Highs and lows
The lowest was when Lim Kit Siang and myself lost our seats (in 1999), more so for him because he had been holding parliamentary seats consecutively since 1969 and also, he lost by just 108 votes. I lost by 770 votes. For him to have lost at all was unthinkable, but it happened and it was a terrible blow to the party, especially after having come so close to forming the Penang state government in 1990 under his leadership. Kit Siang had beaten the (then) Chief Minister (the late Tun Lim Chong Eu) who was a very well-respected statesman in Penang.
In that sense, 1986 right up the 1999 were high points for us, especially with the Tanjung victories. But this was followed by the lows of 1999 right up until 2008 where we won all our seats in Penang and did well in other states, too. Kit laid the groundwork for much of this and I know that Guan Eng appreciates this. Of course, Guan Eng’s personality and personal sacrifices also led to the clean sweep in Penang.
It has been a very effective and committed opposition all along and this has culminated in arrests and detentions. Now we are possibly poised for federal power in the coming elections and if that happens, then we would have achieved what we always wanted. This would not be possible without the cooperation of the three parties in Pakatan Rakyat, which was unthinkable at one time.