Lim Kit Siang 70 years young

Oon Time By Oon Yeoh
The Sun
Wed, 23 Feb 2011

PREMESH Chandran, CEO of Malaysiakini, once referred to Lim Kit Siang as “a walking encyclopedia of Malaysian political history” and for good reason.
Lim was first elected to Parliament in 1969, during the waning years of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s tenure as prime minister. As a politician, he has outlasted Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

When it comes to Malaysian politics this guy’s been there and done that, including being charged under the OSA and twice being detained under the ISA.

I’ve interviewed him about his time in Kamunting. For a guy as articulate as he is, he sure doesn’t have a lot to say about his experiences there. Some speculate that he feels bitter about being detained without trial. Others think he feels it was just a terrible waste of his time (although he did manage to learn Jawi and obtain a law degree while in detention).

Whatever the case, I’m sure he was never as down as he was after the 1999 general elections when he lost in Penang. Lim in his prime, could move to a new constituency and win that new area for DAP. Before the 1999 polls, he had been MP in Bandar Melaka, Kota Melaka, Petaling Jaya and Tanjung. Wherever he contested, he won.

He thought he could do it again in 1999 and instead of staying in the safe seat of Tanjung, Lim contested and lost in Bukit Bendera. It was a crushing blow. For the first time in his long career, Lim found himself in the political wilderness.

Sure, Lim continued to write press releases prolifically but his messages sounded tired and jaded. He was in danger of becoming a political has-been. A proverbial shadow of his former self.

Lim had one last chance at redemption. If he had lost in the 2004 general elections, that would have been the end of his career. It was a comeback bid worth watching and I wanted a ringside seat. I was working for theSun back then so I naturally chose to cover Ipoh Timur, the constituency Lim chose to contest in.

You should have seen Lim on the 2004 election trail. He had heavy bags under his eyes from lack of sleep and his voice was hoarse from the stump speeches he was making night and day. It may have been his ninth general election but Lim was campaigning like it was 1969.

After he won by a landslide, Lim returned to form and reminded everyone what it meant to have an effective opposition leader in Parliament. But his position as the top dog in Malaysian opposition politics would not last long.

By the time the 2008 general elections came along, a new force had emerged in the opposition political scene. His son, Lim Guan Eng, who spearheaded a charge into Penang, managed to do what the elder Lim had never quite managed: Wrest the state from Gerakan.

And with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as de facto leader of Pakatan Rakyat, Lim’s role today seems to be that of an elder statesman, which if you think about it, is quite fitting for a politician of his stature and experience. Lim turned 70 this week.

That said, I’m sure the prospects of the next general election keeps him young at heart. What else do you expect from a political animal like Lim Kit Siang?

  1. #1 by the reds on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 12:23 pm

    Uncle Lim, you are a fighter! Many talented people choose to stay away from Malaysia, but you choose to remain in Malaysia and fight for a better Malaysia! No doubt, you are truly a fighter!

  2. #2 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 12:40 pm

    Mr LKS,you are truly patriotic malaysian.Instead of choosing easy way out,you remain in malaysia for the rest of us.Words would not be enough to describe you at the status quo until new words are discovered.You are a great man.

  3. #3 by pulau_sibu on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 1:39 pm

    i am happy that some one else also wrote that uncle lim is 70-year YOUNG

  4. #4 by DemoCrazyman on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 11:06 pm

    can we have another 70 years of u? we can’t get enough of u. u r our hero

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Thursday, 24 February 2011 - 1:33 am

    There would be another heroes to come since LKS has already set the almost highest exemplary benchmark of political breakthrough as a legend.That would be his another vision of his ideal future legend.

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