The Battle for Ipoh Timor is not a fight between Lim Kit Siang and Thong Fah Chong but a fight between the defenders of 46-year Merdeka “social contract”, renewal for democracy and restoration of good and clean governance and their opponents or sham supporters
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Thursday): I have come to Ipoh to carry out my latest DAP assignment to contest in Ipoh Timor in the 2004 general election to spearhead the DAP political offensive in the Kinta Valley to make Perak the second DAP front-line state in the pursuit of the DAP’s ideals for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in the new millennium of the 21st century.
In my 38 years of political life, I have always regarded myself first and last as a Malaysian, transcending race, religion, gender and territory, in furtherance of the DAP’s objectives of social democracy and a Malaysian Malaysia. Because of this, I was prepared to take the word of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance all over the country, to contest in Malacca, Selangor, Penang and now in Perak, and even to be detained twice without trial under the infamous Internal Security Act.
In a way, I had already become “anak Perak” 17 years ago, when against my will, I was compelled to spend 18 months in Kamunting as a guest of His Majesty’s Government during the 1987 Operation Lalang mass arrests under the Internal Security Act, turning my coming to Ipoh to contest in the 2004 general election into a belated “homecoming” for me to Perak.
May be, I should thank the former MCA MP for Ipoh Timor, Thong Fah Chong for the party’s assignment to contest in Ipoh Timor – for in a way, the decision for me to contest in Ipoh Timor in the 2004 general election is not unconnected with my arrest by the police in this very constituency at the Pasir Pinji market on June 6, 2002 when I was launching the “No to 929 campaign” to defend the 1957 Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia had been conceived by our forefathers of the major communities in a solemn national compact that Malaysia shall forever be a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO.
Thong Fah Chong had instigated my police arrest in the Pasir Pinji market in June 2002 on the ridiculous ground of distributing a seditious pamphlet without police permit – with the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail dismissing the police arrests as most unfounded when is nothing seditious in the most patriotic action to defend the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” that Malaysia is a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, and to call for the rejection of the UMNO “929 Declaration” of September 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic State.
Let me state from the outset that the Battle for Ipoh Timor is not a fight between Lim Kit Siang and Thong Fah Chong but a fight between the defenders of 46-year Merdeka “social contract”, renewal for democracy and restoration of good and clean governance and their opponents or sham supporters.
For me, my success or failure in my latest DAP assignment to make Perak the second-frontline state for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance will be judged, not just by the individual outcome of the Ipoh Timor parliamentary contest, but whether I could help to ensure that the three parliamentary and nine state assembly seats in the Kinta Valley constituencies of Ipoh Timor, Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah can become bastions for justice, democracy, freedom and good governance and most important of all, as the impregnable fortress to preserve, protect and promote the 45-year Merdeka “social contract” which conceived Malaysia as a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO.
In the 1999 general election, when I moved from Tanjong parliamentary constituency where I had been Member of Parliament for three terms, i.e. 1986, 1990 and 1995, to contest in Bukit Bendera, it was to win back the constituency, once a DAP: stronghold but lost by the incumbent DAP candidate in 1995 with a 2,918 majority. I did not succeed in winning back Bukit Bendera, losing by a 104 majority.
I am now moving from Bukit Bendera, where I lost with a 104-vote majority, to Ipoh Timor where the DAP lost with a bigger majority of 2,217 votes in 1999. This itself illustrates that I have a more difficult task in front of me.
There is no doubt that all the “big guns” in MCA and Barisan Nasional, whether Perak or national, will be moved to Ipoh Timor to try to “finish me off for good”!
Because of all these factors, I would rate my chance in Ipoh Timor as at best 50-50, for I will be fighting not just Thong Fah Chong, but the entire MCA and Barisan Nasional machinery and even government.
I need the support of every Malaysian in Ipoh, the Kinta Valley, Perak and in fact the whole country of Malaysia in this fight of Ipoh Timor for the sake of future generations of Malaysians to live in a country where there is justice, freedom, democracy, good governance, progress and prosperity, fully founded on the Merdeka “social contract” of the nation as a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state, whether ala-UMNO or ala-PAS.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman