Lee Lam Thye has told a big lie in his autobiography and why he quit politics on the eve of the 1990 general election will continue to remain a mystery.
He blamed me as DAP Secretary-General in 1990 and some party colleagues for stabbing him in the back and led to his announcement on Sept. 29, 1990 on his retirement from politics.
He said he was informed by the party leadership that he would be removed from the Bukit Bintang constituency which he had served for four terms, and “I was not even told where I would be fielded instead”.
This is a big lie for I had never told Lam Thye that he would not be contesting the Bukit Bintang constituency, and the thought of Lam Thye contesting in any seat apart from Bukit Bintang had never occurred to me before the 1990 general election.
It is most regrettable that Lam Thye has to tell a blg lie in his autobiography why he quit politics. Till today, 32 years later, I still do not know why Lam Thye quit politics on the eve of the 1990 general election.
I have checked the records. A day after Lam Thye announced his retirement from politics and went overseas, I said the following at a DAP function in Batu Pahat:
“There had been a long-standing attempt to create splits and divisions between us because of our different political styles, but I have always regarded our different political styles as mutually complementary, and that the DAP is what it is today because of the sum total of our different political styles…
“I had my first discussion and meeting with him on Sept. 19, where he told me that he had no intention of withdrawing his resignation as Chairman of the Federal Territory DAP, and also that he was going to announce his retirement from politics.
“The next ten days were agonizing days for him as well as for me. I had four meetings with him to try to persuade him to change his mind, not only to resume the Chairmanship of Federal Territory DAP, but also to continue to provide his political leadership and services.
“I also had several telephone conversations over the matter, and after a midnight telephone call on Thursday, I thought I saw light at the end of the tunnel, and that Lam Thye would reconsider his position.
“It proved to be otherwise, and on Saturday, Lam Thye announced that he was retiring from politics.”
Lam Thye’s announcement of retirement from politics came in the turbulent month of September 1990, when 10,000 people demonstrated against the Cheras tolls issue; Tan Kok Wai, the DAP MP for Cheras, was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Lam Thye’s walkout of the DAP Federal Territory meeting and subsequent resignation as DAP Federal Territory Chairman.
Lam Thye’s announcement came less than a week before the dissolution of Parliament for the holding of the eighth general election on Oct. 21, 1990.