Baseless personal attacks devoid of substance are the sole refuge of the shallow and should have no place in any mature political leadership

Press Release
by Lim Guan Eng

(Kota Melaka, Tuesday): I wish to rebuke Keadilan Vice-President Azmin Ali for his malicious personal attacks against DAP National Deputy Chairman Karpal Singh in the New Straits Times on 1 September 2003. I can no longer keep silent when intemperate language of "yesterday's politician, operating from his law office or air-conditioned room, lost his sense of direction" are hurled against one of DAP's core leaders .

A genuine democrat would protect another's right to disagree with him and rebut the other with fact and reason. Baseless personal attacks devoid of substance are the sole refuge of the shallow and should have no place in any mature political leadership. More damaging, when these malicious personal attacks are aimed by a wannabe ally against an acknowledged legal lion and an opposition pillar that is  Karpal Singh.

Lest Azmin forgets, Karpal's  35 year legal and political career spanned three Prime Ministers from Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Hussein Onn and Datuk Dr Mahathir Mohamad.  Together with DAP National Chairman Lim Kit Siang and National Advisor Dr Chen Man Hin, they formed a trinity standing firm amidst unrelenting oppression in pursuit of a fair, just, free and democratic Malaysia. Their moral force of integrity, honesty and loyalty to these ideals  are the very essence of DAP today.

Their trials and tribulations are legendary suffering imprisonment, detention under the Internal Security Act and threats of bankruptcy. With Kit Siang and Dr Chen, Karpal had a huge heart for the poor and the weak where the words pro bono was not just mere rhetoric but lived and breathed daily. Azmin himself can testify how many of his own leaders and even those from PAS benefited from Karpal's incomparable legal expertise pro bono.

The trinity's hallmarks of integrity, honesty and loyalty have earned the deep affection, respect and esteem of DAP's leaders and members alike. For Azmin to show such callous disdain for one of DAP's core leaders is
completely unacceptable to members and may well make genuine co-operation with Keadilan at the grass roots out of reach and well-nigh impossible.

I expected Azmin to disagree vigorously with DAP in a civil manner. I was wrong. But I  did not expect a Keadilan leader to hit below the belt by using language normally reserved for BN leaders. DAP members will find it difficult to countenance any form of co-operation with a political party that publicly and unjustifiably insults its core leaders.

I believe the Keadilan leadership is sincere in wanting to co-operate electorally with the DAP in  fighting the common foe that is BN. But if its leaders persist in ridiculing our top leaders, then it risks alienating the very members in the DAP required to make such co-operation work.

The choice for Azmin is clear. He must disavow malice as a weapon in negotiations with the DAP that will only lead to a ruinous relationship. Instead he must turn towards striving to repair the wounds inflicted between DAP and Keadilan to achieve a just and lasting arrangement between the two parties. Otherwise Azmin risks merely decorating the ruin he makes.


* Lim Guan Eng,  Former DAP MP For Kota Melaka