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A fighter for the weak and oppressed

By Teresa Kok
MP for Seputeh and ADUN for Kinrara

[THE ROCKET] I have known Fan Yew Teng since the early 1990s when I entered politics and became more involved in social issues.

I remember him as someone who is incredibly passionate about human rights and justice issues.

In the past, whenever we had any public forum, public protests and public demonstration for Free Burma, Free Aung San Suu Kyi and so on, if we needed a spokesperson or forum panelist, we’d look for him.

Whenever the Muslim circles needed speakers for their Free Palestine events, they would also look for him because it was clear that Fan Yew Teng was an activist that stood for human rights and social justice.

His concerns cut across all circles. He didn’t care about different religions or race. He was truly colour-blind in his conviction.
He had also written numerous articles and books to express his views, advocating for the poor, weak and marginalised. I was very impressed with him for all the above.

When Lim Kit Siang was detained under ISA in 1969, he served as acting secretary general, helping to hold fort for DAP. He later left DAP for some 20 years due to some disagreements and also to chase his personal pursuits, but during the DAP internal party split in 1998, he was approached by our party leadership to come back to the fold to help out and he did.

One of the reasons that encouraged him to make a comeback was due to the unjust persecution of Lim Guan Eng. Fan Yew Teng had been the one who openly spoke up for Lim Guan Eng in all the Support LGE Campaign.

He participated in our marathon hunger strike after Guan Eng was sent to the Kajang Prison. This shows Fan Yew Teng has always cared for the DAP and he made his stand clear when the party was in trouble.

During the 1999 general elections, Fan contested the Tebing Tinggi state assembly seat in Perak but lost, together with many other DAP national leaders. He continued to be a vocal writer and spokesperson for human rights and social justice.

Fan’s heart was always in the right place. I will always remember him with fondness and admiration for this. His passing is a great loss to civil society in Malaysia but he will continue to live on in our memory.[THE ROCKET]