by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Friday, January 3, 1992:
The reappointment of the MPPP President and 20 former MPPP Councillors is a public slap in the face of the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr.Lim Keng Yaik, who had condemned the MPPP as ‘decadent and impotent’
The reappointment of the Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) President, Datuk Kamaruzzaman Shariff, and 20 former of the 24 former MPPP Councillors is a public slap in the face of the Gerakan President and the Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Dr.Lim Keng Yaik, who had condemned the MPPP as ‘decadent and impotent’ two weeks ago.
The Penang State Local Government had New Villages Development Committee Chairman, Dr.Goh Cheng Teik, said after the swearing in the ceremony of the 24 MPPP Councillors yesterday that the State Government had not discussed whether the council president’s job should be given to someone else.
Dr.Lim Keng Yaik had specifically blamed the MPPP’s ‘decadent and impotent’ on the MPPP President, on the ground that he was a civil servant who was completely insensitive to the needs and problems of the ordinary people on the Penang Island.
Is Dr.Koh Tsu Koon too weak and impotemt to remove Datuk Kamaruzzaman Shariff as MPPP President despite the public help from Dr.Lim Keng Yaik?
Does this mean that the Penang Chief Minister, Dr.Koh Tsu Koon, too weak and impotent to remove Datuk Kamaruzzaman Shariff, despite the public help from Dr.Lim Keng Yaik, who had come all the way to Penang two weeks ago to specifically pass ‘judgement’ on the ‘decadent and impotent’ of the MPPP?
Or is it because the Gerakan State Government, and in particular Dr.Koh Tsu Koon and Dr.Goh Cheng Teik repudiate Dr.Lim Keng Yaik’s condemnation of the MPPP as ‘decadent and impotent’, and regard the MPPP as most efficient and competent, as to justify the retention of Datuk Kamaruzzaman Shariff as MPPP President and the reappointment of 20 of 24 former MPPP Councillors, like the Penang Gerakan Youth Chairman who had publicly admitted that he was incapable of ‘big things’!
This is most unthinkable, for the condemnation of the MPPP as ‘decadent and impotent’- which is one million times worse than saying that the MPPP is corrupt- did not come from a small-fry in the Gerakan but from the President of the party.
The people of Penang would have expected the instant dismissal of Datuk Kamaruzzaman Shariff as MPPP President after Dr.Lim Keng Yaik had gone on public record that the MPPP is ‘decadent and impotent’ and blamed it, among other things, on having a government servant to head the MPPP.
The people of Penang are entitled to ask the Gerakan as well as the Gerakan government what game they are playing, when the MPPP President and 20 of the 24 former MPPP Councillors are reappointed after Dr.Lim Keng Yaik had condemned them for being ‘decadent and impotent’!
Two Options for Dr.Lim Keng Yaik-insist on MPPP President’s removal or apologise to the MPPP President
Although he is Gerakan President and A Federal Minister, Datuk Dr,Lim Keng Yaik, should be fair to Datuk Kamaruzzaman Shariff even though he is civil servant. Dr.Lim has only two options.
If Keng Yaik is a man of his word and a man of honour, and stands by his statement that the MPPP is ‘decadent and impotent’, then he must insist that the Gerakan Chief Minister, Dr.Koh Tsu Koon and the Penang State Exco member in charge of local government, Dr.Goh Cheng Teik, shoild dismiss Kamaruzzaman Shariff as MPPP President and the revocation of the reappointment of 20 of the 24 former MPPP Councillors.
If Keng Yaik is not prepared to stand by his public statement condemning the MPPP as ‘decadent and impotent’, then he should publicly withdraw his statement and apologise to Datuk Kamaruzzaman Shariff for defamation of character.
There is no third way for Dr.Lim Keng Yaik, if he is a political leader of principle and honour.
It is now said that Dr.Lim Keng Yaik wants the Penang State Gerakan Chairman, Tan Ghim Hwa, to be appointed MPPP President in a month or two. If the whole MPPP is as ‘decadent and impotent’, the replacement of Kamaruzzaman Shariff with Tan Ghim Hwa will not be of much use. What is needed is not the change of one person, but the overhaul of the entire system of the MPPP.
The whole system of nomination and appointment of the MPPP and the MPSP Councillors has clearly become rotten to the core as evidenced by the latest scandal of the ‘decadence and impotence’ of the MPPP.
The entire Penang State Government and the MPPP seem more interested in ‘passing the buck’ and blame the rot in the MPPP on others, except on themselves.
Last Sunday, the State Cleanliness and Beautification Programme action committee chairman, Dr.Chin Fook Weng, blamed the Municipal Council health officers, inspectors and supervisors for not doing their job well and should be held responsible for the ‘dirty image’ on the island. Dr.Chin is one of the 20 former MPPP Councillors who has been reappointed.
Yesterday, Kamaruzzaman ‘passed the buck’ and blamed the apathy of the Georgetown residents for most of the Council’s woes, especially in matters of cleanliness.
What the MPPP President, all MPPP Councillors and the Penang Chief Minister should understand is that the apathy of the people is because of the abolition of local government elections creating a MPPP which is a not responsible or accountably directly to the ratepayers, and which is cut off from the people.
As a result, it has spawned what Dr.Lim Keng Yaik has described as the ‘decadence and impotence’ of the MPPP. The most effective way to remove such apathy, as well as the ‘decadence and impotence’ of the MPPP, is to restore local government elections where the MPPP Councillors are directly elected by and responsible to the ratepayers.