Saturday, December 29, 2007

Kempen Gaya Hidup Sihat Kawasan Skudai

JPMM kawasan Skudai telah mengadakan Kempen Gaya Hidup Sihat di Skudai Parade pada 29 Disember 2007 mulai pukul 11 pagi. Kempen ini bertujuan untuk mengembangkan gaya hidup sihat di kalangan rakyat. Di antara acara acara yang di adakan adalah pemeriksaan tekanan darah, pemeriksaan kencing manis, khidmat nasihat pemakanan serta pameran gaya hidup sihat. Acara diresmikan oleh YB Dato Teo Kok Chee, ADUN Kawasan Skudai. Dengan adanya acara acara sebegini adalah diharapkan Gaya Hidup Sihat akan menjadi amalan hidup orang ramai dan seterusnya meningkatkan tahap kesihatan rakyat Malaysia.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Gerakan Website

Gerakan Gelang Patah under Jason Ang has came out with an excellent website for PGRM Gelang Patah at It contains news, pictures and movies for Gerakan Gelang Patah and the ADUN for Skudai, Dato Teo Kok Chee. The website chronicles the news and events in Gelang Patah by Gerakan members and leaders. Professionally maintained by Jason Ang's web solutions company, AKYWEB.COM the website is chockful of info, pictures and even videos hosted in youtube on Gerakan activities.

Ketua Pemuda Gerakan Pasir Gudang received vest from BN.

Sdr Koo Shiaw Lee, Ketua Pemuda Gerakan Pasir Gudang receiving a vest from Dato Khalid Nordin, Chairman of BN Pasir Gudang during the Sedia Gempur ceremony in Permas Jaya. With election expected to be in March, members of BN are expected to be fully prepared for the battle ahead. Pasir Gudang being a safe seat is reassuring but there will be no compromise in effort to ensure a similar victory next year. Sentiments among the chinese and indians for the present government has dropped recently and this mean the job for the minority parties have become more difficult. More effort will have to be made to get the voters out to vote.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Barisan Nasional Pasir Gudang Ready To Rumble

Pemuda UMNO Pasir Gudang organised an event to mark the readiness of the division's youth for the election. Event was held at the new Song Market in Permas Jaya at 9 am Saturday, 22 December 2007. Attended by about 200 members from various component parties, it was officiated by Dato Khalid Nordin. Gerakan Pasir Gudang had 8 representative at the event.

Led by a posse of bikers, Dato Khalid Nordin swaggered into the parking lot and shook hands with everyone present. After speeches by the organizers and Dato Khalid Nordin, a vest wearing ceremony followed by the release of balloons signaled the start of the campaign. The election is now believe to be now schedule for March 2008, the favorite no 3 of the PM as alleged by the mass media.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What if there were no Christians in Malaysia?

Recently, the MP of Parit Sulong has suggested that all crosses in missionary schools should be removed to reflect the the culture of the Malaysian population.

Actually, that is a good idea. After all it is not like there are many Christians in these missionary schools anyway. Even if there are some, the numbers are too insignificant and could be easily overlooked. For one thing, we will promote the signages industry because a lot of signboards will have to be replaced. Who wants a foreign influence in the place our pure young minds develop their thinking.

As my two cents worth, I propose the replacement of the letter "T" and "X" from our alphabet. They look like crosses and could easily influence our weak minded souls to believe in Christianity. They should be replaced by crescent-like letter "C" instead.

Wich chis modificacions, our souls will remain pure and everyone will know chac we are good people who believe in god. In facc, ic will be simpler for everyone because we will have cwo less alphabec co learn. Chink of che keyboard space we will be saving on all lapcops. Ic will make the lapcops lighcer coo. Learning the alphabec will be 7% fascer wich only 24 alphabecs co learn. Ceachers will no longer allowed to mark exam papers wich a cross. Chey will have co use a "C" inscead. And che good news is, chere will be c raced movies inscead of che ocher word. No more blue films in Malaysia. Hooray!!!

We will using che celephone co order cake out from Pizza Huc. We will cake che caxi co go co Berjaya Cimes Square and enjoy che cheme park. We will ride che roller coascer, eac ceppanyaki and drink ceh. Chen we will wacch a movie, " Che Cransformer" before deciding co go home.

Hey, we should be doing chis already. Life could be simpler.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How to see the past?

When we look up in the sky on a clear night, we will see thousands of twinkling lights scattered across the vast universe. Some, of course are not stars even though they look like one. They are satellites, planets, moons of planets and other extra terrestrial objects. Do you know that when we look at a star, we are actually looking back into time? Light travels at, well, light speed (that is very fast in layman's term) and that still takes a few years for the light to arrive from the nearest star. So essentially we are looking at the star a few years back. At this very moment, the star could have gone supernova and exploded due to mass indigestion of its natives. And we will only know in a few years.

So let say we have a vehicle which is faster than the speed of light and we take this vehicle to a location very far from here, say 10 light years away. But we will reach there in only 1 year because we have hitched a ride with Captain Kirk on the Enterprise which was traveling at maximum warp speed all the way. Now, let say we also have a super duper telescope that can have an infinite magnification and we train the super duper telescope on Earth, I bet we could see ourselves ten years ago or nine years before we started our journey because the light has taken 10 years to reach that location.

What if Captain Kirk wasn't available? Well, there another way to look into the past. Take two mirrors of identical size slightly smaller than you. Place the two mirrors across a well lighted room facing each other. Stand behind one of the mirrors. Look into the reflection on the other mirror. On that mirror, there should be a reflection of you behind a mirror. Look closely in the reflection of the mirror in front of you and you should see a mirror with a reflection of you behind a mirror. As you look into the mirrors, you are actually looking into the past because the the distance traveled by light although insignificant at room size could be significant as you increased the size of the mirrors and the number of reflections that could be seen in the mirrors. Imagine a planet size mirrors, placed at the distance of the moon. The reflections in those mirrors could be light years apart and in the end you will be looking into history. Try it and be surprised!!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Political Opportunist or AKA Barnacles from the DAP

There are many kinds of politicians in Malaysia. Some politicians like to do good and let their deeds be judged by the public at the ballot box. Then there are a kind that like to dig up dirt on their opponents and points out the flaw in others while trying to increase their political image. The third kind is worst of them all. They are the kind that preys on the miseries of others and twist their plight to promote their own agenda. These opportunists or also known as "barnacles" are like a parasite that enjoys the facilities of its host but at the same time defecates in it, making it impossible for everyone else to enjoy the facility.

Recently, the opposition has been highlighting the Pontian Flyover problems on the chinese press. It is hard not to suspect that the chinese press are not sleeping in the same bed as the opposition by the lopsided report on the Pontian Flyover problems.

Among the qualms are:

Taman Sri Skudai access road has been cut off and business has dropped. The main complain is that traffic from the north(ie Senai) will not be able to access directly into the main business center. Another complaint is that, the residents will have to travel a couple of km further to make a U turn if they wish to go to JB or Senai.

What strike me strange with the report is the one sidedness of it all. Where are the interviews with the people who has benefited from this structure? Maybe anyone from Pekan Nenas or Pontian will do. Or even Taman University or anybody from Senai because NOW there is no more jam at the intersection. Focusing their attention on a few provoked protesters from Taman Sri Skudai is bad journalism. Of course there will be changes in traffic pattern. Some people might be disadvantaged but no real study was done before the paper decided to highlight the alleged bad decision of the government to build the flyover.

The truth is Taman Sri Skudai was already a depressed area long before the flyover was even a figment of anybody's imagination. It was never a bustling business area and cheap rents encouraged the infestation of dirty illegal workshops in the area. The main problem could be the never ending traffic jam along Jalan Skudai in the 90s.

The Skudai - Pontian junction was also a major problem area until the flyover was opened not too long ago. Now, the traffic is clear until Senai and Pulai Perdana before the first traffic light appear. With this improvement, the population along the Pontian road will cut down their traveling time and could also benefit from an increase in real estate prices. Population from Taman Universiti, Desa Skudai, Pulai Perdana, Pulai Jaya up to Pekan Nenas will benefit from this flyover. In fact, the population from Taman Sri Skudai will not lose out too. With the jam gone, people will not be adverse to travel to Taman Sri Skudai anymore. Even if the access road is a bit further down the road, many road users will be thankful for the smooth and stress-free traffic. Long term study needs to be done to assess the effects of the flyover to not only the population of Taman Sri Skudai but also the surrounding areas and not forgetting Pekan Nenas, Ulu Choh, Pontian and Senai.

The economic and social benefit from this flyover will be tremendous. Let not the cries of a disgruntled and provoked few stain our judgment. There are forces out there that will take advantage of any situation (even a good one) just to score points with the political electorate. And as for the press covering this event, print the facts please. Take the RED pill.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Single Mother Charity Night

Gerakan Gelang Patah Wanita had a Single Mother Charity Night at Bestmart last Saturday night. The charity dinner was attended by the state chairman, Dato Teo Kok Chee and also Dato Tan Lian Hoe, the Gerakan Wanita national president. The objective of the dinner was to raise fund for the single mother fund championed by the Wanita. Love cookies were sold to raise fund apart from the normal donations by concerned citizens. Total raised for the fund was RM13000. The head of Gelang Patah Gerakan Wanita, Sdri Ong Poh Hoi handed a mock cheque to Dato Tan Lian Hoe. Various entertainment programs including a hilarious chinese opera snippet, belly dancing troupe and young women jazz dance group were on hand to entertain the crowd. The full house hall was ably "MC"ed by Sdri Loo Mun Fong, the secretary for the Wanita Gelang Patah.

Gerakan Pasir Gudang to organize charity dinner for WOU

Gerakan Pasir Gudang has convened a committee to organize a charity dinner for Wawasan Open University. Tentatively scheduled for December or January 08, the dinner aims to raise RM50000 for the education fund for WOU. Dr Ker Ching Shen, Gerakan Pasir Gudang chairman, will head the committee to organize the 100 table event to held in Johor Jaya. Expected guest of honor will be Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, the Chief Minister of Penang and also the acting President of Gerakan Malaysia.

In the same thread, Wawasan Open University Regional Office will be officially opened by the Menteri Besar of Johor, Dato Abdul Ghani Othman on 19 November 2007 at 2.30pm. The office is located at Taman Jaya, Skudai. That is beside Skudai Parade in Skudai. Be sure to be there to witness this historic event. At the opening of the Ipoh branch, the MB donated a total of RM150000 and a piece of land to WOU. Just can't wait what the MB here will give. After all, we are right in the middle of the education hub of the Iskandar Development Region.

Monday, October 8, 2007

NDC, Photo Whores and the Kiss Ass Jacks

The NDC is over and the baton has been passed. Without LKY at the NDC, all attention was on KTK. The press seems impressed with our scholarly and grammatically correct leader but certain sections of the delegates is not too happy with the dry delivery and to them, not enough chinese content. It seems to these people, they would like the leader to acknowledge the majority's language even though there are delegates who will be left out when chinese is used. Gerakan being a non racial party is right to use our national language as the lingua franca because being a Malaysian after 50 years of independence, nobody has a right to say they do not know the language. This tyranny of the majority should be stopped, at all levels.

Whenever an SDC or NDC comes along, there will be a species of members that will flourish. When a camera is flashed, these species of members will be right in front of the camera. The species has a sixth sense to warn them of an impending photo session and has the uncanny ability to squeeze into the best spot usually beside a VIP or just behind them. No wonder they are known as Photo Whores or P-Hoes for short.

Another species that thrives during SDC and NDC is the Kiss Ass Jacks or KAJs for short. This species will be the first ones to volunteer for the Airport Run to fetch the VIPs. It seems by being near the VIPs, whatever VIPness will be transferred by osmosis to these species and as a consequence they will feel more important than they really are. Sort of like the side mirrors in cars, objects appear closer than they really are. Sometimes the urge is so strong that official duties are even neglected to the detriment of the party, thus negating any VIPness absorbed because other members will be cursing them for not performing their responsibilities.

Look out for these species in the next SDC, NDC or even at the 100 tables Dinner. Psst psst heard there will be a 300+ table dinner coming up soon. Just get the cheques ready ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Gerakan AGM 2007

Issues of grave concern to be discussed in Gerakan AGM
Giam Say Khoon
KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 4, 2007): Gerakan's three-day National Delegates Conference (NDC) which starts tomorrow will see about 1,800 members raising issues of concern that could affect the performance of the party in the next general elections.

However, the issues will be tackled subtly in the guise of explaining and promoting the Rukun Negara, Federal Constitution, Vision 2020 and the National Mission - all contentious topics that can be sensitive to some, if not all.

The absence of former party president Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik will also be gossiped on the sidelines. Lim is recovering in hospital from prostate surgery.

Acting party president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon told a pre-NDC media briefing yesterday that he would be leading the delegates to recite the Rukun Negara - a first for the Gerakan's annual conference.

He said a 40-page booklet, published in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese and Tamil, highlighting the spirit,principles, framework and programmes contained in the four national documents - the Rukun Negara, Federal Constitution, Vision 2020 and the National Mission - will be given to the delegates for distribution.

The party has printed 6,000 copies for each language.

Koh said he believed the documents have and will continue to provide the foundation for nationhood, nation-building and problem-solving in a plural society.

When asked whether Gerakan would be seen as confrontational as MCA Youth's Federal Constitution-waving and Umno Youth's keris-waving stunts, Koh said:

"We do not want to raise the Constitution (like what MCA Youth did in its annual general meeting in August) in response to the raising of the keris or Malay dagger (at the Umno Youth AGM last year).

"We are not confining ourselves to the Constitution. We feel that Rukun Negara is a very eloquent elaboration of the Constitution. We have included the four documents in our booklet to serve as a reference."

Asked whether he would be announcing to the delegates his decision on whether to remain in Penang or move to federal in the next general elections, Koh said: "That will come before the next general elections. I'm still looking for the inspiration to decide."

Koh also said the allocation of seats and candidates would not be discussed at the NDC.

"Gerakan won 10 out of 12 parliamentary seats and 30 out of 31 state seats it contested in the last general elections. I do not expect a change in the number of seats to be contested by the party," he added.

However, Koh said there is a possibility the party would be switching constituencies with Barisan National component parties and feature one to four new faces.

Asked whether the delegates would be discussing strategies to reduce a swing in the Chinese votes to the Opposition, Koh said: "I will answer that after the NDC."

