I will not tarry a day longer if I have outlived my political usefulness


Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya,  Tuesday): I thank the DAP Central Executive Committee for its unanimous vote of confidence in me as National Chairman  last Sunday.

When Sdr. Fan  Yew Teng called for my resignation from all party posts to take responsibility for the DAPís catastrophic election performance as a result of DAPís co-operation with PAS in Barisan Alternatif, I said that  I leave my political future in the hands of the CEC and the party membership and that  I will not cling to any party position if the CEC or the party rank and file agree with Fan that I should relinquish all party posts.

I thank the CEC for its confidence in me although its unanimous vote of confidence  will not quiet the clamour from certain quarters particularly outside the party for my total resignation from all party positions.

Even last night, at an  election post-mortem conducted at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, such clamour for my resignation from all party posts surfaced, although it was a "private" discussion of NGOs and political parties.

I want to make it clear that I will not tarry a day longer if I have outlived my political usefulness for the cause to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and to build a new Malaysia.

I will make use of the next two or three months to get direct feedback from the public as to whether I have outlived my political usefulness and whether, although I have the unanimous support of the CEC to continue as National Chairman, I should give in to the clamour from certain quarters outside the party and resign as National Chairman.

In the recent eight-day general election campaign, Malaysians have seen the power of the mass media - although used for bad and dishonourable ends - to shape minds and opinions, to the extent that I could be painted as the greatest non-Malay champion of Islamic state and that  if I am elected,  the Chinese cannot  eat pork, take  alcohol,  go to temples,  beautiful women cannot find jobs and that there would be a chopping of hands and feet.

I have not fully realised until recently that the insidious power of the mass media had been used in the past several  years, through falsehoods and half-truths,  to characterise me as an autocrat, dictator and even a tyrant, on the same scale as  Dr. Mahathir Mohamad if not worse - and the atrocious  public image that my political enemies have suceeded in creating for me.

After my first parliamentary defeat in three decades on Nov. 29, 1999, for instance, the Gerakan people went round the Bukit Bendera constituency to spread word that I am living a life of comfort as I am getting a pension of RM30,000.  Yes, I have pensions - which are more than 10 per cent of this figure of RM30,000 but definitely not more than 20 per cent.

In fact, Lim Guan Eng and myself are now both unemployed.  Guan Engís position is even worse.  I still have pensions. He has lost every sen of his parliamentary pension and gratuity as a result of his disqualification as an MP for five years for fighting for the honour, womenís rights and human rights of a 15-year-old victim of statutory rape.

But we are prepared to soldier on provided we have not outlived our political usefulness.

(14/12/99)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman