KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 ― Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi once praised DAP and its members for the lack of defections throughout its political existence, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said.

In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini on his 18 years as a leader in DAP, Lim shared a story of how Zahid had approached him in Parliament and said “You won 42 seats and now you still have 42. Even Umno cannot do this”, to which he attributed it to the strong sense of companionship within DAP members.

Lim noted that throughout his career with DAP, infighting practically did not happen as compared to other political parties.

“We are very quiet in that sense. Even though there are people who are very outspoken, no actions were taken against them.

“We’re able to resolve it (among) ourselves and we are willing to open our hearts and listen to criticism,” Lim told Malaysiakini.

He said that he feels that he has done his best for the party over the last 18 years, leading it to victories at both the state and federal levels ― which he said are his proudest achievements.

“I’ve done my best. No one is perfect. My weakness was, I am very impatient and wanted to see the results (of the work done).

“And I am thankful to the support given to me and the collective leadership during the years when I was secretary-general,” he said.

On his “tokong” label ― which means deity ― Lim said he was well aware of it and its double meaning.

“Some said that to show that (they were) personally against me, others said that it shows how I (was) getting things moving and done.

“I think that in Penang, because we had enough time, you can see the results for yourself ― what I have done for the 10 years when I was chief minister.

“If only we (Harapan) had that amount of time, you can see the same results in Putrajaya,” said Lim, dismissing the idea of being called a god.

“For me, I just want to do my job. I want to see things get done,” he was quoted saying.

Lim is set to step down as secretary general after 18 years at the DAP national convention on March 20.

He assumed office in 2004, and has served as both Penang chief minister and finance minister under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.

Many have said that Seremban MP Anthony Loke is the favourite to take over from Lim as secretary-general, having served as DAP parliamentary leader since 2018.