by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Thursday, 6th February 1992:
Has Lim Keng Yaik to come to Penang and intervene in the administrative of Penang State Government for a third time before Koh Tsu koon could appoint Tan Ghim Hwa as MPPP President
The people of Penang are quite mystified over the various power plays by the Barisan Nasional component parties over the appointments to the Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) this year, and in particular that of MPPP President.
The reasons for such mystification is because of the following events:
In mid-December last year, the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, after a three-hour Gerakan Central Executive Committee meeting in Penang, publicly condemned the MPPP as ‘impotent and decadant’, and blamed it for causing the Gerakan to lose four State Assembly seats on the island during the 1990 general elections. It was a very obvious power play by Keng Yaik in his demand for the appointment of a Gerakan appointee to be President of the MPPP to rid it of its ‘impotence and decadence’.
The Penang Deputy Chief Minister and Penang UMNO State Secretary, Dr. Ibrahim Saad, however regretted the controversy when he said: “Today, there is speculation of a politician or administrator being appointed as president of the Penang local government. Next, there will be further speculation that he will be a Malay, Chinese or Indian. When are all these going to stop?”
The one person who should be stating the Penang State Government’s position, namely the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, maintained a long pained silence in public!
In early January, the Gerakan President was given a public slap in the face when the Penang State Executive Council not only retained Datuk Kamaruzzaman Shariff as MPPP President, but reappointed 20 of the 24 MPPP Councillors after Keng Yaik had publicly denounced them as ‘impotent and decadent’.
A week later, Keng Yaik again returned to Penang for another power-play, and at a Gerakan dinner, again pressed for the appointment of a Gerakan political nominee to be the MPPP President.
This has raised a lot of eyebrows in the Malaysian political circles. This is because the Chief Minister of Penang is Gerakan’s Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, and there should be no need for the Gerakan National President to keep coming to Penang to publicly remind Dr. Koh of what Gerakan leadership wants him to do.
In fact, there should have been no necessity for Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to go public at all in mid-Decemer last year to press for the appointment of a Gerakan nominee as MPPP President.
Once the Gerkan Central Committee meeting in Penang had decided on the party policy on the MPPP President’s post, it would be up to Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to implement that Gerakan Central Committee decision.
The very fact that Keng Yaik had to repeatly go public on this issue, although this creates the greatest political embarrassment for the Penang Chief Minister. Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, shows that Keng Yaik does not have confidence in the ability of Dr. Koh to implement the policy decision of the Gerakan Central Committee.
The hot-favourite for the Gerakan’s nomination for the MPPP Presiednt is Tan Ghim Hwa, but it is also obvious that Dr. Koh Tsu Koon is facing considerable difficulties in making this appointment.
Kamaruzzaman Shariff has made history in local government in Malaysia is being the first person to run a Municipal Council by ‘remote control’
This is all the more obvious when the Penang State Executive Council could not immediately appoint Tan Ghim Hwa as MPPP President on the transfer of Datuk Kamaruzzaman as Penang State Secretary to Kuala Lumpur to take up his new post as deputy director-general of the PSD beginning Feb. 1.
Dr. Koh said last Friday that the State Executive Council decided at its meeting the previous day to appoint the new President of the MPPP at the end of February, and that Datuk Kamaruzzaman to continue to act as MPPP President.
Datuk Kamaruzzaman has again made history in local government in Malaysia, for he must be the first person to run a Municipal Council by remote control, running the MPPP from Kuala Lumpur! Datuk Kamaruzzaman has made other history in local government.
The Penang Chief Minister and the State Executive Council knew months in advance of the transfer of Datuk Kamaruzzaman to Kuala Lumpur on February 1. Why couldn’t a new MPPP President be appointed immediately on Datuk Kamaruzzaman’s transfer on Feb 1, instead of asking him to continue to run MPPP Kuala Lumpur by ‘remote control’?
DAP calls on Tsu Koon to make public the reservations and objections to the appointment of Tan Ghim Hwa as MPPP President
Clearly, there are many strong and powerful reservations and objections to the appointment of Tan Ghim Hwa as MPPP President, which have prevented his appointment both on January 1 and again on February 1.
The people of Penang are entitled to know these reservations and objections, and the DAP calls on the Penang Chief Minister to make public these reservations and objections – and from who – so that they could be weighed and considered by the people of Penang as well.
Dr. Koh should also explain why he had been unable to implement the policy decision of the Gerakan Central Committee and Keng Yaik had to come to Penang to intervene publicly in the administration of the Penang State Government. Has Keng Yaik to come to Penang to intervene in the administration of the Penang State Government a third time before Tsu Koon could implement the Gerakan policy decision on the MPPP President?