Opinion

Relationships of convenience in Malaysian politics

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COMMENT | I remember the first time I met Lim Kit Siang. I was a young journalist and I had been invited to a friend’s book launch. Lim was there as the guest of honour and also to launch the book. The book was about issues in the digital age and was written by my friend and fellow journalist Oon Yeoh.

I was having a drink when suddenly I found myself face-to-face with the leader of the opposition. I didn’t know what to say so I nodded at him and asked him a question.

“Hi! So do you know much about IT?” I smiled sheepishly.

Lim smiled back politely and walked away. It was only a couple of days later that I found out that aside from being the leader of the opposition, he also played the role of shadow minister for IT and technology. I felt like a complete idiot.

I also remember the first time I met Dr Mahathir Mohamad. I was a young journalist and Mahathir was still the prime minister. We were in Parliament and he had just finished a press conference. I ran up to him and asked for a photograph, which he was kind enough to oblige.

I was young so I took a picture with him, smiling and holding up a big peace sign with my fingers. The prime minister was amused at my actions and he smiled. Even members of his security detail who were behind me laughed, and so did everyone around.

At that time, both leaders were from two different political sides and you would have believed that they were absolutely sworn enemies forever. Heck, Mahathir had even given the orders to arrest Lim and other politicians and activists in Ops Lalang, way back in 1987...

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