Home Media statements 2010 Media Statements Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, 1919-2010

Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, 1919-2010

Join us on Telegram and Instagram for the latest.

His was a colourful and illustrious career that spanned many decades, notes the Aliran Executive Committee.

A jubilant Chong Eu (left) lifts Prof Syed Hussein Alatas - Photo courtesy of japanfocus.org

Aliran is saddened to learn of the passing of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu at the age of 91.

A veteran politician who was active for almost half a century, Tun Dr Lim had a colourful and illustrious career that spanned many decades. He left an indelible mark on the socio-economic and political scene of Penang. Under his leadership, the state’s rapid growth and vibrant industrialisation revived Penang’s economy and gave serious meaning to the motto Penang Leads. The Penang Free Trade Zone, now renamed the Free Industrial Zone, and the Penang Bridge which connected the two parts of the state, will remain fitting tributes to the memory of this outstanding politician.

When campaigning for the 1969 General Election, Tun Dr Lim spoke at the Esplanade with other Gerakan leaders. Then he shared his vision of developing Penang into a dynamic state with the expansion of industrialisation and creation of jobs. He promised to create 90,000 jobs if returned to power. The vast majority of the voters who eagerly attended this gigantic rally were sceptical that such an enormous target could be attained. Looking back, we now know that Tun Dr Lim surpassed his target. His successful economic transformation of Penang turned the state into a leading centre of global electronic manufacturing that paved the way for Malaysia’s industrialisation.

The high point in his political career must surely be when the newly-formed Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia captured Penang in 1969 which allowed Tun Dr Lim to be the Chief Minister. He went on to hold the post for 21 years. Although his political career ended with his defeat by Lim Kit Siang in 1990, Tun Dr Lim’s record as Chief Minister has been unrivalled.

READ MORE:  Better, cheaper, faster alternatives to Penang tunnel and third bridge

Gerakan threw up many magnificent leaders like the late Professor Syed Hussein Alatas, Dr Tan Chee Khoon, V David, Tan Phock Kin, Veerappan, Mustapha Hussein, and Professor Wang Gungwu. The party’s founding came at a time of great promise and expectations. The Alliance found a formidable match in Gerakan and there was a real possibility for change. There was genuine potential for the emergence of a two-party system.

In the May 1969 election, the Alliance lost its two-thirds’ majority in parliament for the first time. In fact, the Alliance failed to win the majority of state legislative assembly seats in Kelantan, Perak, Selangor, and Penang. Sadly, the ethnic violence erupted on May 13, three days after polling, and changed the course of our history. Sad, too, was the division within Gerakan that led to the departure of several prominent leaders when Tun Dr Lim took the party into the Barisan Nasional coalition which Tun Abdul Razak constructed with the participation of most other opposition parties, including Pas, SUPP and PPP.

Notwithstanding that development which frustrated many hopes of a reformed political system, Tun Dr Lim will be remembered as a dynamic leader who held his ground against his critics, including those within the Barisan Nasional, such being his fortitude and much respected stature. To that degree, Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu’s Penang was never a brow-beaten but proud and admired state within Malaysia.

The Executive Committee and members of Aliran sincerely offer their condolences to Toh Puan Goh Sing Yeng and members of Tun Dr Lim’s family.

May he rest in peace.

READ MORE:  Penang's three-island mega-project: Summary of the Appeal Board decision

Aliran Executive Committee
30 November 2010

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x