On the resignation of a party veteran Lai Fook Kong in Penang, Koh said: "We are saddened by his resignation but we respect his views. I do not want to criticise anyone, including the opposition. No one is perfect, if he thinks I am not doing good enough, I will work harder to be better."

Lai had on Wednesday announced his resignation from the party, saying that he was disappointed with Koh for failing to contribute enough as the state chief minister.

Koh said: "He resigned because of personal reasons."

Updated: 07:15PM Thu, 04 Oct 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Johor had their SDC on the 23rd in Batu Pahat recently. It was held at the Garden Hotel with a CC meeting on the 22nd in Kulai. That means there was an unsually large entourage of guest this time around. Kulai Division took the opportunity to hold a 200 tables out door dinner in Kelapa Sawit on the night of the 22nd. By all accounts it was considered a success.

Before the conference, there was much noise from the JB division proposing to launch a vote of no confidence on the present chairman at the conference. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and Tan Sri was able to cool down the temperature of rhetoric. However, during the meeting MP from Simpang Renggam, Datuk Kerk, took pot shots at the current leadership for not doing more for the chinese education considering its origins.

Which of course bring us to the "Anwar argument." Such tirades has been issued often enough by our former DPM against the previous goverment leadership and also the present one. The question that begs answering is what was he doing when he was in the leadership? It is difficult to fault something you are a part of. With one finger pointing at others, there are three pointing back at you. Unless you are totally out of the loop while you are in goverment, you can't absolved yourself from the taint of association. And if you are out of the loop, a bigger question begs an answer, WHY?

NDC is around the corner, on the 6th and 7th October. This year NDC is to be focused on the Rukun Negara. Being a non-racial party, Gerakan supports the universality of the Rukun Negara because it provides and protects all and discriminate none. We should uphold the law as envisioned by our forefathers. But I think the major problem with the goverment now is that nobody gets sacked. If we can get this into the goverment, I believe all major problems could be solved.

The leadership is so scared to thread on this sensitive issue that they even suggested VSS for problem employees. Is it because the goverment is too big and we need their votes? Or is it we think we can not do without the machinery that runs the goverment, even though the machinery is rusted to the core and needs a major overhaul. Something should be done and the first thing is to sack somebody. That would put fear into the bellies of the so called servants of the goverment and bring down those little Napoleons to earth.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Gerakan Leader Speaks

Rediscovering our vision
Regina William
Gerakan acting president and Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has recently urged the revival of the Rukun Negara in its totality to include the five visions, forgotten over time. The principles of the Rukun Negara were formulated in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 race riots to foster the visions of unity, democracy, justice, liberalisation and progress. Koh speaks to Regina William about the importance of going back to the basics in light of recent developments in the country.
theSun: Why do you think the five visions are important?

Koh: Because they are the visions behind the Rukun Negara - visions we want to achieve. These visions are achieved through the principles of the Rukun Negara.

I have realised this for quite a while and actually voiced it to the information minister, and that is why I must thank him for coming up with this booklet with the full version of the Rukun Negara.

The five visions are to achieve greater unity, maintain a democratic way of life, create a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably shared, ensure a liberal approach to our rich and diverse cultural traditions, and build a progressive society.

But what has been happening is that we have shortened the Rukun Negara for the purpose of reciting at school assemblies, to say that we will focus our energy and efforts to achieve the above visions through the stated principles. And that is how we start the Rukun Negara, no one ever asks what the cita-cita (aspirations) mean. We have been memorising and reciting them without asking what the visions behind the principles are.

I actually voiced my concerns a couple of times, but they were not picked up. So this time, we decided to do it right, to actually specify the visions, because it is the five visions that really reflect the spirit of the Constitution that is the foundation of this country. The visions give the premise for Vision 2020, even way back in 1970.

This was the result of consultation and consensus at that time under the National Consultative Council and it incorporated the views of all groups, including even the Opposition, at that time.

Why has there not been an emphasis on the visions before?

I think because of convenience, we emphasised on just the principles, but the principles without the visions in my opinion is incomplete. Not many Malaysians are even aware of the visions. Everyone grew up reciting only the principles.

Almost everyone memorised the five principles, but without the visions, we cannot practise the principles. What is the purpose of the principles? They are a means to an end, the visions being the end. Cita-cita means aspirations and visions. Although there is again a bit of problem with meaning, semantics and all that - aspirations and visions can be the same - but it is here (waves Rukun Negara booklet).

We had it on the back of exercise books when it was first introduced - the complete version - but later when we wanted to put it up on walls, it was easier to put up just the principles, which are important, no doubt, but incomplete. I think that it is as a result of our emphasis on just the principles, that we are not achieving the visions.

Is Gerakan bringing this up now owing to sentiments on the ground or because the party feels strongly about it?

Both. We have felt strongly about it and in fact we have tried a few times over the last few years to publicise it among our members, but more importantly, we feel that right now it is important for any group of humans to continually renew, re-emphasise and reinforce the very basic foundation of our relationships.

It applies to any grouping, more so to a nation, and a nation of multi-ethnic, multi-religious composition. And partly also because there have been instances, not just now, but periodically in our history, when sentiments have tended to overwhelm rationality, and negative ethnic sentiments tended to overwhelm positive nationalism and compassion.

In any relationship - I always like to bring out family relationships - sometimes this happens. So it is important for all the family to say "let's go back to the basics". And that is what I mean, go back to basics and reinforce this.

Has memorising the principles made any difference?

Memorising by rote would not help. We should move beyond memorising. As in any system of knowledge, we should look at how to internalise it, and more importantly, how to practise it in our day-to-day dealings with one another as Malaysians.

What do you think will come out of emphasising the visions now?

I am talking about reviving the consciousness of and commitment to the five visions or objectives. I emphasise the Rukun Negara because in a very short and simple but highly significant manner, it summarises the spirit of the Federal Constitution and the objectives and foundation of the nation. Of course the basic document we should refer to is the Constitution, but the Constitution is a huge legal document which may not be as easily understood.

How does Gerakan propose people grasp and understand the visions set forth in the Rukun Negara?

First, we need to reprint it in large numbers, and I urge every Malaysian to read through the declaration in terms of the visions and the principles as well as the original explanatory note on how these were arrived at, their purpose and what they mean.

Then in the booklet we propose to publish, we will go a step further and relate the visions and principles to the provisions in the Constitution so that people will see that both are clearly related.

We will also eventually show how Vision 2020, in a way, is a continuation of this. Pak Lah's national mission is a blueprint to achieve the vision reflected in the Rukun Negara and this summary of the Constitution.

By emphasising on the Rukun Negara and extending it to the national mission and vision, as well as retrospectively to the Constitution, you can see the whole chain of what we have been trying to achieve in the last 50 years.

We should start with the thinking adults who should take the lead, we (Gerakan) are not saying we should take the lead. We are just sharing with Malaysians our proposal.

Do you really believe understanding the visions would make a difference to the ordinary Malaysian?

I think so. Starting with thinking Malaysians, let it spread, cascade to every strata of society, and every time we are faced with a problem or difference of opinion, or even conflict, let's go back and remind ourselves of our visions and principles, be guided by the principles and inspired by the visions. In so doing, there will be more restraint and mutual respect.

Is Gerakan going to make this the party's Merdeka platform?

Not just our Merdeka platform but our platform for the future. Ironically, we are going back to a document of the past for the future - this document is easily 37 years old.

