PETALING JAYA: DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang (pic) has denied hating his long-time rival former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who once detained Lim under the Internal Security Act.
Lim said he "never hated Tun Mahathir, I have never hated anyone," adding that "in politics you cannot be personal."
Lim, former DAP secretary general when Dr Mahathir was prime minister, said after he was released from detention under the ISA in 1988, he had asked Dr Mahathir if he was going to arrest then Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
"I told him, ‘I didn't come to ask you why you arrested me. I came to ask why didn't you arrest Najib’ because at the time, Najib was the Umno Youth leader. So there's nothing personal about it," Lim, also Gelang Patah MP, told reporters on Sunday.
(It was reported that Najib had led a rally in Kampung Baru during heightened tensions in 1987 evoking fear of racial clashes.)
Lim was among scores of opposition leaders, political activists and academicians arrested under Operasi Lallang in October 1987 while Dr Mahathir was the prime minister.
On his dissatisfaction with the changes Dr Mahathir had made as prime minister, Lim maintained that all that he had said about Dr Mahathir were on public record.
"The very fact that we can come together and work to save the nation is what's important now," he added.
On Friday, Lim had joined Dr Mahathir, opposition leaders and political activists in signing the Citizen's Declaration, initiated by Dr Mahathir, in calling for Najib's removal as Prime Minister.
The others included suspended Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, PAS election director Datuk Mustafa Ali and former Kita president Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.
Lim, however, declined to comment when asked about a statement issued by Mukhriz on Saturday that any successor to Najib would come from Barisan Nasional.
"I'm not going to comment on anybody’s statement. We are going one step at a time, and we have clarified the direction," said Lim.