Many keen on Lim as adviser

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 29 Aug 2004

While party leaders are cautious about speaking their minds about the decision of DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang to quit his party post next month, many agree that he should take on the post of an adviser, reports A. LETCHUMANAN. 

SOME party leaders have strong opinions about DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang’s decision to relinquish his post after the party congress next week. 

However, they refuse to be drawn into an open discussion on the matter because the party elections will be held then. 

They are concerned that their views may affect the outcome of the elections, particularly among those vying for a seat in the party’s central executive committee (CEC). 

“The time is not right to speak out as it is a crucial time. A wrong message can be detrimental for the party elections,” said a party leader. 

Another leader said the time was not right to comment because the party elections would be next week. 

“If I were to say good things, people would say I am bodeking (currying favour) Kit (as Lim is more popularly known), but if I were to say otherwise I would be blacklisted,” he added. 

One other leader, in voicing the same sentiments, said he would not prefer to comment because it was a “very sensitive issue.” 

“It is a Catch-22 situation. Let the delegates make a decision,” he added. 

However, other party leaders believe that Kit Siang is still relevant and can stay on as adviser. 

At a dinner gathering in Malacca on Wednesday to welcome his son Lim Guan Eng’s return to active politics, the 63-year-old Kit Siang announced that the time was right for him to give up his party post. 

The timing of his announcement led some to believe that the senior Lim, also Ipoh Timor MP, was setting the stage for Guan Eng to hold the secretary-general post after the party elections. 

Guan Eng had been out of active politics following his 12-month jail term for two offences under the Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act 1997. 

Beginning last Wednesday, he can hold positions in the party. 

“He (Kit Siang) is already making his moves to deflect criticism that the party will be run by a father-and-son team,” said a party observer.  

“If Kit Siang were to continue playing the adviser role, the party will be run ala-Singapore,” said the observer who cited Lee Kuan Yew’s appointment as Minister Mentor in the administration of his son (Lee Hsien Loong) in Singapore. 

The observer also pointed out that Kit Siang had accepted nominations from the branches to contest a seat in the party’s CEC. 

The Sungai Pinang DAP assemblyman in Selangor, Teng Chang Khim, is one who receives Kit Siang’s announcement with open arms as he had urged the senior Lim to step down from the party post in 2001. 

“I still stand by what I said and I am delighted to see changes in the party, with Kit Siang relinquishing the chairman’s post,” he said, adding that the senior Lim could be an adviser. 

Taking a neutral stand on the matter, Guan Eng said: 

“What is important is not the post we hold but the role we can play to contribute towards achieving the party’s objectives.”  

Johor DAP organising secretary Dr Boo Cheng Hau said Kit Siang was a “good man” but the party needed a new image and direction, adding: 

“He is still needed in the Parliament.”  

Former Selangor DAP chairman M. Manoharan said Kit Siang should continue to provide advice to the party because of his vast experience. 

“He has made numerous sacrifices for the party, including being detained under the Internal Security Act,” Manoharan said. 

Come next week, the picture will be clearer as to the role of the DAP stalwart in the party.  

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