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Lim Kit Siang: The legend

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Kit’s indomitable spirit has turned him into an institution that has survived six Malaysian Prime Ministers, writes P Ramakrishnan.

YB Lim Kit Siang is no ordinary Malaysian; he is a legend. His public involvement spans over 40 years – a period covering the tenure of six Malaysian Prime Ministers – from the first to the present sixth PM. And he will certainly be there, I’m sure, when a new seventh PM takes over after the 13th General Election!

This is a record that will not be matched or surpassed by any Malaysian. If he was from Umno, this feat would have gone into the Malaysian Book of records.

There would have been many grand celebrations to mark this occasion to claim this record as their own.

Fortunately, it will not be so! But, nonetheless, history will record this as an extraordinary and exceptional achievement, to be envied and admired. Kit Siang is an enduring and durable parliamentarian. In fact, he is an institution.

His indomitable spirit and fighting qualities have contributed to a large extent in preserving our democracy and what is left of our freedom. Without this man, things would have been very different for all of us. A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination – that’s what Nelson Mandela said. Kit Siang has a good head and a good heart. That’s why he is such a formidable politician.

Sometimes you wonder whether his day has more than 24 hours! He seems to have all the time in the world to respond to every challenge on a daily basis, refute every silly utterance, rebut what is wrong, rebuff what is unfair, rebuke misdeeds and corrupt practices, reprove unethical conduct and discriminatory policies – and much more.

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He had defended victims of human rights violations ferociously and condemned police brutality without mincing his words and paid the price for exposing corruption and highlighting abuse of power. He has been in the forefront of every issue that mattered.

The authorities deprived him of three years of his precious freedom by locking him up in Kamunting on two different occasions but they never quelled the brave heart that kept on fighting for justice. He never compromised, he never wavered. He stayed the course faithfully and never betrayed his cause or his calling. He continues to be a tireless, relentless and fearless champion of democracy.

It is our earnest wish and hope that he may live long enough to celebrate many more birthdays because there are many more battles to be fought and many more victories to be won until we reach the ultimate dream of a fair and equitable life for all our citizens irrespective of race, colour and creed.

Happy Birthday, Kit Siang!

P Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran.

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