Grumbles build against DAP leader Lim Guan Eng as a 'source of crisis' in the party After nearly 40 years as the 'Mr Opposition' of Malaysian politics, Lim Kit Siang only wanted to hand over the reins to his son smoothly before calling it a day. It is a succession that has been playing out since 2004, when Mr Lim gave up the post of chairman of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and his son Lim Guan Eng, 46, took over the powerful secretary-general post. But now there are angry rumblings within the party, with members refusing to offer the son the same deference granted the father. Senior DAP leader Ong Chee Keng went public with the discontent after he was sacked on Friday, accusing Lim Guan Eng of engineering his downfall. 'He is the source of the crisis in the party,' Mr Ong said. 'He is the hidden hand pulling all the strings.' The differences had been festering for months but the sudden resignation of a regional leader and state assemblyman early last week brought things to a head. He accused the 'party leadership' of sidelining him. That resignation sparked another round of factional bloodletting that saw Mr Ong dumped as Selangor party chairman. There are fears that the squabbles could damage the party's standing ahead of a general election widely expected by the end of next year. The elder Lim, who now holds the advisory post of party policy chairman, has maintained silence throughout the controversy, saying it was 'improper' for him to get involved. But Lim Guan Eng dismisses the accusations against him as the work of 'disgruntled elements'. 'There are differences, but the government-controlled media is playing them up to show we are woefully divided,' he said. 'The party is changing to win over a new generation of Malaysians. Some party leaders fear change; they fear losing out.' The dissident faction in the DAP said Lim Guan Eng's abrasive manner triggered the split, but another faction had rallied behind the secretary-general, saying he was the best bet the party had to carry on the elder Lim's legacy of fighting for justice and democratic rights. Under the elder Lim, the DAP championed the common man - hawkers, labourers and Chinese - and educated office workers. But Lim Guan Eng is pushing the party to embrace new technology - internet-based streaming radio and television, political websites and blogging - to appeal to educated, Net-savvy, multi-ethnic voters. The tactics paid off handsomely in the Sarawak state elections last year when the party won five constituencies, fielding young, first-time candidates. Lim Guan Eng wants to repeat the success nationally at the next election. 'He can't satisfy everybody. People must accept the fact that he is very experienced for his age,' said DAP vice-chairman M. Kula Segaran, a supporter. 'He has also been a lawmaker for three terms.' Lim Guan Eng, an accountant by profession, was imprisoned for three years in 1998 for sedition after a battle with the government over an under-age girl allegedly raped by a government minister. Despite earning praise within the party from friends and critics alike, some say prison could have drained him emotionally. 'He is extremely intelligent and energetic, but those who know him say he is a little short on ... emotional intelligence,' wrote Jocelyn Tan, political analyst with The Star.