Teng has still a bright future in DAP if he can learn the lessons of his DAP Youth election defeat

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): After the opening of the 13th DAP National Conference at the Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday, I was asked by three or four reporters about the DAP Youth elections the previous day, but my comments came out in many other media publications.

As some of the reports were not very correct, having got it second-hand, I am putting the record straight to avoid any misunderstanding or misperception.

Asked to comment on the allegation by former DAPSY leader Teng Chang Khim that certain central executive committee members had conspired to oust him, causing his defeat and unable to make it to the 20-member DAPSY national executive council, I said I did not know who Teng was referring to. If he was referring to the DAP Secretary-General, Kerk Kim Hock, then the question should be directed to Kerk. In the past three years, Kerk had been taking the "big and small" decisions in the party.

However, if Teng was referring to me, then I may have to take certain responsibility. In the 2001 DAP Central Executive Committee elections, I openly asked the delegates to vote for Teng, but I did not do so in the DAPSY elections on Saturday.

Some press reports about the DAPSY elections make surprising reading, as for instance the Star headline today "DAP youth team ousted - Teng and his committee of 20 lose for going against leadership" giving the public the impression of massive blood-letting in the party.

I checked with the newly elected DAPSY leaders and was informed that out of the 14 incumbent leaders from the old DAPSY committee who contested in the elections on Saturday, nine were re-elected. This gives the lie to the newspaper headline that the old committee of 20 had been ousted when the majority had been re-elected.

From the DAPSY election results, it is clear that there were basically two groups who voted according to their respective choice. It is a good sign however that the first 10 elected DAPSY committee members had the support of both groups, securing from 84 to 113 votes. The second group of ten elected DAPSY committee members, securing 65 to 76 votes, clearly had support from only one group and were all denied support from Teng's group.

Teng's group of three candidates did not get the support of the other group and did not get elected.

While it is most positive that at least half of the 20 DAPSY committee members had the support of all the delegates, regardless of group, it is sad that the DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Poh Kuan should be regarded as belonging to one group and denied the support of one group - which is most unfair to the youngest DAP MP who was suspended from Parliament without pay for six months for having the courage and principle to speak out unflinchingly against injustice.

Now that the DAPSY elections are over, this is the time for all the DAP youth leaders to come together to face the challenges of the movement and the party as one united and solid force.

I have always appreciated Teng's talents and capabilities, and this was why he was appointed Opposition Leader of the Selangor State Assembly after the 1995 general election, and was the only DAP candidate in Selangor in the 1999 general election to contest both parliamentary and state seats in the state - despite the opposition of the Selangor DAP leaders and the resolution of the Selangor DAP in 1995 that DAP candidates in Selangor should contest only one seat, either Parliament or State Assembly.

Teng has still a bright future in DAP if he can learn the lessons of his DAPSY election defeat, as to why he could be so unpopular in the youth movement which he had led for more than three years.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman