I have been assigned by the party to contest in Ipoh Timor to lead the DAP political offensive to turn Kinta Valley’s 3 Parliamentary and 9 State Assembly seats as the heartland of the second front-line state to restore good and democratic governance in Malaysia and to defend the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” of Malaysia as a secular democracy with Islam as official religion but not an Islamic state
Media Conference Statement (3)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Wednesday): I have been assigned by the party to contest in Ipoh Timor to lead the DAP political offensive to turn Perak into a second front-line state and in particular the challenge of making Kinta Valley’s three Parliamentary and nine State Assembly seats as the heartland of the first 21st century challenge to restore good, clean and democratic governance in Malaysia and to defend the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” of Malaysia as a secular democracy with Islam as official religion but not an Islamic state.
I wish to thank the people of Penang, and in particular the people of Tanjong who returned me for three terms as their MP in 1986, 1990 and 1995, and the 24,176 voters of Bukit Bendera who voted for my candidature in the 1999 general election, although I lost by 104 votes.
I accepted the proposal of the Penang DAP leaders to come to Penang in 1986 to make Penang the front-line state in the DAP’s political cause for social democracy and Malaysian Malaysia, after the idea was broached for more than a decade after the 1974 general election.
My political move to Penang has mixed results. As far as the primary objective starting with the Battle for Tanjong in 1986 to make Penang the front-line state for the cause of a Malaysian Malaysia and to roll back the forces of communalism and extremism, it has been vindicated by the public admission by the fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in 1994 that his earlier nation-building policy of assimilation was a failure and unsuitable for a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia and that the DAP’s policy of integration is the only appropriate one. There is however still a lot to be done to give full meaning to such an important concession on the nation-building agenda.
However, the second and later objective of trying to capture Penang State Government, which was attempted twice, first in 1990 and the second time in the 1995 general election, was a failure.
After the 1986 general election, I was preparing to shift my family from Malacca to Penang, but I was only able to shift three-quarter way, as I was waylaid and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in Kamunting Detention Centre.
I only managed to finally complete my shift to Penang after my release from my second spell of 18-month ISA detention in 1989, and for the past 16 years, I have made Penang my home.
It is most heart-wrenching to relocate after such a long residence, which was what I felt when I had to move from Malacca to Penang. However, as a Malaysian, we must be prepared to do what is good for the people and country and put personal comfort and considerations as second.
Penang will remain a front-line state, especially with Karpal contesting in Bukit Glugor together with the tested and tried Penang DAP State leadership under Chow Kon Yeow, Chong Eng, Lim Hock Seng and Danny Law.
The challenge now is to also make Perak another front-line state to strengthen the forces for social democracy, justice, freedom, democracy and good governance; and secondly, to preserve and defend the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman