Lau Dak Kee is the best grassroots DAP leader in the first four decades of the DAP struggle to achieve the Malaysian Dream

We are gathered here tonight to remember Sdr. Lau Dak Kee, the best grassroots DAP leader in the first four decades of the DAP struggle for the achievement of the Malaysian Dream.

Dak Kee’s political struggle was distinguished by his unswerving loyalty, commitment and stamina to the ideals of justice, freedom and national unity – the core principles and ideals of the DAP’s political objective.

Dak Kee underwent three great tests when the DAP was quite “down and out” in the doldrums and emerged with flying colours.

The first test was from 1969 to 1974, when the DAP underwent great trials and tribulations, losing four of the 13 MPs and 11 out of the 31 State Assemblymen elected in the 1969 general elections, as a result of the pincer onslaughts of intimidation and inducement on the DAP elected representatives to betray the party.

Many were pessimistic that the DAP could survive the ferocious and systematic political offensives focussed on the DAP, with one top government leader so confident that he declared in 1972 that the DAP was already one foot in the grave.

But through the dedication, commitment and loyalty of stalwarts like Dak Kee, the party withstood the tests and proved the doomsayers wrong, and it was in this period that Dak Kee was catapulted to the forefront battleline as a candidate in the Ulu Selangor parliamentary by-election in May 1972.

The second test was when the DAP suffered its first worst electoral defeat in the 1982 general election, with Perak DAP securing its worst record with its slate of four parliamentary and nine state assembly seats in Perak in the 1978 general election slashed to zero parliamentary and four state assembly seats, with the sole win in the Kinta Valley, Kepayang, through the slimmest majority of 161 votes.

Undaunted by the inclement political scenario, Dak Kee took up the challenge to restore DAP Perak, contesting as a candidate in the Kepayang state assembly by-election five months after the April 1982 general election, winning with a landslide majority of 9,764 votes – spearheading the DAP revival and victories not only in the subsequent Seremban parliamentary and Raub state assembly by-elections in 1983 but also the DAP’s greater electoral victories in the 1986 general election.

DAP won 24 parliamentary and 37 state assembly seats in the 1986 general election, with Perak netting four parliamentary and 13 state assembly seats.

The third test for Dak Kee was when he had retired from politics, having served two terms as Perak MP and three terms as Perak State Assemblyman.

In the 1995 and 1999 general elections, DAP Perak performed badly - wiped out completely in parliamentary representation in 1995 and winning only one parliamentary seat the 1999 general election, while state assembly representation was slashed to only one and four seats in the two general elections respectively.

When I contested in Ipoh Timor parliamentary seat in the 2004 general election to rejuvenate and restore DAP’s political standing in Perak and take it to greater heights, Dak Kee was in the forefront and campaigned vigorously and was one of the key factors for Perak DAP’s present commanding role in Perak and Malaysian politics.

We were both victims of Operation Lalang dragnet and Internal Security Act detainees in Kamunting Detention Centre three decades ago.

Dak Kee’s commitment, dedication, loyalty and “never say die” spirit should be an example for all DAP leaders and activists in the continuing struggle to achieve the Malaysian Dream.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah