounds in the country from state government acquisition as well as saved the country from a policy of assimilation - as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad publicly conceded a few years ago that the government has abandoned its policy of assimilation which it had tried to implement earlier.
DAP leaders and members, as well as traditional DAP supporters, have expressed their outrage at the action of KOKS leaders who are prepared to go to lengths which the MCA and Gerakan have not yet done to besmirch the credibility and integrity of DAP leaders by creating fictitious and baseless issues about the SSS Lim Guan Eng campaign funds.
They feel very strongly that people who are prepared to go to such an extent to undermine the credibility and integrity of the DAP leadership have not only no right to be DAP leaders, they also donít deserve to be DAP members and should be sacked from the Party without any more delay.
I do not agree with the latter view as it will all end up with the final accusation that Lim Kit Siang is a dictator who wants to get rid of the KOKS leaders so that they could not stand for party elections and appeal for delegate support at the Party Congress this Saturday. As the highest policy-making body, I will leave it to the Party Congress to decide what is in the best and highest interest of the Party.
The KOKS campaign is a very well-funded campaign, throwing free dinner parties all over the country. At one such KOKS dinner in Bukit Bintang last week, a KOKS leader from Penang told me "not to return to Penang state politics".
He said: "Donít expect us to welcome you. We will take note of what you want. We wonít chase you away but neither will we welcome you."
I am not surprised by such sentiments, as otherwise, he would not be a prominent member of the KOKS team in Penang.
In order to acquire legitimacy for the KOKS campaign, the KOKS leaders have decided to fly the standard of "party reform", trying to present the picture that the battle royale in the DAP is a contest between the "ruling faction" and the "reform faction".
In fact there is no contest between the "ruling faction" and the "reform faction" in the DAP, for the "ruling faction" is the "reform faction". For three years the DAP leadership had been carrying out a party reform, renewal and rejuvenation programme and the reason why the Party Reform programme had not been as successful as I had wished is because of the indifference, non-co-operation and even sabotage of the KOKS leaders.
I just cannot understand how anyone can raise the flag of "party reform" when for three years he had not shown any interest, concern or support for party reform, renewal and rejuvenation activities. Between 10th December 1995 to end of June 1998, the DAP CEC held 21 meetings, and there is one leader who is now talking about party reform and amendment of the Party Constitution when he had not attended anyone of the 21 CEC meetings for 31 months!
The KOKS campaign has proposed a set of amendments to the Party Constitution designed to cripple and paralyse the party leadership if adopted by the Congress.
I agree that the time has come for a far-reaching review of the DAP
Constitution to see how it could be modernised to meet the challenges of
a fast-changing era, although those who claim that the present DAP Constitution
is not "democratic, relevant and meaningful to the members" are indulging
in another DAP-bashing to undermine public confidence in the credibility
and integrity of the DAP leadership to serve their own ulterior motives.
This is why the DAP Central Executive Committee is proposing to the DAP National Congress that a Party Constitution Review Commission be set up to review and submit recommendations on amendments to the DAP Constitution in keeping with the spirit of a New DAP to a Special DAP Party Congress which must be held within 12 months, which will also decide on proposals by branches for amendments to the Party Constitution.
I will like a full debate in the party to proposals that the Party Secretary-General for instance should be elected by direct elections. But the proposal that all the principal office-bearers in the Party, namely the National Chairman, National Deputy Chairman, five National Vice Chairman, Secretary-General, Treasurer, National Organising Secretary, National Publicity Secretary, International Secretary and National Director of Political Education, be directly elected at the National Congress, is a recipe for leadership anarchy in the DAP.
Despite being pointed out that no political party whether inside or outside the country practises direct elections for all the party principal positions as it would lead to permanent chaos and impotence of the party leadership, KOKS leaders persist in claiming that such a system is practised by Barisan Nasional parties - when they could not give any proof whatsoever.