It was proclaimed by the Agong on Aug 31, 1970, but was the result of a consensus of the National Consultative Council. It is not just written by a person or group of persons, but as a result of consultation with representation from all groups.

How can the gap between the visions of the Rukun Negara and reality be bridged?

There will always be a gap between visions, ideals and reality, but that gap in itself is the driving force for continued and renewed efforts to achieve the visions. The same applies to every nation. One example I like to quote is the American Declaration of Independence.

It starts with "all men are born equal" and yet slavery continued for 100 years, segregation for another 100, and it was only recently, in the last 30 to 40 years, that there has actually been some genuine equality and justice, but again, American society is far from perfect.

Even for the most advanced nation economically, socially and scientifically, it is still an ideal. But let that not discourage us, in fact I'd like to think that a gap is always good, because otherwise, if you say we have arrived there, we would lay down our tools and not do anything.

What improvements are required of the current BN mechanism for consultation on inter-communal issues, human rights, equitable access to opportunities, etc?

The BN, and before that the Alliance, has no doubt proven to be a fairly effective formula to deal with this multi-ethnic and multi-religious society of ours.

However, as I often point out, we are not perfect, in fact far from it, but the very fact that we are in the government means that those holding government posts are often overloaded with decision-making, implementation problems and even attending to ceremonies. So I would like to propose that the BN mechanism be extended beyond the Cabinet, because the Cabinet is busy with the programmes of over 30 ministries.

At the state government, we are just overwhelmed with work and service to the people, resolving problems, you know, and moving forward, for example competing with other countries to attract investments, promote tourism, really, we are always on the run.

This in a way, does not leave enough time for thought, reflection and consultation on issues that may not be immediately urgent or explosive, but it might become so, if we don't resolve it.

So it is important that the BN mechanism be enlarged and strengthened through the formation of sub-committees on different issues rather than have everything done through the Cabinet.

Of course the committees will present views to the Cabinet and the BN supreme council or state BN council. We need groups of professionals, intellectuals, social workers with experience to participate, we need brain storming sessions, although behind closed doors at the start.

Later we can engage non-governmental organisations so that we can build a stronger foundation for the future, because a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society is very often under stress.

It takes only a few uttering senseless, insensitive statements, or venting their anger in a negative way, to upset the balance, or even undo the social fabric.

Thirty-seven years after the Rukun Negara was adopted, shouldn't there be an evaluation of how far we have come in achieving its objectives? Maybe a non-partisan caucus?

I'd start with a partisan caucus within the BN first - amongst ourselves first. That is why I support the call by (Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin) that perhaps it is time for us to begin a much more intensive consultation, not just within the cabinet or the supreme council. As said earlier, committees or working groups on various issues will result in a better understanding of those issues and enable us to formulate new strategies.

Have we achieved the objectives? Yes, in a way we have achieved partially some of the goals. For example today, I'd say that while ethnic feelings are still prevalent, there is a stronger sense of being Malaysian, generally. We all feel proud whenever Malaysia achieves something, the drive for excellence is there, although there are still areas of deficiency.

There is generally a greater acceptance of the diversity of cultures, the very slogan "Malaysia Truly Asia" is a reflection of that. There are greater opportunities for education and there is progress on many fronts - nonetheless still far from being enough and far from complete.

Will the BN state government led by you as a Gerakan leader make the Rukun Negara its guiding principle?

I have already started. If you listened to my speech to civil servants on Aug 16 to commemorate the nation's 50th year of independence, I spoke of going back to the basics, back to the Rukun Negara, and we will continue to push for it and would like to practise it.

Has the Penang state government under your leadership practised the principles and visions of the Rukun Negara?

Personally, I have tried my best to practise the visions as well as the principles, but I'll be the first to admit that I have not done enough.

By open discussion within the state exco, by encouraging my colleagues in the state exco to speak out, by taking account of diverse opinions, and in trying our best to arrive at a consensus, in a way we have been practising it, although again, not to perfection.

Should it be left only to the politicians to lead? Do you propose to get community leaders, civil society, government agencies, etc. to adopt the Rukun Negara as the guiding principle in their dealings?

It should not be left only to politicians. Although politicians in some areas may lead, I would say some act contrary to the principles.

In the urge and need for popularism, we sometimes trap ourselves into making sentimental and sensational statements that could be detrimental to the visions and go against the principles of the Rukun Negara.

I would like to see a broad base of thinking Malaysians, community leaders, civil society; everyone should try to play their role and look upon it as his or her responsibility, rather than just the turf of politicians. I would feel disappointed if this degenerates into mere sloganeering or rhetoric.

Some hardline voices have created agitation in the peaceful atmosphere of the country in recent times, making moderate Malaysians despair of the future.

There is a need to build understanding anew. How can this be done?

Moderate Malaysians should not just speak out, but engage others in their daily lives, practise what they preach and work to bring Malaysians together - in the workplace, the neighbourhood, civil society and organisations. Let us always look at the larger picture, let's remember that Malaysia is bigger than the sum of us. We must have that commitment.

The spirit of muhibbah of the 70s was a precious thing, but has fallen into disuse. Why is that? How could it be brought back with a new face today?

I'm not quite sure if we can refer to the 1970s. You must understand that the muhibbah spirit of the 70s came in the aftermath of May 13, 1969, so I hope we don't have to go through another trauma to realise how precious the spirit is and will continue to be.

To say that it has fallen into complete disuse is also too pessimistic. Let us not be distracted by the voices of a few extremists, whatever their racial background. Let us look at what is happening in society daily, where there is a lot of interaction, integration in the workplace, in the neighbourhood, where they share, where they share. Many of these stories, because they are so uninteresting, have not been brought out.

The mass media must also play a role.

For example, there is this common stereotyping, because by and large government servants are mainly Malay, policemen are mostly Malays, while businessmen especially in medium-sized businesses are mostly Chinese.

There is still an identification of race by occupation - in the public sector and in the private sector - and as a result, when there is a "confrontation" between a policeman and a motorcyclist or driver of twodifferent races, an issue that is common human weakness on both sides is seen in a racial or communal light.

That is why we should make a greater effort to integrate the various occupations, the various roles so that we have a more integrated civil service and police force. Similarly we must make genuine progress in partnerships within the private sector. We're still quite a distance from achieving that, although the NEP (New Economic Policy) has enabled greater participation, but there is still a lot of effort needed.

In hindsight, do you think Gerakan, which was founded on a multiracial platform, would have been better off on its own had it not joined the BN?

I want to correct a common misconception. Gerakan did not join the Barisan Nasional. It co-founded the BN. Although the reason might have been necessity in 1971/1972 when there was a split in Gerakan, more importantly it was because at that time, (former Gerakan president Tun Dr Lim) Chong Eu had a very good working relationship with (former prime minister Tun Abdul) Razak (Hussein).

Penang was the first state to have a coalition government between Gerakan and Umno. We had 16 seats out of 24 after the 1969 election, exactly a two thirds majority, but because of the split in the party, four of our members left.

Because of that, there was a coalition where four Umno members of the assembly joined the 12 from Gerakan to form and stabilise the Penang state government. At that time the objective was stability for development, because we had just started industrialisation by attracting foreign investment, and the need for a strong government was very real.

It was also by this process that Gerakan became one of the pioneering parties for the BN - so that was the beginning of the coalition.

This coalition is also multi-racial, our difference is that we are trying to be as Malaysian as possible by taking a non-racial approach to issues. That is why we are sometimes not very popular because we don't appeal to the basic feelings and instincts of any community, but we always try to take a rational approach.

The BN itself as a coalition through consultation has more often than not, arrived at rational solutions. I don't see any great conflict in working within the framework of the BN.

For example, Gerakan can identify very well with Vision 2020, we definitely identify with the Rukun Negara. The challenge has always been how to practise and realise it - that is a common challenge for all. So working with component parties will give us a larger platform, and if we were out of the BN, we'd still have to work with other parties.

Look at how the DAP tried earlier to work with Semangat 46, PAS in 1999, and now with Keadilan, and Keadilan trying to work with PAS, they are still looking at coalition politics.

So let us continue to give the BN a chance despite our shortcomings, which I would readily admit, but we must also see what the coalition has achieved - quite a lot and we still have a long way to go.

What is your personal wish for the nation's 50th year of independence?

That every Malaysian look upon himself or herself as Malaysian first without losing his ethnic or cultural identity and religious beliefs. I believe that Malaysia, if you look at it with an open heart, is big enough for every community and group. We should really move forward.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Is Teng Next in Line?

theSun TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 4 2007 13

Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon’s move to appoint state executive committee member Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan as acting Gerakan chief during his absence has triggered speculation that the party vicepresident is next in line for the chief minister’s post.

Koh made the appointment before he left on 11 days’ leave on Sunday. According to a report in Nanyang Siang Pau yesterday, it is not only the state political arena, but also the party which is abuzz with talk on the appointment. Koh’s selection of Teng from among the three vice-presidents – the two others being Datuk Dr S. Vijayaratnam and Datuk Chang Koh Young – is a telling, and talk that Teng is Koh’s choice to succeed him when he moves to the federal government is not baseless.

In fact, this is not the first time Koh has assigned Teng to important party duties. In June last year, when he attended his son’s graduation in the United States, he appointed Teng and secretary-general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye to take charge of the party’s affairs in Penang.

Koh has also appointed Teng to handle state government and state Barisan Nasional affairs alongside Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah.

However, he stopped short of putting his cards on the table by assigning Teng to only party matters this time around, and not state and state BN affairs as well.

Asked for comment, Chia told Nanyang that Teng’s appointment as acting party chief was no indication of whether he would succeed Koh as chief minister. He asked in jest: “If Koh had appointed Vijayaratnam as acting party chief instead, would it mean that he (Vijayaratnam) would become the next chief minister?”

Chia also said this was not the first time Teng had been appointed to act on Koh’s behalf in the latter’s absence. He held the view that as Teng had won the vicepresident’s post with the highest number of votes in the 2005 party elections, he had the right to be made acting party chief, and that there was no need for Koh to appoint in turn the three vice-presidents to act on his behalf.

He stressed that the party had no objection to Teng’s appointment and held the view that the matter should not be made an issue. Koh accompanied his daughter Yu Jun, who is enrolling at Princeton University in New Jersey. Koh himself graduated from the same university in 1970 with a degree in physics. His son Yu Cheng also studies there. Yu Jun, is to follow a Liberal Arts programme.Koh is expected to be back in Penang on Sept 11.

What to do when you are stopped by Police

Your rights and the police
Richard Wee Thiam Seng

We have only one police force in this country. The police have wide-ranging powers provided in various laws. Yet, the increasing number of complaints against the police and the infamous nude-squat incident have raised the issue of the power of the police. To what extent may the police interfere with one's personal liberty and security in the execution of their powers and duties?

Under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the police have powers to stop and search an individual who may subsequently be arrested. These powers are however not unlimited. As individuals, we have certain rights guaranteed under our Federal Constitution and laws made thereunder.

In 2006, a group of lawyers came together to draft a pocketbook titled Polis dan Hak-hak Asas Anda or commonly known as the Red Book (see:,com_docman/task,doc_details/gid,639/Itemid,120/).

This was aimed at informing and educating the public of their rights when "confronted" by the police.

It was very well-received, and a second edition is underway. The said book was eventually launched by the Minister in charge of law, Datuk Nazri and the then President of the Bar Council, Yeo Yang Poh, at the Bar Council Secretariat in April 2006.

Some of the essential information in the Red Book are as follows:

1. When the police stop you

You may ask the police for identification if the officer is not in uniform. Take note of the identification card number. There are different types of identification cards. The difference is in the colour which will indicate the rank of the officer.
Blue : Rank of Inspector and above
Yellow : Below the rank of Inspector
White : Reserve police
Red : Suspended officer
(A suspended officer has no authority. You may walk away.)

When stopped, you should provide your identification card, if requested by the police. Should the officer request for other documents or show any other items, you may ask the officer the purpose of the request. Do so politely.
If you are not under arrest, you may walk away or refuse to follow the officer back to the police station or anywhere else, if asked.
2. Questioning by the police

Section 112 CPC statement

The police may request you to go to the police station to answer some questions. If you are not under arrest, you may choose not to do so. You may however wish to co-operate but by having a lawyer accompany you.
The 112 statement is normally recorded if the police think you have information or knowledge about a case or offence. On most occasions, the police will make an informal request for your 112 statement. If the place and time is convenient to you, co-operate. If not, tell the police you will do so at a convenient place and time.
If you refuse to cooperate, the police may issue a formal order in writing signed by an investigating officer (known as a "police order") to ask you to co-operate. Should you disobey the order, you cannot be arrested. However, it is an offence and the police may request a magistrate to issue a warrant against you to compel you to co-operate. In general, if you are merely a potential witness and not a suspect, you may not be arrested for the purposes of taking a 112 statement.
In giving a 112 statement, you may refuse to answer any question and remain silent if the answer is likely to expose you to a criminal offence. You may request that a lawyer be present when you are being questioned. Note that a 112 statement may be used in court.
Bring along a notebook or writing paper with you (personal notes). Make sure you understand every question asked. Write down every question asked in your personal notes. Take your time and think carefully. Then write your answer in your personal notes. Once you are satisfied with your answer, read your answer to the officer. Keep your personal notes for future reference.
Upon completion, read the questions and answers written by the officer carefully, and compare them with those in your personal notes. Make any corrections or changes you wish. If you are satisfied with your statement, sign below the last sentence of your statement, at every page.
Section 113 CPC statement

Should the police arrest you because you are a suspect in a case or offence, and subsequently record a statement from you, the statement is a 113 statement. Except for this difference, the safeguards mentioned above in relation to 112 statements apply.
3. Arrest by the police

You must be informed of the reasons for your arrest. If you are not informed, you may enquire. You are advised not to resist an arrest. The police may use reasonable force to arrest you should you resist.
The arresting officer must immediately take you to the nearest police station and to no other place. You should ask the arresting officer for details of the police station.
You are also advised to make a telephone call to inform your family, friends, lawyer or the Legal Aid Centre of your arrest.
You may be detained for up to 24 hours to assist the police in investigations. Note the sequence of events and names of officers you come in contact with during this period.
4. Rights in detention

Note the following:
i) You have the right to contact and meet with a lawyer.
ii) You are to be given proper and adequate food and water, and one set of clothing.
iii) You may take a bath two times a day.
iv) The police must record and keep all your personal belongings in safe custody. Your personal belongings must be returned to you upon your release.
v) If you are sick or feeling unwell, you have the right to receive immediate medical attention.

5. How long can you be detained?

The police may only detain you for up to 24 hours. The duty of the police is to complete their investigations within 24 hours and to release you as soon as possible.
If the police cannot complete their investigations within 24 hours, the police must bring you before a magistrate for a remand order to extend your detention beyond 24 hours (remand order).
6. Remand order by a magistrate

The power to issue a Remand Order by a magistrate is found in section 117 CPC.
Purpose of a remand order

A remand order is to give more time to the Police to complete their investigations, and decide whether there is evidence to charge you for an offence. As you have the right of silence, the police cannot ask for a remand order only for the purpose of taking a statement from you.Period of a remand order
È In total, you cannot be detained for more than 15 days. The police may make more than one application for a remand order.

What happens at a remand order hearing?

When the police bring you before a Magistrate for a remand order, the police must give reasons to the magistrate why it is necessary to detain you for more than 24 hours.
You have the right to request for legal representation at the hearing. Ask the magistrate for it. If the police have denied you this right or threatened or assaulted or treated you inhumanely in any way during detention, inform the magistrate.
Alternatively, you may ask to be released or for a shorter remand order to be made. Give your reasons. e.g. "I will co-operate with the police in their investigations", "I will be available".
The magistrate's duty is to consider carefully the reasons given by the police and your reasons why you should be released or for a shorter remand order.
7. Body Search without Arrest

When can this be done?

If you are at a place (e.g. entertainment outlets) where the police are conducting a raid or looking for prohibited substances, the police may search your body or bags without arresting you.
This must be done in the presence of an officer who is an Inspector or of a higher rank.
What is to be done?

Do not allow the police to put their hands into your pockets or bags. Volunteer to empty your pockets or bags in their presence so that you are able to see all your belongings. Take out your belongings one by one. Each time, say "purse", "keys", "ID card" etc. When your pockets or bags are empty, turn your pockets or bags inside out.
A woman may only be body-searched by a female officer. All body searches must be carried out with decency. There is no law requiring you to be stripped naked for a search.
8. Body Search on Arrest

The police have the power to search your body for any object relating to a suspected offence.
It is your right to have the body search conducted in a confined and private place.
Even when arrested, there is no law allowing the police to force you to be stripped naked. Protest and thereafter lodge a report should you be forced to strip.
Recent amendments to the law through the CPC (Amendment) Act 2006 and CPC (Amendment) (Amendment Act) 2007 have been made but have yet come into force. We hope these amendments will greatly improve police services in Malaysia.

The Red Book amplifies the effort of the Bar Council in looking out for the public's rights. There are however many more issues to look into - greater recognition of human rights such as right to counsel, right to a fair trial and greater accountability in police investigations. The Bar Council houses a Human Rights Committee, which looks into public complaints of breach and/or abuse of basic human rights. Through this Committee the Bar Council hopes to offer assistance to the public, within the scope of ability of the volunteer lawyers who sit in that Committee.

We however salute the courage of all those who have suffered at the hands of the police to have told us their stories and informed the struggle. Together, our hope is that we will build a better Malaysia.

Richard Wee Thiam Seng is a member of the Human Rights Committee, Bar Council Malaysia. For more information, see Complaints of rights violations may be forwarded to for consideration of the Committee. However, we make no assurance that all cases will be adopted for action. Comments:

Monday, August 27, 2007


Malaysians should try to understand social contract better, says Gerakan party chief

By Chow Kum Hor, Malaysia Correspondent The Straits Times

THE Malaysian social contract should not be used by one race to bully another, one of the country's most vocal ministers said.

Energy, Water and Communications Minister Lim Keng Yaik said neither should it be used to get away with issues that has nothing to do with the historical arrangement.

'(People cannot say) 'You have been given citizenship, shut up and get on with life'. My father can take it, I can take it (such statements). But my children and grandchildren cannot take it,' said the 68-year-old father of three in an interview this week.

The social contract is an understanding forged by Malaysia's founding fathers that has held the country's different races together over the past 50 years.

In the days leading to the nation's independence, a consensus was reached among the indigenous Malays and the large number of Chinese and Indian immigrants who had made the then Malaya their homes.

In a quid pro quo arrangement, the Chinese and Indians were granted citizenship but the Malays were accorded special rights, including political and administrative authority.

Datuk Seri Lim, who headed the multiracial Gerakan party for 26 years until his retirement in April this year, said Malaysians should try to understand the social contract better.

This is to ensure that government policies are not one-sided or discriminate against any particular groups.

Over the years, politicians have used the social contract as a front to muzzle disquiet over issues like the pro-Malay economic policies.

For example, during the Umno general assembly each year, delegates would call for the government to uphold Malay rights, including dishing out more contracts to Malay-controlled businesses.

Those unhappy with Umno's demands - particularly the non-Malays - were told that such preferential treatment should not be questioned as they were part of the social contract.

In 2005, Datuk Seri Lim drew flak from the Malay community when he said that the social contract was a 'historical burden'.

He later clarified that his statements were taken out of context. 'I wasn't questioning the social contract.

I said don't use it to bully people and stop them from talking,' said the veteran politician who first served as minister at the age of 32 in the 1970s.

Datuk Seri Lim, now adviser to Chinese-dominated Gerakan, has carved a reputation for speaking his mind.

Last year, his frankness angered the Malays when he called on the government to make public its methodology to calculate corporate share ownership equity according to race.

This came after an independent academic had claimed that the Malays had amassed 45 per cent of the country's corporate equity - exceeding the New Economic Policy's target of 30 per cent - which indirectly meant that the government's pro-Malay economic policies should come to an end.

On the controversy of whether Malaysia is an Islamic state, Datuk Seri Lim echoed the views of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi who said that the country was neither secular nor an Islamic state.

By choosing the middle path, Datuk Seri Lim sidestepped a political minefield where a sizeable number of Muslims want Malaysia to be declared an Islamic state while non-Muslims want it to be a secular one.

After over three decades in public service, he will call it a day in politics after the next general election.

And the outspoken leader's plans next? He will be helming a proposed National Dialogue Initiative under Gerakan, where sensitive issues will be discussed behind closed doors. 'Rest assured, I will continue to speak up.'

Friday, August 24, 2007

Going to Holland

Sometimes in life we have to make decisions based on faith. We have to trust our dad that he would not let us fall when we are learning to ride the bicycle for the first time. We have to trust our leaders when he told us that cutting us off from the world currency market will save us from an economic collapse.

We trusted and we were rewarded with an experience beyond our dreams. New worlds was opened to us when we could travelled further than we ever had before. We stood tall while the countries around us crumbled and faced political upheaval as a result of the economic collapse.

But sometimes, the leaders we trust and love as the proverbial saying goes " Took us to Holland". The trust we placed in these leaders was misused and taken advantage of. The naivety of the newbie is used to clear minefields with explosives that remained unexploded until an inopportune time.

Are we stupid or too trusting in these situations? Should we be cynical at every action that goes back to us directly? In this era of "scratch and win" scams and the "Mandarin Speaking Court Officer" scams, it would seemed, being trusting is really a fool's folly. Nothing should not be swallowed without that grain of salt and responsibility should be avoided like an expert tai-chi practitioner. Nothing should be regarded at face value and everything should be scrutinized with the Hubble Telescope , if possible.

Even the act of proposing a person to be a member of Gerakan should now be regarded as act of extreme bravery if we do not know the person personally. How many times had we proposed or seconded a member based on the fact it was okayed by the leader? Imagine trying to build a new branch from scratch and you have to bring every potential new member for an interview with the proposer and seconder so that you will not trouble them when the shit hits the fan and they have the denialbility factor.

There must be a better way to do this thing. I have always wondered why any political party do not have an on line application form so that anybody can just apply to be a member. This would have been more efficient and more transparent as well. With the proposer and seconder thing, you practically have to be invited to be let in. Either that or beg very hard.

With such strict procedures, you really have to take it with a big grain of salt when any political party declares that they want new blood in their party or they have memberships running to the hundred thousands or even millions. How can something so difficult be so easy? This is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma packed in a mystery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Somebody Will Have To Pay

Sorry for the delay folks. Had a few technical problems which is still to be resolved. That is the problem being first adopters. When I bought the Vista machine I knew it was going to be trouble but I had no idea how much. The webcam that came with the laptop does not even work with the driver that came with it. But kudos to the Dell people, they were quick to admit their mistake and sent me an email to tell me about it. They were also kind enough to send me a cd for the new driver, which till today I have not bothered to upload.

The real problem I had was with the scanner. The ancient but cheap Microtek scanner just won't work with Vista. Looks like I will have to fork out more money for a scanner. I guess this is what keeps the computer industry running. Built-in obsolescence. With every new OS by Microsoft, the industry is renewed with new demand for old stuff. When will this stop? Or will it.

Today's paper in the Sun ( has put the Transport Ministry wholly at fault for the RM4.8billion bail out for PKRZ. I wonder if the minister is aware of the papers he signed and its implications. How can Surat Sokongan become Surat Guarantor? Maybe this is to protect the financial industry, so that somebody will pay for the massive loans given out. If the financial industry is not able to collect, the financial system might collapse and we could be in really deep shit.

The whole arrangement stinks, of course. We have one party who is selling the land and then the same party get to develop it on a turnkey basis. The party who bought the land at a high price hands it back to the seller to be develop. It seems all the risk is on the buyer( that is you and me folks) and the seller has already made a bundle without even developing it.

SO who pays in the end? Take part in the survey.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ballot Watch

Taken from the Sun

Ballot watch
Giam Say Khoon

Wong Chin Huat has researched the electoral system, electoral corruption and quantitative textual analysis. He has been an observer for general and by-elections since 2004 for the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (Ikmas) and the election watchdogs, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) and Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel). A Chevening scholar completing his PhD on the electoral system and party politics in Peninsular Malaysia, Wong is also editing a book and lecturing. He is the chair of the Writers Alliance for Media Independence (Wami) and vice-chair of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall's Civil Rights Committee.

He spoke to GIAM SAY KHOON recently on the election scenario.

theSun: How prepared do you think Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition parties are in facing the next general election?

Wong: I think BN is generally prepared by definition to decide when to call for election, so in that sense, it is prepared. Opposition-wise, the preparation varies with the party.
What advantages does each have and what's working against them?

Three things we can look at. The fundamental thing, of course, is the machinery. I think in this sense, PAS is more prepared than DAP and DAP more than PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat).
Another issue is seat allocation and candidacy. I think BN has the machinery ready and its machinery is always functioning well and it would have fewer problems in terms of seat allocation and candidacy considering that it has many resources and positions at its disposal.
I doubt Pak Lah (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) will come out with any grand theme for the election - it will be the usual one for continuity in development and stability.

In terms of seat allocation, they (the opposition parties) have already started talking to each other now and I am sure they would settle on some arrangement before the election. But the question is how much time would their designated candidates have to present themselves to the constituents? And in this sense, if you consider that 91% of seats are in BN's hands and most of them are still being run by the incumbents, then a new candidate from the Opposition would be much disadvantaged because people simply won't know who they are.

And the toughest challenge for the Opposition is that they have not set a theme yet, so what is there for them to secure in the next election? You can't look at things at a very micro level, that is, who is running against who. Most people would care more about the larger picture - what this election means for us.

The problem with the Opposition is that it fails to give a vision, it's not like in 1999 when (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim was victimised and there was a cause to rally for and certainly not 1990 when it had a clear direction of what the Opposition wanted. At the moment, I don't see where things are going. There are grouses in every community but you don't see a coherent or cohesive line (in the Opposition camp).

How will BN and the Opposition fare compared to the previous general elections?

I would foresee BN to do less well compared to the last election for the very simple reason that it is at the peak in terms of votes. Since 1969 - that was the second highest - so what goes up must come down. Moreover, Abdullah has gone by his honeymoon period with the voters.
In any country, when a new person comes in, you always enjoy some goodwill among the voters and after some point, you'll lose that. Your support will go down. In the case of Abdullah, people have had high expectations with him.

He campaigned on two themes in 2004 - one was anti-corruption and the other one was religious moderation (Islam Hadhari) and police and administrative reform.
After Mahathir (former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad), people were looking for a more approachable and softer leader. But that someone still needs to be effective. People who usually voted for the Opposition decided to give Abdullah a chance (in the last election). I think they won't cast him this time. So there will be a drop in his support because of the (stalling on the) Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission, corruption and worse still, you have crimes and all the leakage problems.

The question is how big is that price? If you look back from 1982 when Mahathir came into power: in 1982, BN got about 61% of seats and in 1986, it fell to 57%, dropped about 3-4%. The other peak was in 1995, then it dropped from 65% to 57% - a drop of 8%. Would 2007/2008 be more similar to 1986 or 1999? I doubt it would be like 1999 because that was a very extraordinary one.

It might be like when Mahathir came into power and it went down but it might be more than that because in 1986, there was no effective opposition leader. I think the difference between 1986 and the coming election is that you have Anwar. So there is an Anwar factor, but this factor is different from 1999, when the factor was much stronger. But not now. Now Anwar just falls back to be an opposition leader, but still a credible one compared to 1986.

I suspect that if the past can be a guide for us to look into the future, I suppose that you are talking about a fall of between 3-8%. BN would lose that amount of votes, unless there is a drastic change.

If the Opposition can find a coherent storyline to tell the people why you need to consider this, then there might be a chance of becoming a 1990, which I think is quite unlikely.
What do the people expect from the election this time?

I think there are issues that people would expect. Some would be very direct, law and order would be a main issue; economy, I suppose, although some rural sectors are enjoying a boom because of commodity prices. Overall I think many people are still concerned about how are we moving in the larger picture.

The growth is one thing, but the larger question is probably the New Economic Policy (NEP). This is a difficult question because people have different expectations. Overall, it is hurting the country's competitiveness and so many people especially non-bumiputras would want to see it removed.

Can it be delivered? No one would expect the elections would immediately change that, but what would it signal? 1990 was a very interesting picture, you had almost 70% Chinese votes turning against BN, and that incidentally got in Vision 2020 and helped BN to reshape the political landscape.

