MALACCA: Would he or won't he show up? This was the question on everyone's mind as the tables started to fill up at the DAP's 39th anniversary dinner in Malacca on Friday night.
So when party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng arrived at 8.30pm, newly elected Malacca state chief Goh Leong San interrupted his speech to announce Guan Eng's presence.
“Please welcome the arrival of our secretary-general,” said Goh.
Smiling and waving to the applauding audience, Guan Eng made his way to his seat at the main table.
Even bigger was the smile worn by former Malacca DAP chief Sim Tong Him, largely seen as Guan Eng's nemesis. Sim said he was glad that Guan Eng had turned up.
“My fears and worries are gone now,” he said, referring to his concerns that the event would not proceed smoothly.
Guan Eng’s presence, he said, would help foster party unity.
“Our leaders and members are all mature and well-mannered,” he added.
Guan Eng was ousted from the state line-up after last Sunday’s election. His wife Betty Chew, who also failed to get enough votes, was not at the dinner.
Guan Eng’s father Lim Kit Siang and central executive committee member Teresa Kok also did not turn up.
Among the committee members who were there were Teng Chang Khim and Dr Boo Cheng Hau.
This meant that Guan Eng was the highest-ranking representative from the central leadership to attend the dinner.
While other leaders made their speeches, Guan Eng fiddled with his mobile phone and read the newspapers.
On several occasions, there were members who came up to him for a handshake but Guan Eng appeared cold. However, by the time Guan Eng went on stage as the last speaker, he was back to his normal self.
“I will definitely attend the dinner to see the Malacca folk,” he said in his opening remarks.
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