Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leaders, DAP Secretary General and MP for Petaling , Mr. Lim Kit Siang, to DAP youth officials at DAP Hqrs at Petaling Jaya on Friday, 28th Nov. 1980 at 8 pm
Resignation as Party Secretary-General
The Party’s defeat at Pengkalan Kota by-election in Penang had been most disappointing, and there had been sorts of reasons advanced to explain the DAP’s defeat, and all sorts of theories advance to find a scapegoat for the DAP’s defeat, in particular people outside the Party.
The favourite theory is that the DAP had fielded a wrong candidate. The decision on the DAP’s candidate in Pengkalan Kota was taken unanimously by the Central Working Committee, and I can say even now that is the Party had the opportunity to re-choose a candidate for the Pengkalan Kota by-election, the Party would have chosen Sdr. Teoh Teik Huat, for the simple reason that in the circumstances of the by-election, he was the most suitable candidate.
I have no doubt whatsoever that if party member or the public could be privy to the deliberations of the Central Working Committee when deciding on the candidate for Pengkalan Kota by-election, they would be agree with the Party’ choice. However, there are certain thing which I am not prepared to divulge publicly, even to party member generally.
As a result of this, a situation has arisen where in the past few week, a malicious campaign had been carried out, in particular in some Chinese publication, seeking to destroy in particular my political credibility, as in claiming that I was solely responsible for the choice of the candidate with a view to advance one ignoble motive or another.
I am aware that as a public figure, one must be prepared for public calumny. However, much as I am ready, and had in the past, bear all forms of unfounded and baseless opprobrium heaped upon me, all sorts of base and ignoble motivations attributed to me, the recent incident is more serious than what has happened in the past.
The Pengkalan Kota by-election is only one of the set-backs which the Party had faced in our 15 years’ struggle, and because of the concentration of the Politics of Money in the by-election, I am confident that the Party’s forward march would not be seriously affected, provided we are capable of learning from the mistakes of every setback,
After 14 years, the DAP is on the threshold of a new era, which was discussed and charted in the Cameron Highlands meeting of the Central Executive Committee and the DAP MPs and State Assemblymen’s Seminar on August 8, 9 and 10, this year. In conjunction with the DAP;s 15th anniversary the Party would launch a new Rebirth, and carry out a Cultural Revolution but one without Red Guards where there would be a rededication and remotivation of Party leaders and members to the ideals of the Party, a heightening of the ideological consciousness of Party cadres, the creation of a more organised, cohesive and disciplined party structure and a more effective mobilization of the Party’s suppurtter.
This new challenge of the DAP in the new Decade of Eighties would call forth great imagination and dedication for DAP leaders, but the fundamental perequisite of the success of such a new era in the DAP is the achievement of even greater discipline and ideological commitment among Party members then we have ever achieved.
It is in this context where I feel that the campaign to destroy my political credibility in the wake of the Pengkalan Kota by-election defeat has greatly affected my effectiveness as Party Secretary-General.
It is not because the Party’ decision on the Pengkalan Kota by-election is incorrect, for as I said, I have no doubt that if I explain the reasons for the choice of the candidate, all whether inside or outside the Party would endorse the choice. But there is such a thing as personal honour which I cherish, and although I will continue to be wronged, I will not do what should not do just to liberate myself from the malicious campaign to destroy my political credibility.
Secondly, I am prepared to bear the responsibility such a public misunderstanding, as far as I am personally concerned. But where such a unfounded misunderstanding is attached to the Party Secretary-General, affecting his political credibility, then the Party’s interest must be taken into account.
To ensure that the post of the Party Secretary-General of DAP does not suffer from such a malicious attempt to destroy its political credibility, I have last week written to the Party National Chairman, Dr. Chen Man Hin, tendering my resignation as Party Secretary-General at the Central Executive Committee meeting on Dec. 4 1980.
The DAP despite its setback in Pengkalan Kota, has still new heights to scale both Penang and in Malaysia. But there are more things to be done form now onwards, and I feel that this could be better and more effectively achieved by Secretary-General who does not have to bear a cross.