Tributes poured in as DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang retires from politics after a 56-year stint.
Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) vice president Lim Wei Jiet described the DAP veteran as a ‘giant’ in Malaysia’s political arena.
Despite Kit Siang being detained and oppressed while serving in the opposition block, Wei Jiet said the DAP stalwart has never backed down from voicing out.
“If we read through the (parliament) Hansard, we can see that his speech makes most sense.
“Knowing when to make way for the younger generation to take over, that is a mark of a true leader. It is something we can all learn from him,” he said today.
The 81-year-old DAP adviser announced his retirement from politics today at the party’s 17th National Congress in Shah Alam.
The Iskandar Puteri member of parliament said he would refrain from offering himself in political positions and this includes contesting parliamentary or state assembly seats in the future.
He said DAP has grown into a major political party in the Pakatan Harapan coalition.
“Never before in the history of DAP is it more important that we must have unity, solidarity, commitment and resolve in our long-term commitment to realise the Malaysian Dream.
“I am privileged to share this journey to realise our Malaysian Dream to be a world-class great nation with many patriotic Malaysians, both inside and outside the DAP.
“The battle for the Malaysian Dream must go on until it is achieved but this is in your hands,” he said.
The recent Johor state general election, added Lim, was a salutary reminder that the party’s Malaysian Dream for a united, democratic, just world-class great Malaysia is a long-term political struggle.
“There are many ups and downs, gains and losses, but we must remain constant in our objectives and never compromise our principles and ideals,” he said.
On Twitter, many took the opportunity to thank Kit Siang for his services.
User @SimpletonED said it was the end of an era.
“And it turns out the late Karpal Singh and now Lim Kit Siang, always a thorn in the opponents side never made it as a government Minister. They served the nation in their capacities. Politics aside, theres no reason not to thank them for their services. Thank you.”
Suraya Aziz said Kit Siang’s huge contribution to this nation is tremendous.
“You pathed the way and set the standard for young politicians to follow. You are really a statesman and a fighter for democracy. Thank you sir.”
Michael Kong Feng Nian under the Twitterhandle @fnkong said Kit Siang has always been in the forefront of Malaysia’s political arena.
“Never one to shy from any fight, he has been persistent in his call for good governance.”
Anne Danam said Kit Siang was a progressive leader.
“Politicians like that do not come by everyday.”
In the DAP congress earlier, Kit Siang’s son and the party’s outgoing secretary-general Lim Guan Eng delivered a speech that paid tribute to his father’s contributions to the party when it was established in 1966 by 11 men.
“Eleven young men, many in their 30s, stood up to make a commitment with a confident vision of a young nation that is a free and democratic Malaysia based on the principles of racial equality, and social and economic justice, and founded on the institutions of parliamentary democracy.
“DAP was young then. Saudara Dr Chen Man Hin our first national chairman, was probably the oldest, in his 40s.
“In 1967, a 26-year-old young man Saudara Lim Kit Siang, was co-opted into the CEC.
“Little did they know then, that Lim Kit Siang would become a giant amongst Malaysian politicians for his brilliance, courage, indomitable spirit and loyalty to ideals and principles,” said Guan Eng.
The younger Lim hailed his father as the longest-serving Opposition leader in Parliament and that many ministers considered Kit Siang their only worthy opponent.
Guan Eng went as far to say that many international correspondents regarded Kit Siang as “the best prime minister that Malaysia will never have because of his ethnicity”.
“Perhaps this is the reason he has also been demonised and falsely maligned as being responsible for the 1969 May 13 riots in Kuala Lumpur when he was in Kota Kinabalu, being anti-Malay, anti-Chinese and anti-Indian. Kit embodied the DAP’s lonely struggle in opposition and ultimate success in winning power,” said Guan Eng.
Guan Eng also spoke of the countless death threats and detentions faced by his father before the Internal Security Act was abolished.
In a brief glimpse of their familial ties, Guan Eng said: “Our family is jealous of the time that DAP has taken away from him and that we have to share his love with the DAP.”
However, he added that their family fully respects and supports Kit Siang’s life-long determination to make Malaysian lives better.
“For many of us who know that without Kit Siang leading our veteran leaders, there would be no DAP today as well as many of us who remained in DAP during the painful days in Opposition due to his example or the young leaders here who joined DAP because they were inspired by Kit Siang, we want to thank you for all you have done.
“On behalf of DAP and the DAP family, let us thank you deeply and gratefully from the bottom of our hearts,” said Guan Eng.