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Dr Koh Tsu Koon Should Dismiss Penang UMNO Youth’s Proposal Of A Rotation Of The Penang Chief Minister’s Post As A Desperate Attempt To Show That It Is Still Relevant And Concerned About People’s Issues Instead Of Indulging In False Rumours Which Glamorous Actress Has Married Its Top Leaders


Press Statement

by Lim Guan Eng

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Gerakan future President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has badly stumbled in his first step of “leadership with power” by mishandling the Penang UMNO Youth’s proposal of a rotation of the Penang Chief Minister’s post to give equal opportunities to all component BN parties. Instead of marginalizing UMNO Youth as mischievous troublemakers, he has given them credibility and weight by advising Penang Umno Youth to "analyse" whether in making such a proposal the timing was right in terms of political strategy.

Can he not see though Penang UMNO Youth’s political strategy in making such a proposal? Penang UMNO has long sought the Penang Chief Ministership post and only the open and public support of DAP that Gerakan must hold on to the Penang Chief Minister’s post, especially by Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang in the 1980s and 1990s despite having more seats than Gerakan, has thwarted UMNO’s ambitions. DAP’s firm and principled stand has fashioned a consensus in Penang that this is the only state in Malaysia that UMNO has no divine right to rule as the Chief Minister.


Dr Koh should have dismissed the Penang UMNO Youth’s proposal as a desperate attempt to show that it is still relevant and concerned about people’s issues instead of indulging in false rumours which glamorous actress has married its top leaders. Koh should have reprimanded them for challenging this consensus. By advising UMNO Youth to analyze whether the timing was right in terms of political strategy Dr Koh looks both ridiculous and weak. Ridiculous because UMNO Youth’s political strategy is so clear and weak because Koh is willing to entertain UMNO Youth’s proposal. According to Koh, only the timing of UMNO becoming Penang Chief Minister is not right.


The fact that Gerakan and Dr Koh is willing to even entertain the possibility of UMNO taking over the Penang Chief Ministership is a betrayal of the mandate given by the people to Gerakan in the last general elections - which was clearly on the basis of Gerakan as Penang Chief Minister. By willing to even consider such a proposal not from the parent but from a mere youth body proves the marginalisation of Penang Gerakan and Koh himself as “hanging on to the house without hanging on to power”. No wonder Penang’s state administration is in a mess with severe problems ranging from transportation, basic amenities and the environment.


Penang Umno Youth chief Salim Bari may claim that the proposal was not racial because the post would be rotated with MCA and is not the exclusive property of any community. (And what about MIC?) However he contradicts himself by forgetting that both UMNO and MCA are racial parties that do not even allow other Malaysians to join. Such a proposal would have more credibility and moral authority if political parties such as UMNO, MIC and MCA are multi-racial to ensure that the most qualified person is chosen.


If Salim is sincere then he should also propose that the Prime Minister’s post and all the other Menteri Besar posts in other states be rotated. After all, in Parliament UMNO MPs  can not rule on its own. Applying another explanation of UMNO Youth that the rotation is necessary to help the Malays who are backward, then why does he not support natives from Sabah and Sarawak to be Prime Ministers? Neither Kadazans can become Chief Ministers in Sabah nor Ibans in Sarawak.


For this reason such hypocrisy and double-standards by UMNO Youth should be dismissed by Koh as an attempt to distract attention from UMNO internal crisis of a power struggle between the present and former Prime Minister. For Dr Koh to give weight to UMNO Youth is irresponsible, diminishes himself as Penang Chief Minister, reduces the standing and bargaining power of Gerakan as well as puts at risk the accepted consensus that UMNO has no right to the Penang UMNO Ministership.


To prevent UMNO Youth’s proposal to be taken seriously and prevent this eventuality from becoming his legacy as Chief Minister, Koh should assert himself forcefully. Koh should either direct UMNO Youth to shut up in his capacity as BN Penang Chair because they are wrong in challenging this consensus or publicly ignore this as “little boys’ mishief”.



* Lim Guan Eng,  Secretary-General of DAP

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