|Lim Guan Eng: From Kamunting To Level 28 Komtar
PENANG, March 11 (Bernama) -- Lim Guan Eng who was sworn in as Penang Chief Minister today, was born in 1960 in Johor Baharu and joined the Democratic Action Party (DAP) at the age of 21.
After graduating from the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, with a degree in Accountancy and Economics in 1984, he became a bank officer in Kuantan.
Two years later, he was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Kota Melaka in the 7th General Election by beating national football legend Datuk Soh Chin Aun of Barisan Nasional (BN) by 17,606 votes.
On Oct 27, 1987, he was detained under the Internal Security Act and released unconditionally from the Kamunting Detention Centre on April 19, 1989.
In the same month, he was made member of the DAP Central Executive Committee and chairman of the DAP National Youth about a year later.
In the 8th General Election, he retained the Kota Melaka seat with a lower margin and won the seat for the third term in 1995 but the majority was slashed to only 4,639 votes.
The same year saw him being charged in court with uttering seditious remarks in public and publishing false news in a pamplet. He was later convicted on both counts and fined a total of RM15,000.
Following an appeal by the prosecution, the fines were converted to 18 months' jail. He served the jail term from Aug 25, 1998 after the Federal Court dismissed his appeal.
Following this, he lost his MP status and was barred from taking part in politics. Guan Eng was released from the Kajang prison on Aug 25, 1999 after a one-third remission. He returned to active politics in Aug 2004 and was made DAP secretary-general.
"When I was behind bars, I never thought of climbing up to the present position. Then, I only strived for freedom.
"Perhaps, it is fated by God that I were to become Penang Chief Minister," he told reporters after taking up the office at Level 28, Komtar here. Present were DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang who is his father and all newly elected representatives from the party.
In Saturday's elections, the DAP secured 19 state seats and is forming the government with Parti Keadilan Rakyat which won nine seats and Pas which got one in the 40-seat assembly. Barisan Nasional makes up the opposition with 11 seats.
Guan Eng won the Air Putih state seat as well as the Bagan parliamentary.
"It is hard to describe it," he said when asked how does he feel now.
"I have not been an elected representative for a while because I was an ex-inmate and when I was incarcerated in jail the experience was like I was no longer human.
"Nevertheless, I keep on striving and persevere to continue serving the people. And after 10 years, I make it back as an elected representative," he said.
He said what he had gone through from the detention camp, prison and the office he was now holding, was part of a process of transformation.
He promised to work hard and honour the responsibility entrusted on him and would not let down the people who had elected him.
Meanwhile, Kit Siang said: "When I celebrated by birthday on Feb 20, my birthday wish was for the DAP to succeed in Penang and Guan Eng becomes the chief minister. My wish came true today.
Asked whether he would guide his son, the 67-year-old father said: "I will tell him quietly."