Twist and turns of Kit Siang, Nik Aziz's political journey

06 Jun 2023 07:30am
Kit Siang (left) with Nik Aziz
Kit Siang (left) with Nik Aziz

SHAH ALAM - A total of 839 individuals were received awards to mark Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah birthday celebrations.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Datuk Johari Abdul, led the list of recipients by being conferred the Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) honoor, which carries the title Tan Sri.

While Johari and 26 other individuals received the PSM titles, the public's main focus was on the inclusion of prominent DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and former Kelantan chief minister Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, among the recipients.

The Tan Sri title makes Lim the first DAP leader to receive the title.

Tan Sri is the second highest federal honour, after the Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara (SMN) which carries the title Tun.

The Tan Sri title to Lim surprised many, especially considering DAP's longstanding policy of not accepting any titles while holding political office.

The conferral of the federal honour upon the family of the late Nik Aziz, also known as Tok Guru Nik Aziz, signifies the recognition by the government and the institution of the National Palace for the contributions and sacrifices of the religious scholars.

Reflecting on Lim's political journey spanning nearly six decades, he holds the record as the longest-serving opposition leader, having held the position for 29 years - from January 1974 to June 1975, November 1975 to November 1999, and March 2004 to February 2008.

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During this time, Lim represented the people in eight parliamentary constituencies across five states, except in 1999 and 2004.

Lim was appointed to the Central Executive Committee (CEC) at the age of 26, holding various positions and playing a significant role in shaping the direction of DAP's policies and strategies.

In 1969, Lim assumed the post of secretary-general of the party and later became the National Chairman from 1999 to 2004 before deciding to retire from politics last year.

On another note, the contributions and sacrifices of the late Nik Aziz in politics and Islamic knowledge are undeniable.

Since assuming the position of Kelantan Menteri Besar in 1990, he has been recognised as one of the 50 influential Islamic figures in the world.

He played a significant role in ensuring that the Kelantan state government remained under Pas until today.

Dr. Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen, the DAP Socialist Youth Chief (Dapsy) said the conferment of Tan Sri title on Lim was a fitting recognition for his contributions in ensuring that the opposition bloc played a vital role in providing checks and balances to the government.

He said Lim's involvement nurtured the country's democratic system to its current level of maturity.

"Lim s not a leader who seeks positions or power. This can be proven when PH government was formed in 2018 as he rejected any government position and instead wanted the younger generation to be given the opportunity," Yii said.

As for Nik Aziz, cAssabiqun (Veterans) Pas chairman Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamed said the former Chempaka State Assemblyman deserved the title of Tan Sri long ago.

He added that Nik Aziz's commitment to Pas's struggle as well as ensuring that the Kelantan state government continued to be led by the party since 1990 is clear evidence of the renowned ulama's leadership being recognised by the people.

"Under the administration of Tok Guru Nik Aziz, he emphasised the concept of building together with Islam, which we can see through the 'Serambi Makkah' (Verandah of Mecca) title given to Kelantan, which has been well-preserved until today.

"In fact, Tok Guru Nik Aziz strongly advocated the concept of unity among the ummah, as championed by Pas President, Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang.

Citing an example, he was responsible for uniting Pas with the Semangat 46 led by Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to strengthen the Islamic government in East Coast.

"Tok Guru Nik Aziz also generously allowed expelled Umno leaders such as Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ali to contest on Pas tickets in Kelantan. This shows that he greatly prioritised the spirit of unity among the ummah to fulf Pas' political struggle," he added.