KUALA LUMPUR: After being dropped by DAP to stand in the Kepong parliamentary seat for GE14, incumbent Dr Tan Seng Giaw has launched a thinly veiled attack against the party’s leadership by drawing a comparison with his mentor, the late Tan Sri Dr Tan Chee Khoon.
“He (Chee Khoon) is more honest than most of these people (DAP). Chee Khoon did a lot of ground work and he helped a lot of poor people,” he said to The Star during an interview.
Chee Khoon, who was known as Mr Opposition due to his outspoken views in parliament, was first elected a Labour Party MP in 1964, then had co-founded Gerakan in 1968 and subsequently left to form Parti Keadilan Masyarakat Malaysia (Pekemas) in 1972.
He served in parliament under all three parties.
Seng Giaw first got involved in politics at the age of 34 by joining Pekemas in 1976 after he being approached by Chee Khoon.
According to Seng Giaw, Chee Khoon wouldn’t have taken the same approach as the Opposition did by attacking Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for his role in 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
“He was very different. He won’t do things that these people do. Instead, he will do what I do - operate on the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty. That is the rule of law.
“But, I suppose anything goes in politics and there is no need for the rule of law. “
The 75-year-old said that his views over the 1MDB scandal earned him brickbats from social media users, with many branding him a “traitor” and a “running dog”.
“Some even went as far to insult my ancestors. What am I supposed to do?”
The Public Accounts Committee deputy chairman said that the Opposition had in many times in the past, invited him to speak in ceramah’s alongside with Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on 1MDB.
“It’s very difficult for me. They wanted me to share the same platform as Dr Mahathir. But I never did because I’m probably going to say the same thing. Can they accept that?
“They want to ‘blacken’ him (Najib) so much that he lose. That’s the idea and that’s what they want me to do.”
At the same time, Seng Giaw maintained that he did not hold any grudges against Dr Mahathir for detaining him under the abolished Internal Security Act (ISA) during 1987.
“All I can say is I have no feelings over the matter anymore. When someone asks me how I feel, I can only describe my feelings as ‘hesitations’. I bear no hatred over that anymore.”
DAP’s decision to abandon its signature rocket logo used since 1969 for PKR’s logo appeared to have not sat well with Seng Giaw.
“The rocket logo embodies all the struggles in the last 52 years in making this a distinctive symbol that is accepted by the urban community. Obviously, people will feel strange that this logo isn’t used anymore.”
When asked if it will pose as a challenge for DAP leaders to educate its older supporters on its decision to adopt PKR’s logo, Seng Giaw conceded that it’s still too early to tell.
“One month is too short. But, whether or not they can succeed in using PKR’s logo, we can only tell when the ballot box is open.”
Seng Giaw who is a eight-term Kepong MP, was recently axed from the GE14 line-up in favour of two-term Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng.
The former DAP Selangor chairman first won the Kepong constituency in 1982 and has been its MP ever since.
On DAP's decision to drop him as a candidate on GE14, Seng Giaw said that it's the prerogative of the party's top leadership, and denied that it was due to his role in the PAC on 1MDB.
"In any political party, the leadership has the right to either appoint you as a candidate or not.
"So, I have nothing else left to say."
However, Seng Giaw said he will still continue to speak up and assist the people the best he could despite his sudden exit from politics.
“I will not stop doing what I did since 1976. I’ll continue to try my best to help those who are in difficulties.”