Statement By Lim Guan Eng In Penang On 11.2.2008:
Penang Chief Minister Is Decided Not By Gerakan But By UMNO, Marking The
Battle In Penang As Between Perpetuating UMNO’s Political Dominance Or
Reducing UMNO’s Political Dominance To Ensure Democracy’s Survival
Acting Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon’s hand was clearly forced
by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after
Abdullah had said he would decide for the Penang Chief Minister if the
latter was unable to make up his mind whether to contest a state seat or
go for a parliament seat. A few hours later Koh Tsu Koon had no
choice but to announce early that he was going for a federal seat and
give up his Chief Minister’s post.
What is disappointing not only to Penang voters but also
Gerakan is that Koh Tsu Koon was unable to decide on his successor but
had to let the Prime Minister decide on three names proposed by Koh.
Clearly it is UMNO, not Gerakan or Penang voters who decide who is going
to be our next Penang Chief Minister.
By right, Gerakan should have the sole prerogative to
decide by submitting one name for endorsement by the Prime Minister. If
three names are to be proposed, it should be submitted to the Gerakan
Central Executive Committee(CEC) for approval and not to UMNO. By ceding
the right to UMNO and the Prime Minister to decide which of the three
names would be the new Penang Chief Minister, the next Penang Chief
Minister is clearly the chosen one by UMNO.
UMNO’s decision on the next Penang Chief Minister only
highlights UMNO’s unhealthy political dominance. Clearly the next
general elections in Penang will be a tough battle for the DAP as DAP
will be battling not only MCA or Gerakan, but the colossus that is UMNO.
A vote for MCA or Gerakan or MIC is equal to a vote for UMNO.
Penang voters must ask whether it is acceptable that the
Penang Chief Minister be decided by UMNO instead of Gerakan. That the
new Penang Chief Minister is decided not by Gerakan but by UMNO, marks
the battle in Penang as on the one hand between perpetuating UMNO’s
political dominance by supporting its allies in MCA and Gerakan or
reducing UMNO’s political dominance to ensure democracy’s survival.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The challenge for
Penang voters is whether they can rise up to challenge UMNO’s divisive
and discriminatory policies and let UMNO know that it is the voters of
Penang that finally decide their leaders.
Lim Guan Eng,