PETALING JAYA (Sept 2, 2008): by Kong See Hoh
DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang may make history by becoming the first Chinese deputy prime minister of Malaysia should Pakatan Rakyat (PR) come to power at the federal level, Sin Chew Daily reported today.
Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the DAP leadership has reached a "consensus" to recommend Kit Siang for "a very important" and "most frontline" role in the central government if the opposition coalition takes control.
Asked if the "most frontline" role means the post of deputy prime minister, Guan Eng declined to give a straight answer but stressed that it will be a post that puts him (Kit Siang) on par with other PR leaders.
"We don't want to give the public the impression that we are fighting for posts. And I want to stress that posts are not the most important thing, what is important is we should be fighting for the benefits of the rakyat."
Nevertheless, he said, because of the possibility of PR coming to power at the federal level, DAP leaders have reached a consensus that if indeed it becomes a reality, the party will recommend that Kit Siang play an important role in the federal government.
He said if Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the newly elected MP who has said his next target is Putrajaya, becomes the prime minister, it is not unlikely for a Chinese to be given the deputy prime minister's job, thus fulfilling a long-cherished wish of the community.
He said PR has never held discussions on post allocation in the event of the coalition coming to power, adding that the PR shadow cabinet that was circulated some time ago was mere fabrication.
What is important for the PR now is to fulfil its election pledges. Guan Eng did not deny that PR is having some teething problems but believed that they can be overcome through negotiations.
In the DAP national congress last month, Kit Siang was re-elected to the central executive committee with the highest number of votes but did not assume any party post, giving rise to speculation that he might be "retiring" from active politics.
But during an interview with Sin Chew, Guan Eng said should PR succeed in taking over the federal government, Kit Siang will be recommended for an important government position, even though he (Kit Siang) is not holding any party post.
"We did not discuss the matter officially, it was just a tacit consensus the party leaders have arrived at," he said.