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Date: 09 Dec 1999
Lim: I'll quit if asked to by grassroots
PETALING JAYA: DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang said he will not stay on in any party position if the leadership or rank-and-file agree with Fan Yew Teng that he should retire from politics. Fan, the Perak DAP deputy chairman, had said that Lim and party deputy chairman Karpal Singh should resign from their posts following the party's humiliating defeat in the general election.
He said the duo were among the strongest advocates in the party for the pact with PAS under the Barisan Alternatif and what they did was wrong.
Fan had said the pact with PAS had hurt the DAP which could have captured many seats.
Lim said in a statement yesterday: "I will not cling to any party position if the party leadership or rank-and-file agrees that I should retire from politics.
"I have no doubt that Karpal takes the same position."
He confirmed that Fan had twice advocated at party brain-storming sessions that the DAP break with PAS and pull out of the Barisan Alternatif.
Lim said he had said that DAP could either win an unprecedented victory in the party's history or suffer an unprecedented defeat as a result of teaming up with PAS, Keadilan and PRM to form the Barisan Alternatif.
He said the decision to co-operate with PAS in Barisan Alternatif on the common manifesto "Towards A Just Malaysia" was taken not only by the DAP central executive committee after numerous meetings and discussions but also by the DAP national congress.
"Some are trying to sow distrust or give the party a bad public image by concocting lies and falsehoods.
"One such line is to allege the DAP candidate selection committee had discriminated against experienced and senior party leaders like Fan by not offering him a parliamentary seat," he said.
Lim said Fan was initially offered the Kampar parliamentary seat which he declined on health grounds.
However, he said Fan was later persuaded to contest for a Perak state assembly seat and stood in Tebing Tinggi, regarded as one of the best DAP state seats in the Kinta Valley.
"Unfortunately, Fan lost by 1,441 votes," he said.
Meanwhile, Karpal Singh said Fan had a right to the comments he made.
However, he added, the question of Lim and him stepping down as chairman and deputy chairman did not arise.
"A defeat has to be taken in its proper perspective, with a view to correcting the mistakes made and forging ahead.
"What we've lost is a battle. In the end, it is the war that counts. Our objective is to win the war," he said.
Karpal Singh said the DAP was taking stock of the situation, and remedial measures would be taken to correct the errors made.
"Our position in the Barisan Alternatif will be reviewed, particularly in regard to the unexpected surge of proposals to impose Islamic law on non-Muslims," he added.