The rakyat look up to Kit because of his principles – principles that they can respect, trust and emulate, writes Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
After a long journey in your political career, weathering the often rough and tumble of Malaysian politics, you somehow managed to survive and carve a popular name, an icon among your admirers and a ‘political bug’, so to speak, among your opponents.
So, you are now 70 years of age — not too young but not too old either — to go on treading the political journey.
You have consistently upheld and stood your ground on matters relating to the fundamental rights of all the rakyat, irrespective of race, to free and responsible speech, the right to enjoy a just and fair distribution of the economic and social wealth of the nation, and to political, judicial and legal justice.
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You have consistently and courageously spoken up against the corruption and the various misdeeds and defaults of the government and demanded action, both in Parliament as well as outside it, despite the possible reprisals, the threats and even possible punitive actions that might be taken against you, which in fact you have suffered in the past.
But you have not kept your silence; you continue to grow bigger and speak even louder. In the end, it seems to me, you are the winner because, despite what your opponents say about you, as long as you know and believe what you stand for is good for the people and the country, you are on the right path.
Politicians, and especially those who have been given the mandate to ‘rule’ or ‘govern’ the country, must be honest, trustworthy, clean and efficient. They must have principles and be consistent in their upholding and promotion of the principles for the good of the rakyat and the country and not be swayed or swerved by their personal interests and greed.
The rakyat look up to a Wakil Rakyat or to a government leader not because he or she is a Malay, a Chinese or an Indian, an Iban or a Kadazan; they look up to you because of your principles — principles that they can respect, trust and emulate.
On this auspicious day, may I quote Georges Pompidou who once said: “A statesman is a politician who places himself at the service of the nation. A politician is a statesman who places the nation at his service”.
Let me now say, “Selamat menyambut hari jadi yang ke-70”, in other words “Happy birthday to you”. Wishing you good fortune, good health and long life. May you continue to tread the rough and tumble of the Malaysian political road with even greater tenacity and thrust in the years ahead until we can all together ensure that no one in the country is allowed to create a situation of disaster of the type we have just seen in Tunisia and Egypt.
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is the MP for Gua Musang. This was his message for Kit Siang’s 70th birthday on 20 February 2011.