Rais: Kit Siang deserves respect and recognition

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Dewan Negara President Rais Yatim has recommended that the government pay tribute to DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, who just announced his retirement from politics last Sunday.

Rais said, despite being an opposition politician, Lim deserved to be given national awards after more than half a century of service in the country’s political arena.

“The country should also pay tribute to him. What I emphasise is that opposition politics has a role and policy in the Federal Constitution,” he said in an interview published by Utusan Malaysia.

Rais said that all this time, he was also unaware that Malaysia was behind other democracies as opposition politicians who had been involved in the political arena for a long time were never given recognition.

Instead, he said, only politicians from the ruling party were appointed to posts and given awards.

“The question is, why wouldn’t someone who has been fighting for the community or Malaysia for so long be considered for any national award?


“He (Lim) is not a communist, he is an opposition political party representative and his party has also formed part of the government at times.

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang announcing his retirement during the party’s congress last Sunday

During the DAP congress on Sunday, Lim announced his retirement from politics and said he would not contest for any post in the DAP congress, as well as in any parliamentary and state seats.

Now in his 80s, Lim was first elected to Parliament in 1969 and is one of the longest-serving elected officials in Malaysia’s history.

According to Rais, with the advent of liberal politics, young people are more attracted to opposition politics because it is seen to be able to provide a check and balance to the authorities.

He also praised the efficient aspect of DAP administrations and said that they were not wasteful and community-based.

The matter, Rais said, had attracted more and more Malays to join the party even though there were times when he felt that the party was criticising the government recklessly and excessively.

He believed that Lim, whom he considered an old friend back to the days when Rais himself was in the opposition as part of Parti Melayu Semangat 46, should be studied as a leader in the opposition’s political struggle in the country.

“The role of struggle led by Lim may be used as an example for a new political science study of the politics of the country.

“Perhaps this is the time to study comparative political science in Malaysia through the lens of opposition seen from a constructive angle.

“Through Lim’s struggle, we can see that a person does not have to hold any position in the government to be iconic in the country’s politics.

“I believe Lim will always be remembered as an iconic opposition figure in Malaysia,” he said. – Malaysiakini