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