Friday, March 28, 2008

In remembrance of a local personality from Tapah, Perak-- The late Loh Jee Mee.

(Taken from The Star, 28th of March 2008)

Finally, I have managed to start a blog after thinking about it for months.

I would like to start by honoring a man, who I appreciate but left us 11 years ago.

At around 8 p.m. (eastern time zone in US) on the 28th of March exactly 11 years ago, I received a distress call from a lawyer, Surjan Singh. His message was simple—there is a family emergency with regards to your father and you are required to come home as soon as possible. I was expected to take the earliest available flight home. It was a short message with no details.

I immediately called my eldest sister, Soo Mei who was in London to verify such request and if I may be excused since my final year exam was within a month. Moreover, the cost for a round trip ticket from the US to Malaysia was expensive then.

I was troubled when I was greeted by my eldest sister with a tearing voice. She has no intention to keep the passing of my late father a secret despite requests from family members to do so.

11 years have passed but the event is still close to mind. There is much regret that I did not get to spend much time with my late father and to get to know him better—a man who has dedicated his lifetime in pursuit of justice and service to the community.

The late Loh Jee Mee started his political struggle during World War 2, when his late mother (my grand mother); Chan Oi Lin was executed by Japanese soldiers. He was actively involved in the MCA in the 50s and 60s, and was the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) youth leader then. He was elected by the people of Tapah as town counselor in early 60s before the government removed local counselor election.

His first general election appearance was the 1965 general election, when he stood as an independent candidate for Batang Padang parliamentary seat against Hamid Khan, the then Minister of Education. He lost, but committed to soldier on. Politics aside, he was still in good rapport with MCA veteran such as Tan Sri Lee San Choon.

The political break through was seen in the 1969 general election when the late Loh Jee Mee won the Batang Padang parliamentary seat but lost to Ho Seng of MCA for Cenderiang state seat with a slim majority—less than 20 votes. He was therefore the first 13 DAP Member of Parliament (MP) for the 1969-74 term along with Lim Kit Siang and Dr. Chen Man Hin.

History has recorded that the late Loh Jee Mee defended and contested the same seat—Tapah parliament (Batang Padang seat was divided to Tapah and Tanjong Malim from 1974 general election) in 1974, 1978, 1982 and 1986 general election and lost. He has never lost sight of serving the community despite the set-backs in life.

The 1990 general election was his last general appearance. Yet, I am certain that he would have contested another round if health permits. He was elected to the Perak State Assembly in the 1990 general election and retired in 1995.

Besides being the juvenile court advisor for more than 25 years, a committee member for the district well fare department, he was much sort after from locals for various issues even after retirement.

Some one once mentioned that suffering and success go together. If you are succeeding without suffering, it is because others before you have suffered; if you are suffering without succeeding, it is that others after you may succeed.

I am touched and glad to meet those who have succeeded because of him during the recent general election campaign.


Anonymous said...

A truly remarkable and well respected man in Perak.

Anonymous said...

He is a man we can rely on and will always be there to serve the Tapah community anytime. He always got the support from us but too bad our support not enough for him to win the election. He will always be remembered and our true hero. His ambition and service has no limits. My respect to my friend late father.

Anonymous said...

A self made politician and has gone through many obstacles. Undeniable fact that he has help many people at Tapah and fight for our rights. My salute to the late Mr.Loh Jee Mee

Anonymous said...

Hats off to the late YB. Loh Jee Mee. And i see hopes from you, Peng Lam. Please keep the good work in Tapah. You have my vote.