SHAH ALAM: Lim Guan Eng was his usual fiery self when he started his final address as DAP secretary-general to the party’s national congress here.
In an uncompromising tone, he took the government of Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to task for not pushing through the anti-hopping bill as promised in the pact between Pakatan Harapan and the government.
“The MoU will be finished if the government does not table the bill as promised. Party hopping has damaged democracy and we must stop it,” he roared.
After going gung-ho over several other matters including urging the opposition to stay intact to fight Barisan Nasional, his tone changed when he paid tribute to his father. Visibly emotional, he had to stop several times to compose himself.
He started off on a sombre note, saying that this was his last speech as secretary-general, and he paid tribute to the steadfastness of members in being behind the party’s success during his term.
Guan Eng added that he would take responsibility for any failings.
After saying the DAP is the only party that did not see any of its 42 MPs switch parties or quit after the last general election, he took a deep bow with delegates giving a standing ovation.
Then he spoke of how his father Lim Kit Siang, at the age of 36, had founded DAP with 10 others and made huge sacrifices to keep the party intact. “It was like my family lost him to DAP, and he sacrificed his freedom by being detained twice under the Internal Security Act because of fighting for Malaysians.”
After a pause to regain his composure, Guan Eng said the party must honour his father’s sacrifices as the party would not have become what it is today without Kit Siang. The delegates gave a long applause in an obvious agreement.
He then called upon Kit Siang to address the crowd, which by now probably knew what the older Lim was going to announce.
After the normal salutations, Kit Siang announced his retirement from politics: he would not stand for election any more.
This saw another standing ovation from the delegates who stood up and started moving forward to receive him as he left the stage.
Many senior leaders could not control their emotions when they embraced him. Some were seen wiping away their tears as they thanked the party stalwart for his immense contributions to the party.
But as in all the difficult moments that the leaders have seen him handle, Kit Siang put on a stoic front. There was no visible show of emotion from a man leaving a 56-year legacy that many would agree he had single-handedly built.