Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang DAP State Committee meeting held at Penang DAP Hqrs on Wednesday, 19th February 1992 at 8.30 p.m.
Call on Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to explain why it required 15 months of public lobbying by Gerakan state and national leaders, including two special trips to Penang by the Gerakan President, before Tan Ghim Hwa was appointed MPPP President
Tomorrow will be a great day for the Penang Gerakan, for after 15 months of lobbying and pressuring the Penang State Government and the Penang Chief minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, it has finally succeeded in getting the Penang Gerakan Chairman, Tan Ghim Hwa appointed as MPPP President.
The full story of the 15-month lobby for the Tan Ghim Hwa as MPPP President has still to be told.
The lobbying for Tan Ghim Hwa to be appointed as MPPP President started almost immediately after the October 1990 general elections, and the first news report quoting ‘a Gerakan source’ naming Tan Ghim Wah as the Gerakan candidate for the post “to make the MPPP more accountable to the electorate” appeared in the first week of November 1990.
All speculation on the appointment, however, was nipped in the bud when the State local government committee chairman, Dr. Goh Cheng Teik, announced on December 13, 1990 that the post of the MPPP President would be kept vacant, and would be temporarily held by the Penang State Secretary, until the outcome of a State Government review of the local government set-up of the two Municipalities in the State.
The Penang Gerakan however was not prepared to admit defeat, and in April 1991, the Penang Gerakan Vice Chairman, Dr. Choong Sim Poey, broke the party silence and publicly said that the Barisan Nasional state component parties had agreed that the MPPP should be headed by a ‘politician of calibre’ – and again Tan Ghim Hwa’s name was mentioned and his candidacy publicly lobbied.
When nothing happened, the Penang Gerakan brought in the ‘big guns’ from the Gerakan national level, and this was why at the end of the May 1991, the Gerakan National Vice President, Kerk Choo Ting, joined the public lobby for Tan Ghim Hwa, declaring that the Gerakan Central Committee was confident that Tan Ghim Hwa ‘was capable of doing a good job’ because of his ‘reputation as a man without fear or favour’.
It is recent history that women all this public lobbying by national and state Gerakan leaders failed, the Gerakan President himself, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, had to come personally to Penang twice to publicly pressurise the Penang State Government and Dr. Koh Tsu Koon for the appointment of Tan Ghim Hwa as MPPP President.
The Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, should explain why it required 15 months of public lobbying by Gerakan state and national leaders, including two special trips to Penang by the Gerakan President, before Tan Ghim Hwa was appointed MPPP President as this is a matter of public interest.
What is evident is that the 15-month lobby to get Tan Ghim Hwa appointed MPPP President must be full of political intrigues and manoevourings involving the Barisan Nasional parties and personalities in Penang as well as outside the state.
DAP Supports the break-up of the two Penang Mucipal Councils into several smaller local councils to make them more manageable and efficient
A few days ago, the UMNO MP fror Tasek Gelugor and Parliamentary Secretary to the Agriculture Ministry, Haji Mohamad Shariff Omar, suggested that the State Government restructure the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) by breaking it into several smaller local councils.
He said the restructuring of the MSPS was necessary in view of the vastness of the area which falls under its jurisdiction, which is supposed to service Sungai Muda (Bumbung Lima) in the north to Sungai Kerian in Nibong Tebal.
He said: “After so many years in existence, the quality of services is still poor. The existing council is covering too large an area.”
I agree with Mohamad Shariff. The MPSP could be broken up into at least three local authorities covering Butterworth, Bukit Mertajam and Nibong Tebal. The same applies to the MPPP on the island.
The DAP supports the suggestion for the break-up of the two Municipal Councils in Penang into smaller councils, so that they are more manageable and efficient.
The Penang State Government should give this proposal serious consideration.