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Martin Jalleh pays tribute to veteran opposition parliamentarian Lim Kit Siang on the occasion of his 70th birthday.

You have dared to continue to differ in spite of your double ISA detentions and the ‘dangers’ that come with voicing and doing what is right and just.

You have made a difference whilst others dance to the tune of the status quo and become self-serving servile lap dogs to the dominant powers that be.

You were discouraged, down but not out when the DAP faced a near-death in its dismal 1995 general election performance. You bounced back defying all political odds.

You were determined to soldier on in spite of a debilitating spate of defections in 1996 and disturbing frequent internal conflicts, divisions and factional disputes.

You desired to quit and to assume full responsibility for the DAP’s election debacle in 1999. Yet, you went on to prove that you were no political dinosaur and to disappoint those hoping for DAP’s demise!

You have been the DAP’s driving force and strong disciplinarian for several decades, thereby giving your enemies within and without the DAP the excuse to label you a “dictator”.

You have never despaired in spite of the many downs and dark and depressing moments in your political career, whilst others grew disillusioned and eventually disappeared from the political scene.

Your great diligence and dedication as an MP can be easily seen in the speed and frequency of your press statements which either denounced what was wrong or demanded answers and action.

You have been a fearless and fiery debater and defender of democracy in parliament. There is no equal to your defiant endurance. You undoubtedly deserve the title of ‘Mr. Opposition’.

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You have earned the respect and admiration of many a Malaysian for your indomitable and indefatigable spirit, your incorruptibility and integrity.

No honorific title would do justice to your faithfulness in your duty to king and country, except the honour that comes from the hearts of the rakyat who consider you a distinguished statesman and a principled politician.

May continue to God bless you Mr Lim Kit Siang! Happy Birthday Yang Berhormat (in every sense of the word)!

Martin Jalleh is a well-known political commentator

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