Speech (Part 2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang Wanita DAP Chinese New Year reception held at Penang DAP Hqrs at Lorong Kinta, Penang on Sunday, 9th February 1992 at 8 p.m.
DAP calls on Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to resolve the Penang Barisan Nasional crisis by convening Penang State Assembly meeting to decide on the appointment of the MPPP President
The Penang Barisan Nasional is facing a crisis over the appointment of the new Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) President and the Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, has found this problem his greatest ‘headache’ since becoming Chief Minister of Penang.
DAP calls for the convening of the Penang State Assembly to decide on the appointment of the MPPP President and resolve this Penang Barisan Nasional crisis.
The Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, had come to Penang twice to put pressure on the Penang State Government to appoint a Geralan nominee to head the MPPP and publicly intervene in what is basically a Penang State Government administrative problem.
In mid-December last year, after a three-hour Gerakan Central Committee meeting in Penang, Keng Yaik publicly condemned the MPPP as “impotent and decadent”, and blamed it for causing the Gerakan to lose four State Assembly seats on the island during the 1990 general elections.
But Keng Yaik’s viewpoint was virtually rejected by Penang Deputy Chief Minister and Penang UMNO State Secretary, Dr. Ibrahim Saad, who pointedly 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?”
Keng Yaik was given two public slaps in the face by the Penang State Government
It was no surprise therefore when in early January, Keng Yaik was given a public slap in the face when the Penang State Executive Council not only retained Datuk Kamaruzzaman Shariff as MPPP President, but re-appointed 20 of the 25 MPPP Councillors after Keng Yaik had publicly denounced them as ‘impotent and decadent’.
A week later, Keng Yaik returned to Penang a second time and again publicly pressurised the Penang State Government to appoint a Gerakan nominee to be the MPPP President.
But Keng Yaik was given the second slap in the face when Koh Tsu Koon announced at the end of January that although Kamaruzzaman Shariff was transferred as Penang State Secretary to Kuala Lumpur on February 1 as deputy director-general of PSD, Kamaruzzaman would continue as Acting MPPP President till end of February.
The Penang Barisan Nasional crisis over the appointment of MPPP President has caused Kamaruzzaman to create history in local government in Malaysia, for he is the first person to run a Municipal Council by remote control, running the MPPP from Kuala Lumpur – although for less than a month!
The Penang Chief Minister and the State Executive Council knew months in advance of the transfer of Kamaruzzaman to Kuala Lumpur on February 1. Why couldn’t a new MPPP President be appointed immediately on Kamaruzzaman’s transfer on Feb. 1, instead of asking him to continue to run MPPP from Kuala Lumpur by ‘remote control’?
DAP calls on Tsu Koon to make public the reservations and objections to the appointment of Tan Shim Hwa as MPPP President
Why was the Gerakan National President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, given two public slaps in the face by the Penang State Government whose Chief Minister is Dr. Koh Tsu Koon of Gerakan?
Is the Penang State Government a Gerakan State Government or a UMNO State Government?
It is open secret that the ‘hot Gerakan favourite’ for the post of MPPP President is Tan Ghim Hwa. Clearly, there are many strong and powerful reservations and objections to the appointment of Tan Ghim Hwa as MPPP President, and the people of Penang are entitled to know what are these reservations and objections, and from who – so that they could judge this issue themselves.
I do not know whether Keng Yaik has to come a Penang at third time to put public pressure on Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to appoint a Gerakan appointee as MPPP President for he might get at third public slap in the face.
But now, even the Penang MCA has lost confidence in Koh Tsu Koon in the appointment of the MPPP President. This is why the Penang MCA, which was totally rejected by the people of Penang in the 1990 general elections, have become so bold as to demand that the MCA should take over the post of MPPP President. The Penang MCA has no confidence that any Gerakan nominee for MPPP President can stop the ‘incompetence and decadence’ of the MPPP.
It is most unseemly and disgraceful for the Barisan Nasional component parties to be fighting and squabbling for the post of MPPP, and the DAP calls on Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to submit the issue to the Penang State Assembly for debate and decision.