Barisan Nasional will "kenduri" all the way
(Penang, Thursday): There have been
several press reports today quoting me as saying that I deplored
any outside interference as whether I should step down as DAP national
chairman was a matter which should be decided solely by the party.
by Lim Kit Siang
This is incorrect as I never made such a remark in my speech at the
opening of the Paya Terubong DAP Branch service centre in Penang yesterday.
If I had held the view that this was solely for the DAP to decide, then
I would not have welcomed public feedback on pressures from certain quarters
outside the party that I should retire from politics as the DAP Central
Executive Committee had unanimously given me a full vote of confidence.
What I said yesterday was that party leaders, members and branches are
generally of the view that whether I step down as DAP National Chairman
was a matter which should be decided solely by the party and not
by outsiders, and they gave two reasons:
I do not fully agree with this prevalent view in the DAP or I would not
be going through the process of giving long and hard consideration
to the views from outside the party in the past two months, whether through
the mass media, both printed and electronic, emails, letters, phone calls
or direct contacts.
Firstly, 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 in the case of my position in the DAP.
Secondly, 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.
This has given rise to the view that I am ignoring the feelings of party
members and supporters, as contained in the following email I received
"You have made this exercise of making a decision of yours into
a highly personalised matter as if party members and your supporters may
not be able to make the correct decision. I may be wrong in arriving at
this conclusion but that is the feeling my friends and I get. Being an
upright and fearless leader for more than three decades I humbly submit
that you, Sir, have long lost that privilege of striking out on your own
disregarding wishes and aspirations of party members and supporters ( even
of your followers' you don't know)."
I want to assure this stalwart of a supporter and friend that I am not
making this decision a "highly personalised matter" to the exclusion
of the views of party members and supporters.
I am fully conscious of the solid support for me from the party leadership
and membership but I do think that even those who have political axes to
grind and political scores to settle with me should be entitled to have
their say as to why I should step down as DAP National Chairman and retire
from Malaysian politics - let alone others who are bona fide of such
Purely in terms of quantity, those who want me to resign as DAP National
Chairman and retire from Malaysian politics represent a minuscule percentage,
but these are very vocal in the media.
I have no regrets in being the first political leader in the country
to welcome public views as to whether I should continue in my present political
position or retire from politics. I do not know whether or
when Mahathir, Liong Sik, Keng Yaik or Samy Vellu would welcome such a
public feedback as to whether they should stay or retire from politics.
I appreciate the views of those who have conveyed to me their support,
solidarity and concerns.
Here are two emails I received last night:
1. "You should fight on politically. It's a disgrace to bow out
in this fashion. BN still regards you as the major political threat who
can see all BN's moves and the only one that can threaten them. They'll
kenduri all the way if you leave."
2. "Please allow me to share my thoughts and feelings on this same
topic. I fervently hope that I am not construed as didactic or judgemental
because that is not my aim nor wish. Personally I am of the view that you
should play a more active role in Malaysian politics. Allow me to enumerate
the reasons as follows:
Your 30 years of impeccable service as the Opposition Leader in the
Parliament will stand in good stead to guide the opposition parliamentarians
who are serving now.
The assumption that a new person in your place will deliver where you
think you have failed does not hold water simply because it is merely a
The DAP is in no position ( presently at least) to replace you and
your experience and wisdom. If you, of all the persons, foresake DAP, then
you are in fact forcing DAP to be at its weakest moment ever unable to
cope with the challenging times ahead attempting to grapple with IT and
the New Millennium. I am quite positive that you would not like to see
this possibility befall DAP after all the lifelong sacrifices suffered
not by you only but your family members as well!
Your opponents, real and perceived, understandably would like to put
an end to your illustrious political career. One should not be overly concerned
about their slanted remarks. It comes with the calling you have chosen
long ago. Therefore it is meaningless to lament and be too serious about
the calls made by your enemies and the foes of the Party who are bent on
wrecking you and more importantly the DAP because they perceive that you
and DAP are at your weakest moment. Please stand up and prove them wrong
one more time as you usually do!
"Please continue your invaluable service to the nation to achieve
more just Malaysia!"
I thank all who have responded with their views, on both sides of the spectrum
on whether I should continue as DAP National Chairman or retire from Malaysian
politics, whether bona fide or malafide, whether in the media, both
printed and electronic, email, letters, phone calls or direct contact.
I will think long and hard about my political future based on their feedback
and I will take full personal responsibility for whatever decision I will
make about my political future by Sunday.
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman