By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Tuesday, August 10, 1993:
Ghim Hwa has ‘without beating’, self-admitted’ and made the historic confession that Tsu Koon is a Penang Chief Minister ‘in name but not in fact’
Penang Gerakan Chairman, Datuk Tan Ghim Hwa, has ‘without beating, self-admmitted’ and made the historic confession that Tsu Koon is a Penang Chief Minister ‘in name but not in fact’.
In his response to my speech at the Penang DAP ‘Be A Voter For Tanjong 3, ceramah at the Penang Chinese Town Hall on Saturday night, Ghim Hwa did not even attempt to deny that the real power in the Penang State Government lies in the hands of the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Saad, but sought instead to put the blame on the DAP by claiming that “today, there is a Deputy Chief Minister in Penang is all because of Lim Kit Siang, underming the power of the Chinese in government, resulting in the Chinese party in Barisan Nasional having a very difficult bargaining qualification”.
DAP is prepared to have a debate with the Gerakan, whether inside or outside the Penang State Assembly, as to who is responsible for Tsu Koon being a Penang Chief Minister ‘in name but not in fact’ – whether, as claimed by Ghim Hwa, I forced Tsu Koon to be a Penang Chief Minister ‘in name but not in fact’, or whether Tsu Koon willingly and voluntarily chose to become a Penang Chief Minister ‘in name but not in fact’.
As far as the Penang DAP is concerned, it is the Penang Gerakan which must be full and total responsibility for Tsu Koon being a Penang Chief Minister ‘in name but not in fact’ and I want to advise the Gerakan leaders – both Penang and national – not to find the easy way out by blaming the DAP for all their political failures.
For instance, the Gerakan Youth has become the first Barisan Nasional Youth movement to support the Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik’s bid for the UMNO Youth leader’s post by criticising National DAPSY Chairman and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, for the series of exposes about the unusual wealth of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik as an ‘interference in UMNO affairs’.
It is clear that the Gerakan and Gerakan leaders do not know, or deliberately ignore, the fact that Guan Eng started exposing the unusual wealth of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik four months ago, while Rahim Tamby Cik declared that he was contesting for UMNO Youth Leader only on July 12.
In the past, the Gerakan and Gerakan Youth would have maintained total silence on issues of corruption raised by the DAP as they want the Malaysian people to believe they are sworn enemies of corruption although they dared not express any support for the DAP’s anti-corruption campaign. Now, Gerakan and Gerakan Youth have taken a new policy position where they are prepared to publicly express support – whether directly or indirectly – for UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders accused of corruption and malpractices.
Surely, Ghim Hwa will not suggest that DAP must bear responsibility for Gerakan’s political somersault and abandonment of all political principles – so that Gerakan and Gerakan Youth leaders could be in the ‘good books’ of UMNO and UMNO Youth?
Ghim Hwa did not realise that he had made a second ‘without beating, self-admitted’ confession in his reply to me – that it was because of the pressures of the Penang DAP from 1986 to 1992 that Gerakan has now succeeded in getting the post of MMPP President.
This is an example where Gerakan on its own could not get the appointment of MMPP President, but must depend on the DAP’s pressure. Ghim Hwa should thank the DAP or he could never dream of becoming the MPPP President!
However, what did Ghim Hwa do on becoming MPPP President? The first thing he demanded was that he should be the highest-paid Municipal President in the whole country- getting RM6,000 salary and RM3,600 in allowances a month while the second highest- paid Municipal President, of Johore Bahru Municipal Council, gets only RM4,276 as salary and RM1,125 in allowances a month. Tan Ghim Hwa also demanded to have a Mercedes 230 while the Johore Bahru Municipal President uses a Proton Saga!
The least the people of Penang expects from Tan Ghim Hwa after giving him the highest pay and poshest car is that he would de his job conscientiously, as making Penang the cleanest city in Malaysia, giving a fair deal to hawkers, end the constant flood problem, resolve the traffic congestion problem and turn Georgetown into a cultural centre. None of this, however, has happened.
Ghim Hwa declared in his reply that he would not contest in the next general elections. He is forced to make this declaration after I had exposed his search for a safe State Assembly seat to contest in the next general elections.
As he dare not accept the challenge to re-contest in Batu Lancang, where he was ‘mauled’ by Tan Loo Jit, he has no choice but to declare that he would not contest in the next general elections – as he could not possibly admit that he was looking for a safe seat in the next general elections or he would become another Ling Liong Sik.
Finally, however, whether Ghim Hwa would stand in a safe seat in the next general elections is something which would only be known during nomination day for the next general elections.