I will announce my political future by this weekend

-  opening of the Paya Terubong DAP Branch service centre
Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Wednesday): I want to thank party leaders, members and branches for their patience and support in the past eight weeks while I welcomed and considered public feedback about my political future, as  they all felt that whether I step down as DAP National Chairman is a matter which should be decided solely by the party - the party leadership and membership - and not by outsiders.

They pointed out that whether Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad steps down as UMNO President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik as MCA President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu as MIC President and Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik as Gerakan President are accepted as  matters for their respective political  parties to decide and there had been no attempt by anyone outside these parties, whether in NGOs or NGIs (non-government individuals) to try to influence or mobilise public opinion that they should relinquish their party posts and retire from politics, regardless of the decision of their respective parties as has happened with regard to the DAP.

They also ask why those who are demanding that I should step down as DAP National Chairman to accept responsibility for the two electoral defeats of the party in the 1995 and 1999 general elections do not make similar demands that Parti Rakyat President Dr. Syed Husin Ali should similarly resign as party president and retire from politics for leading his party to electoral defeats in three consecutive general elections.

I do not want it to be misunderstood that I am in any manner suggesting that Dr. Syed Husin Ali should also retire from  politics should I decide to step down as DAP National Chairman, but these are legitimate questions which are being posed by the DAP rank-and-file.

The DAP Central Executive Committee at its meeting on December 12, 1999 had unanimously given me a vote of confidence as National Chairman.

I had been appointed DAP National Chairman  ten days earlier after I had tendered my resignation as DAP Secretary-General for 30 years to accept full responsibility for the catastrophic defeat of the DAP and failure to bring about a paradigm shift in Malaysian politics  in the 1999 general election to smash the political hegemony and two-thirds majority of the Barisan Nasional.

There was however a continuing clamour outside the party that I should resign as DAP National Chairman and retire from politics.

This was why  on December 14, 1999, I elaborated on my earlier statement  that I will not cling to any party position if the CEC or the party rank and file feel  that I should relinquish all party posts.

I said I would  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 and retire from Malaysian politics.

I stressed 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 have thought long and hard to the clamour from outside the party for  my resignation as DAP National Chairman and that I should retire from Malaysian politics.  I  shall announce my political future by this weekend.
Those who have been clamouring for my political retirement basically belong to two groups: those who have  political axes to grind against me and  those who are bona fide.

I believe that even those who have political agendas of their own are entitled to have the opportunity to give their views, and I will give them due consideration - after discounting their personal and political bias.

There is the view that I am an obstacle to the recruitment of new members into the DAP, as if the DAP leadership comprised oldsters who have no inkling about the aspirations of young generation of Malaysians.

The facts would speak for themselves.  The Penang DAP State Committee, for instance, with its 19 members, have an average age of 40, with more than fifty per cent with university or professional background.   Four of the State Committee members are in their 20s, five in their 30s, six in their 40s and four in their 50s.

Four or more than 20 per cent of State Committee members are women, making the Penang DAP State leadership the first to have the highest percentage of women participation - with the potential to be the first DAP state leadership to meet the international target of 30 per cent women participation in political leadership positions.

*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman