Kasthuri Patto will not defend her Batu Kawan seat in the 15th General Election (GE15), after serving for two terms since 2013.
Describing this as the hardest decision she ever had to make, Kasthuri said she was stepping down gracefully to make way for future leaders in the party and the country.
“DAP will always be family to me, my mother Mary Patto, my sister Shalini Anne and my husband Alain Morgan who has been a rock and confidante in this tumultuous time,” she said during a press conference at the Penang DAP headquarters on Thursday (Oct 20).
Kasthuri said that the party leadership tried to persuade her to rethink her decision.
However, she said after much thought, she stuck with her decision and has received blessings from the leadership.
She denied that she was being dropped by the party and that the decision was made on her own accord.
On her future plans, Kasthuri said she would continue to fight for human rights, abolition of the death penalty, criminalising child marriages, gender inclusivity, civil liberties and social justice on a different platform as these has been close to her heart and also the principles of the party.
The daughter of the late P Patto won the seat in 2013 with a majority of 25,962 votes.
She went on to retain the seat with a bigger majority of 33,553 votes in the 2018 General Election.
Patto was a staunch party man.
He was detained under the Internal Security Act 1960 twice, first in 1978 and then on October 27, 1987, under Ops Lalang, when he was placed in solitary confinement for 60 days.
Patto was Gopeng assemblyman at the time. Later, he became Sungai Pari assemblyman and Menglembu MP. He was Bagan assemblyman before he died in 1995.
In the wise words of Lim Kit Siang, Kasthuri noted, the party catapulted her to the world and she appreciated the support from the party to pursue this.
“In my last term as an MP, I was a member of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee for International Affairs and was elected as president of Parliamentarians for Global Action and am currently the DAP deputy secretary of International Affairs.
“I wish to thank from the bottom of my heart, (Mr) Lim (Kit Siang), who has been a father figure to me and to the late (Mr) Karpal Singh for embracing me like a daughter as I journeyed in politics as an elected representative and in life.
“My utmost love, respect and gratitude to the leadership of the DAP, chairman Lim Guan Eng, secretary-general Anthony Loke and the Chief Minister of Penang Chow Kon Yeow for your wisdom, direction and tenacity in facing imminent obstacles in the political landscape of Malaysia.
“To my party comrades, thank you for all your support and know that you will always have mine. To Chong Eng, chairman of DAP Women, for paving the way for more women representation in decision making positions, I am grateful for your persistence to see this happen.
“To my supporters and voters of parliament Batu Kawan, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to represent all of you in the Dewan Rakyat and to my officers in my service centre, I and the people of Batu Kawan thank you for your service all these years. It has been a true privilege to have served in my constituency under the DAP flag and I wish only the best to my beloved party and Pakatan Harapan to steer Malaysia to reach her full potential as a Malaysia for all Malaysians,” she said.