My two political "mistakes" in the last few months

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Friday): I am very touched by the continuing concern, support and  encouragement of Malaysians of all races, religions and political faiths urging me not to yield to pressures for me to resign from all party posts to take responsibility for the DAP’s  recent catastrophic election performance.

On Dec. 28, 1999,   another former DAP Member of Parliament who had left the party posted a long article on the Malaysian electronic media, Malaysiankini, setting out the reasons why  I should retire completely from politics.

He castigated what he described as "full-grown men and women" arguing about whether I should remain in the DAP  leadership "as if they didn’t understand the ABC of democracy".

He demanded that I should resign from all DAP leadership positions as "Democracy is about taking responsibility".

I thank this former DAP MP for his views, which I would take into account when I decide my political future  during the Chinese New Year holidays.  In doing so, I would also be taking into account whether a person who preaches "Democracy is about taking responsibility" had practised such a principle himself when he was a DAP MP and standard-bearer.

I have received many inputs, through emails and open letters (some through the media and others sent to me directly). I thank them all.

I am particularly impressed by "An Open Letter" dated 24th December 1999 on my two political "mistakes" in recent months which I would like to share with Malaysians.

Hand-written by "Your supporter", it reads:

"An Open Letter

Mr. Lim Kit Siang
Chairman, DAP

"Dear Kit Siang,

"Re - Continue The Good Works

"I am slightly younger than you and am an exco of a professional body for many years.

"I am surprised you made a second mistake within the last few months by announcing that you would, after getting public opinion, decide before the Chinese New Year whether or not to continue the chairmanship of DAP.  Your first  mistake was to continue to be part of Barisan Alternative (BA) despite of the fact that the Chinese swallowed fully all the blatant lies dished by all the mass media.

"Why I said that was your first mistake was because, the ideal of BA was superb. However superb an ideal was, once you noticed that it was being subverted by lies which you could not stop, you should abandoned it immediately and changed course. You were against monstrous and huge wave of dirty lies and to persist against this was plain foolhardy.  A seasoned politician like you should have noticed it and should not persist to be part of BA, at least for this election.

"For the second mistake you made, you are welcoming all persons including persons with axes to grind to come forward to decide your future.  There is nothing much more pleasurable for these parasites than to draw their sharpened knives and plunged them to your chest.  You will find the Wee Choo Keongs and Hu Sepangs come in full force and the mass media will be just too happy to assist them in every possible ways to influence the public that you have to go. Nothing is much more important to them than to see you go. After you are gone, then all the devils in all shapes and sizes will come out openly and having got their revenges, will go on a rampage against the very principles you have fought throughout your adult life.  Why give them this pleasure?

"You know in life, majority is not always right, all the more the majority have been fed with poisons. As a layman, I think it is not fair to you and your family to continue to sacrifice, as you and your family had sufferered enough for us. However, on a selfish basis and for the public good, I want you to continue to fight for our rights.  Your life-time efforts will come to waste if at this critical moment you pull out.  If at all anyone can esnure a ‘two-party system’ in Malaysia, it is you! Please ensure this legacy before you leave the scene! You are sorely needed at this critical moment. You have taken us so near our ultimate objective to smash the BN arrogance, that not to complete it is a SHAME, and a total let-down to us. Let history record that you are part of the team that ‘broke the camel’s back’. And I won’t miss for the world to see you are there. So be strong and say ‘No’ to the vultures who are ever ready to pounce on you. You should not FAIL! I hope very much that you will soldier on. Please don’t let me and others down!  May god bless you. Thank you.

"Kindest Regards

"Your supporter"

I am very touched by the sincerity, forthrightness and most important of all, the great support given to me by this "exco of a professional body for many years".

I know that there are many outside the Party who want to plunge their "long knives" into me, regarding me as the greatest obstacle to their political advancement.

However, I believe they are entitled to their views and I welcome them to publicly say what they have to say.

I had never minded criticism. For instance, I appreciate very much  a comment piece in Sin Chew Jit Poh on Thursday on DAP’s reform where the writer rightly pointed out that "DAP wants to be reborn, it cannot depend on sympathy".

DAP does not want sympathy - what we need is support, commitment and the preparedness to stand with DAP in the next ten or twenty years to forge a paradigm shift in Malaysian politics where politics will be issues-centred as on questions of justice, freedom, democracy, good governance, environmental protection rather than dominated by race or religion.

Whatever my political future, the DAP’s political struggle for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance must go on.

Until I decide on my political future during the Chinese New Year holidays, I will continue to carry out vigorously my duties as DAP National Chairman, including initiating unprecedented consultations with luminaries in the Malaysian juristic circles on the constitutional case of the millennium - the convening of the new tenth Parliament not in accordance with the Constitution, placing at risk the legality of all laws and motions passed by the tenth Parliament!

I will begin with my consultations today and I propose to convene a Round Table Conference on the Constitutional Case of the Millennium in the second half of January 2000.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman