Kerk Chee Yee appointed as my political secretary to spearhead the fifth rejuvenation of DAP
We gather here to remember Kerk Kim Hock, the fourth DAP Secretary-General and a two-term Member of Parliament as well as a one-term Malacca State Assemblyman, who died on August 9, 2017 after battling cancer for 15 years.
Kerk was foremost a great Malaysian patriot, a compassionate and down-to-earth political leader, a humble and easy-going politician, a dedicated warrior for justice and freedom for all Malaysians, but last but not least, a believer for change for the better for all Malaysians.
I first met Kerk at the Monash University in Australia in September 1980 when he was President of the Monash University Malaysian Students Union (MUMSU) and invited me to give a talk to a record-breaking capacity crowd of Malaysian students. Guan Eng was helping Kerk in MUMSU and became the next MUMSU President.
I was attracted by Kerk’s youthful idealism and boundless spirit, and he and Guan Eng were among the young Malaysians who dedicated themselves to struggle for a more just, equal and democratic Malaysia on their return to Malaysia after their graduation from Monash University, and joined the DAP as the “new blood” for political change in the country.
DAP must always continue in this process of rejuvenation as we must never lose sight of the fact that Malaysia is a very youthful country.
If we define youth as people below 35 years, we are talking about 10 million Malaysians comprising one third of the population, which has just crossed the 32 million mark recently.
DAP is now 51 years old we were officially registered on 18th March 1966.
When DAP was first formed, there was no youth wing, for the first DAP Central Executive Committee comprised of youths.
The founding chairman Dr. Chen Man Hin was a youthful 42 and I was 25 years old.
The first batch of DAP leaders in the first decade of DAP’s history like Fan Yew Teng, Karpal Singh, P. Patto, Lim Cho Hock, Fadzlan Yahya, Peter Dason, Dr. K.S. Das, Chian Heng Kai, Lau Dak Kee, Lee Kaw, Fong Kui Lun, Liew Ah Kim, Hor Cheok Foon, Mary Patto, Tan Chui Swee, Loke Swee Chin, Ong Kwai Leng, Ngan Siong Hing, Loh Jee Mee, Chan Fu King, Wong Hang Yoke, Lip Tuck Chee, Lim Hock Seng, Tai Sin Piau, Choo Kiang Seong, Wong Peng Sheng were in the twenties or thirties.
If we take a decade as basis for the emergence of a new batch of DAP leaders, we have had four rejuvenation of DAP leaders after the first batch of DAP leaders, and those who had stayed steadfast to the DAP struggles will include the following:
Second batch of DAP leaders (1976 – 1985): Tan Kok Wai, Lim Guan Eng, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, Dr. Oon Hong Geok, Ngoi Thiam Woh, Chong Siew Chiang, Sim Yaw Sik, Ling Sie Ming, Ahmad Ton, Vincent Wu, Ronnie Liu, Lai Keun Ban, A. Sivanesan, Leong Ngah Ngah, Tan Chik Poh, Gan Ah Liong, Dr. Eng Seng Chai, Kwok Mei Ling
Third batch (1986 – 1995): Kerk Kim Hock, Chow Kon Yeow, Wong Ho Leng, Ahmad Nor, P. Gunasegaran, Teresa Kok, Foo Yueh Chuan, Ngeh Koo Ham, M. Kualasegaran, Fong Po Kuan, Anthony Loke, Jagdeep Singh Deo, Chong Eng, Dr. Boo Cheng Hau and Seah Leong Peng.
Fourth batch (1996- 2005): Liew Chin Tong, Gobind Singh Deo, Chong Jien Ren, Nga Kor Ming, Lau Weng San, Ean Yong Han Wah, S.N. Rayer, Thomas Su, Wong Kah Woh, Ong Boon Piow, Tey Lai Hing,Lee Chin Chen, Cha Kee Chin, Tan Hong Pin, Lim Lip Eng, Lim Eng Guan, Ee Chin Li, Khoo Puay Tiong, Tey Kok Kiew, Violet Yong,
Fifth batch (2006 – 2015): Tony Pua, Teo Nie Ching, Jeff Ooi, Ong Kian Ming, Teo Kok Seong, Zairil Johari, Ng Wei Aik, Sim Chee Keong, Yap Soo Huey, Julian Tan Kok Ping, Oscar Ling Chai Yew, Dyana Sofia Mohd Daud, Low Sze Yee, Edry Faizal, Young Syefura, Syerleena Abdul Rashid, Sheikh Omar Ali, Howard Lee, Wong May Ing, Chow Yu Hui, Leong Yu Man, Yeo Bee Yin, J. Arul Kumar, Wong Shu Qui, Alice Lau, Kasturi Patto, Ram Karpal, Chan Foong Hin, Wong King Wei, Rajiv Rishyakaran, Modi Bomoi, Liow Cai Tung, Adrian Lasimbang.
I may have missed many names as this is not a complete and comprehensive list, as I must have omitted mention of some who should be in the lists, and I have deliberately left out other DAP leaders because they are not in the youth age group below 40 years when they joined the party.
I have had nearly a score of political secretaries in my five decades of political journey, and there is no doubt that Kerk had been my best political secretary.
He came back to help the party in 1998 when the DAP was at its lowest ebb, as Co-ordinator of the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity (SSS) with Lim Guan Eng national campaign.
I am taking tonight’s occasion to announce the appointment of Kerk Chee Yee, 25, as my political secretary. It will a great challenge to Chee Yee as Malaysia is on the threshold of great political change in the forthcoming 14th General Election to see the fulfilment of the dream and mission for which Kerk Kim Hock has dedicated his life.
This will also be the first father-and-son whom I had appointed as my political secretary.
Chee Yee’s responsibility will be greater than all my other political secretaries of the past – to spearhead the fifth rejuvenation of DAP to bring into the party young Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, Orang Asli regardless of religion or region to create a more just, equal, democratic and prosperous Malaysia for all Malaysians.