Young DAP leaders had met Lee before the 1990 General Election to ask him to contest elsewhere instead of the Bukit Bintang constituency.
DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang today admitted that there were attempts to get Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye to contest elsewhere before the 1990 General Election, but claimed they came from other party leaders and not him.
This comes a day after Lim denied there was such attempts, which led Lee to resign from politics.
The Iskandar Puteri member of parliament said he “just learnt” that young DAP leaders had met Lee before the 1990 General Election to ask him to contest elsewhere instead of the Bukit Bintang constituency.
“But these suggestions were not on behalf of the party leadership.
“It is regrettable that Lam Thye had maintained his lie that I had asked him to contest elsewhere apart from Bukit Bintang when this was not the case,” he claimed in a statement that was posted on his blog today.
Lim, in the same posting, also listed a list of headlines of his comments in the wake of Lee’s departure from politics.
He claimed that he had then acted as a mediator between Lee and the Federal Territory DAP committee.
Lim said this was because Lee, at that time, was convinced that he was the target of an “insidious campaign” within the Federal Territory DAP involving certain party leaders.
“Furthermore, if it is true that I had told Lam Thye that he was not to be nominated for Bukit Bintang constituency, it would be impossible to keep the news under wraps for 32 years — inside and outside the DAP!” Lim claimed.
On Saturday, Lim denied asking Lee to contest elsewhere as described in the prominent social activist’s recently launched biography “Call Lee Lam Thye: Recalling a Lifetime of Service”.
Lim claimed there was no such attempt and that Lee’s departure was a “mystery”.
In response, Lee said he stood by what he said that “every word is true” in the biography and that there was no reason to fabricate stories.
“If he (Lim) accuses me of telling a big lie, he is, in fact, not telling the truth. I can’t help it if some people have selective memories.
“I had said I quit the party because I was told by Lim that I would not be fielded to stand for the 1990 parliamentary elections in the Bukit Bintang constituency of which I was the MP for four terms,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Lee alleged that he was told by DAP leadership that they had identified a candidate to replace him in Bukit Bintang prior to his decision to quit the party.
This turned out later to be Wee Choo Keong – who would also fall out of favour with the DAP leadership in 1998.
According to Lee, the move to push him to another unidentified seat was because his “non-belligerent” style of politics did not sit well with the party leadership.
Lee, Wee, Fan Yew Teng, Yap Pian Hon, Hu Sepang, Yeap Ghim Guan and Kua Kia Soong were among those DAP veterans said to have clashed with the party leadership during Lim’s time as secretary-general, with some of them going on to form short-lived splinter parties like the Socialist Democratic Party and the Malaysian Democratic Party.
Lee had been a prominent leader in DAP prior to his retirement.
While he did not re-join politics, he was accused of selling out to the Barisan Nasional coalition and was the target of various rumours and allegations in this direction.
In his statement today, Lim alluded to this again by suggesting that Lee had inside knowledge of the coalition’s plans for the 1990 general election, based on the timing of his controversial retirement at the time.
“In retrospect, I believe Lam Thye knew that Parliament was to be dissolved in a week’s time and he made himself incommunicado by going overseas.”
Lee also said in his statement that he would no longer respond to any comment from Lim or anybody else, and would let the people be the judge in this issue.
“This is the simple truth. There is no point belabouring this or prolonging the issue. It benefits no one. It belongs to the annals of history,” he said.
Lee added that had he been allowed to remain as a candidate for the constituency, there would have been no reason for him to leave DAP.
Lee’s resignation from DAP on September 29, 1990 caused a political shock as he did not publicly state his reasons for resigning.