Friends and colleagues from both sides of the political divide have paid tribute to DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, who announced his retirement from politics after 56 years today.
Umno’s Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz reminisced about the days when he was law minister and had the opportunity to work with Kit Siang.
“Kit Siang has been a good friend of mine. When he was the opposition leader and I the law minister, there were many issues that were debated but what was important was that it was never about personal feelings.
PKR communications chief Fahmi Fadzil said he was surprised by Kit Siang’s announcement at the DAP party congress earlier today.
“Kit Siang is a legendary figure and has led a storied life. He’s truly a towering figure in Malaysian politics as he always stood for his principles and is one of the most hardworking MPs. His work ethic should be an example to all.
“He pushed to bring in more Malays into the party. He has been the voice of conscience for Pakatan Harapan and has seen so much. He has been a part of history with his other cohorts like (the late DAP chairman) Karpal Singh.
“This may signal the end of an era but it comes at a time when DAP is having a change of guards, with Lim Guan Eng also stepping down as secretary-general.
“This will be a challenge for the young members, not just in DAP but also PKR and Amanah,” the Lembah Pantai MP said.
Bandar Kucing MP Kelvin Yii took to Facebook to thank Kit Siang for inspiring him and many others throughout his political career.
“For more than 50 years, he had been persecuted, vilified, cursed at, called a communist, son of Chin Peng, handcuffed, blindfolded, taken away and even thrown into prison.
“Thank you ‘laoda’ (leader) for inspiring us all and being a good example of perseverance, strength and hope. We are here today because we can stand on the shoulders of giants like Lim Kit Siang,” he said.
On Twitter, Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman praised the DAP veteran’s commitment to make a “Malaysia for all Malaysians”.
“He is a true Malaysian hero, patriot and statesman for all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion. Thank you for close to 60 years of service.
Lawyer-turned-activist Ambiga Sreenevasan also took to Twitter to thank Kit Siang for his services and said that not many politicians could retire with their humility, integrity and wisdom intact.
“A true patriot in every sense of the word. He suffered untold injustices in the early days at a time when no one could tell if he would come out at all or come out unscathed. Malaysia always came first for Lim Kit Siang. This move proves that. Godspeed, loyal soldier of Malaysia!”
Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who is also Amanah information chief, said Kit Siang had always been true to his principles and beliefs, and that was something that was rare in Malaysian politics.
“We appreciate his contributions and are sad to see him go.
“I am sure he will still continue playing a role in advising new leaders. He has had a very big impact on Malaysian politics and I hope he will still give us the benefit of his wisdom in the years to come.”
Kit Siang, 81, who is Iskandar Puteri MP, said he was withdrawing from the race for a seat in the central executive committee (CEC). He will also not compete in any general or state elections in the future.
Kit Siang had been in the CEC since 1966 and went on to hold the powerful secretary-general’s post for 30 years from 1969. – FMT