Would Ling Liong Sik eventually kow-tow to
the concerted pressure mounted directly and openly by UMNO and Gerakan big
guns over the PORR conflict?
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):
The MCA-Gerakan power tussle over
the two Penang MCA State Assembly members Tan Cheng Liang (Jawi) and Lim Boo
Chang (Datuk Keramat) for abstaining in the motion by the DAP Assemblyman
for Batu Lanchang, Law Heng Kiang in the recent Penang State Assembly to
defer the RM1.02 billion Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) project has now
turned into a conflict between MCA and UMNO.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, who is also BN chairperson, has openly warned
that the MCA must abide by the stand taken by the Barisan Nasional , and the
BN reserves the right to sack any component party, in this case, the MCA.
The BN Chairman even implied that the MCA has not been upholding the system
of co-operation in the front in dealing with the matter.
This was the most serious warning coming from Dr Mahathir Mohamad ever since
the eruption of the PORR conflict. He was responding to MCA president Dr
Ling Liong Sik's statement yesterday that BN could not
directly impose any disciplinary action on individual members of component
parties. Ling was reported to have said that according to the BN
constitution, participation in the front was based on parties and not
individuals. Ling has claimed that it was the responsibility of a component
party to take disciplinary action against errant members.
On Nov 29, Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced to the press that the Umno supreme
council proposed that MCA sacks the duo from the party. This was supported
by Gerakan leaders, including president Dr Lim Keng Yaik and
vice-president Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
The entire nation is watching the "Tussle of the Year" anxiously. The big
question now is whether Ling Liong Sik would eventually kow-tow to the
concerted pressure mounted directly and openly by UMNO and Gerakan big
guns, none other than Dr Mahathir, Ahmad Badawi and Dr Lim Keng Yaik. It
appears that Liong Sik would have no choice but to sack both Lim and Tan who
claimed that they have acted with their conscience in the interest of
the Penang people.
I personally do not believe that the BN would go to the extent of sacking
MCA from the coalition. The UMNO and other component parties still need the
support of the MCA members in the general elections. What Liong Sik
has to worry about is actually his individual interest. It's unlikely that
Liong Sik would risk jeopardising his own position in the government. He has
time and again trade off party interest and party image to preserve his
self-interest in the past. It's therefore a foregone conclusion that both
Lim and Tan would turn out to be the sacrificial lambs in this "Tussle of
Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP National Publicity