by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Tuesday, June 8, 1993:
Is Koh Tsu Koon suggesting that his nation-wide campaigning for the Gerakan Vice President’s post is more important than the holding of proper, legal and constitutional Penang State Assembly meetings?
Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, has failed to give strong and convincing reasons why after being informed in April that he would be joining the delegation accompanying the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to China from June 13 to 22, he did not call an earlier Penang State Assembly meeting so as not to violate the six-month rule in the Penang State Constitution and the Penang State Assembly.
The reasons given by Tsu Koon for not being able to call an earlier Penang State Assembly meeting without violating the six-month rule was that the forthcoming Penang State Assembly meeting was decided by the State Exco in February and that State Exco members were very busy with their different responsibilities.
Tsu Koon’s confession that the State Exco decided in February to call the Penang State Assembly in June is proof that the Penang Chief Minister and the State Exco members are so afraid of calling State Assembly meetings and facing DAP State Assemblymen that they have totally distirted the meaning and purpose of the six-month rule.
The six-month rule, requiring the Penang State Assembly to meet at least once every six months, lays down the maximum period where the Penang State Government could govern witout calling State Assembly meetings where it had to account for its policies, actions and measures. A responsible and accountable Government would not wait for every six-months to call a State Assembly meeting, but would hold State Assembly meetings say once in every three or four months.
Tsu Koon has however turned the six-month rule from a maximum ceiling whe the State Government cannot govern without calling State Assembly meetings into a minimum period before the State Government would summon State Assembly meetings!
Tsu Koon’s claim that he and the State Exco members were very busy with their respective responsibilities and could not hold an earlier Penang State Assembly is ridiculous. To believe him, one would have also to believe that the Penang Chief Minister and the Penang State Exco members are busier than the Prime Minister and Federal Cabinet Ministers – as Parliament had two special Parliamentary sittings between January and March this year alone!
Furthermore, is Tsu Koon suggesting that the Penang State Exco members are more important than the Penang State Assembly and the Penang State Constitution that the Penang Exco members take priority over both the Penang State Assembly and Penang State Constitution?
Tsu Koon has underestimated the intelligence of the people of Penang in claiming that the State Exco members are so busy that they could not hold an earlier Penang State Assembly meeting so as not to violate the six-month rule.
Even Tsu Koon himself cannot claim to be so busy with Penang state government affairs from April to June that the Penang State Assembly could not be held earlier.
Everybody knows that in April and May, Koh Tsu Koon spent the most time on party affairs than on State government matters in his 30-month tenure as Penang Chief Minister – for he was campaigning nation-wide to contest for the Gerakan Vice President’s post in the Gerakan national assembly at the end of May.
Is Tsu Koon suggesting that his nation-wide campaign for the Gerakan vice-president’s post is more important than the holding of proper, legal and constitutional Penang State Assembly meetings?
In any event, after all the time he had taken from his duties as Penang Chief Minister to campaign against as a possible candidature challenge from Dr. God Cheng Teik, Tsu Koon backed out of the contest for the Gerakan Vice President to give way to Dominic Puthucheary on the pressures of the Gerakan party leadership!
I am not interested in whether it reflects well or badly on Tsu Koon’s political leadership qualities in backing out in the last minute from the contest for Gerakan Vice President’s post. The people of Penang however have the right to know why he had put the Penang State Assembly so down below Gerakan party interests that he has no compunction in violating the Penang State Constitution and the Penang State Assembly Standing Orders in violating the six-month rule.