PETALING JAYA: DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang has denied Lee Lam Thye’s claim that he was to blame for the latter’s shock resignation from the party just over 30 years ago, calling it a “big lie”.
This followed the recent release of Lee’s memoirs — “Call Lee Lam Thye: Recalling a Lifetime of Service” — in which he claimed Lim had “stabbed him in the back”, thus forcing him to leave the party.
Lam Thye revealed in the book that he decided to leave after being told he would not be defending the Bukit Bintang parliamentary constituency, a seat which he had held for four terms, in the 1990 general election.
However, Lim said there was no truth to Lam Thye’s claim, saying he had tried many times to persuade the popular MP not to leave the party.
“This is a big lie, for I had never told Lam Thye that he would not be contesting in the Bukit Bintang constituency. 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 had to tell a big lie in his autobiography about 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,” the Iskandar Puteri MP said in a statement.
Recalling his speech after Lam Thye announced his retirement, Lim felt while both of them had different political styles, they complemented each other and this had led to the party’s growth.
“There were many attempts to try and divide us because of our different political styles, but I have always regarded our differences as mutually complementary.
“DAP is what it is today because of the sum total of our different political styles,” he said quoting a speech he made in 1990 after Lam Thye’s shock resignation.
Lim said all attempts to persuade him not to leave had also failed.
“I had four meetings with him to change his mind. After several telephone conversations, one midnight call made me see light at the end of the tunnel, and gave me hope that Lam Thye would reconsider his position.
“However, a few days later, he announced that he was retiring from politics,” Lim said.
According to Lim, Lam Thye’s retirement came at a time when over 10,000 people demonstrated over the Cheras toll issue in September 1990 and just a week before Parliament was dissolved on Oct 21 by then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.