What an election can bring is that what kind of direction are you sensing. In this case, an important player is Anwar as he is banging on the NEP, so it goes down to whether he can convince enough people to support his platform and therefore the government would feel that it needs to address this discontent. But at the same time, there are people who are worried about change, anxious about any change - the bumiputras - some are basically the cronies, who had been dependent on this and they have the most to lose, so they are anxious. They could also be lower class Malays who may not have gained a lot, they may still be worried that a completely competitive environment would hurt them more.

Then there is the economy, the goals (being set), the direction (it will take), whether the Iskandar special region would work; related to that, how far are we going to stick to the free competition policy and transform ourselves to be more open and market-orientated.
Next, there is the efficiency and effectiveness of the government, signified best by all the leakages, and the delivery system which Abdullah tried to address by appointing a task force, but how far would that work?

While crimes need to be linked back to police reform, the police's ability to address crime and to reform themselves is also an issue. It casts a big question mark over the ability to deliver (results).

The other issue that may pop up to be important is religion. For the Muslims, some may worry about apostasy and whether what happened in other countries may actually affect them. But for the non-Muslims, the issue is the creeping Islamisation. Some people feel that this country is already an Islamic state through the back door, when books by Karen Armstrong and Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species are banned, many people are worried, what's the room for religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence in this country?

Other issues probably include education and language, but it may be very weak and it would probably work for certain constituencies, like the Chinese and certain Indians. The overall change to teaching Mathematics and Science in English is not so much the BN policy, but that it reflects a problem of makeshift policies. There are students who are losing out especially those from rural areas. You are sacrificing part of a generation so that the next generation may do better.

Even if there is a swing in sentiment and votes to the Opposition, will it really be reflected in the number of seats it wins in Parliament?

It depends on how the Opposition plays its vote strategy. In the last election in 2004, the vote of one BN voter was equivalent to about three DAP voters, eight PAS voters, and 28 Keadilan voters. The reason for the discrepancy is that for parties like Keadilan and PAS, their support is thinly spread out nationwide. So even by having a lot of people voting for them in the constituencies, the party may not win, so their votes are practically wasted. This is known in political science as waste votes.

If you are going to spread (your support) around and contest a lot of seats and not win in the end, I don't see much point in it. If they (the opposition groups) are putting strong leaders in certain areas and consolidating their resources well, they could actually create a "cocktail effect", in which all the smaller politicians can cling on to a big leader and win. That is what happens in a presidential election. For example, if a presidential election and a legislative election happen at the same time, and you have a very popular candidate, that candidate would help to pull votes for the parliamentary candidates as well. Most people won't bother to actually consider which candidate is better than the other; they make an overall judgment. If you like a particular person and this person calls for you to support all his boys, they will actually get your votes.
We have a constituency system where geography matters. So the system we have now rewards parties with optimally concentrated support.

DAP is in a stronger position as its strongholds are all well-defined, but it would be more uncertainty with PAS. Looking at a few past by-elections, it does not seem that it won as much as in 1999. Certainly, it is not going back to 1999 yet. There is no sign that there will be a revival of opposition Malay support as in 1999. So it is a question of how far it is moving from 2004 in a situation where it can't do well. And for Keadilan the question is how far it can capture the Malay and non-Malay support and where does it place its candidates and what message is it sending out.

It is eventually still a question that most people are asking: where would Anwar be in the next five or 10 years? People are worried that he is going to be another Tengku Razaleigh (Hamzah, the former finance minister).

In 1990, 70% of Chinese supported Razaleigh because they believed that there was a chance to have the two-party-system. You are going to have very competitive politics and that would moderate ethnic politics.

But it didn't happen because Razaleigh lost his second election, and one year after that, he dissolved his party (Semangat 46) and returned to Umno.

If Anwar manages to solve that question and convinces the voters that for the next five or 10 years, he will show the way, his party would do remarkably well. Not to say that it would become the next largest party overnight, but if his party can gain 10 seats, that party will stay and become the third force in Malaysian politics.
But if it is just going to win about four or five seats, I doubt it would last long. No one would believe that someone with the calibre of Anwar needs to stay on as a minor party leader, he has so many places to go.

So his challenge would be how does he signal his willingness and determination to lead political reform. It will be important for Anwar to seriously consider this radical idea to position himself as a mentri besar, a state chief minister.

Can he run before the next election? This is just a technical issue, because in Turkey, the current prime minister was barred from running as well, but once his party won the election, they basically changed the rules and vacated a seat for him to run. So it is not really a big issue, Anwar can always come back in a by-election.

I think it might be more pragmatic for him to position himself as a chief minister, because his calibre is definitely higher than being a chief minister, but the good point is you are telling the people that 'I am not rocking the boat. To conservative voters, I am saying that I am not rocking the boat. I am more than capable, you know. At one point I was once the best finance minister. I am capable of running a state, let's say Selangor. Then I will introduce the reforms that I have been preaching and see how far they will go.'

Positioning himself that way may not win him the state, but it will create the "cocktail effect" because immediately you will have a direction where you are pushing.

Keadilan does not have credibility as an opposition party. Both DAP and PAS have been running since the third election and remained as the Opposition. So these parties have a very long history being the opposition. No one would dare to say DAP will join BN. You will know that when you want to register a protest vote and send a message to the government, you would vote for these parties.

But Keadilan would always have this problem, that it is a new party. Since 1969, there has been no new opposition party that survived more than three elections.

On the other hand, it has the credibility to become a new state government because of Anwar, his experience in government, because it is more mainstream. The best thing about a new party being an opposition group is it does not have that lawan tetap lawan (fight until the end) that kind of spirit, but it has the credibility of becoming a mainstream party, mainstream in both senses, that it has been part of the government, it knows how to run the system, it won't rock the boat and it happens to be a middle between DAP and PAS.

So Anwar needs to be able to use that effectively.

The Election Commission said it will introduce the transparent ballot box and indelible ink. Will this make a difference or help weed out some of the problems in the electoral process?
The transparent ballot box will do a little bit of good. It creates a little bit of transparency, but I doubt it will really change much. The main issue in our electoral process is not polling, it is the electoral system. It begins from the electoral system, to the process of people coming in, and the process of casting the vote. But we don't have ballot stuffing (the illegal act of one person submitting multiple ballots).

In some countries, they have ballot stuffing, but not in Malaysia.

It is commendable for the EC to agree on the indelible ink. It is very important, in the sense that it cannot eliminate impersonation, so it cannot eliminate phantom voters, but it can prevent phantom voters being recycled. As the system stands now, we found that it can be easy to recycle phantom voters. If you can get away with one constituency, you can send them to vote in the morning and you can send them to another constituency in the afternoon. You can probably do that to three constituencies.

But to really clean up, you need to clean up the electoral process.

We had a meeting with the Election Commission (on July 3). It claimed that its position is that it can't do anything to expunge anyone in the principal electoral roll. Since your name has been there, it would be there unless you are dead, have been disqualified for crimes, you have forfeited your citizenship or you have been declared insane.

This opens chances for people to impersonate others. The EC is solving part of the problems, but there are larger problems to clean up the electoral process because for the EC, that may involve a constitutional amendment. Because Article 119 in the Constitution says very clearly that you have the right (to vote) once you registered.

What are the other problems that these two measures will not be able to address?
The geography matters a lot and if you can manage to change the distribution of your supporters, whether they are genuine or fake, you may win. To beat this, you really need to do away with disproportionately populated constituencies, get geography out of politics. It is extremely difficult to overcome.

What should be done to address these other problems?

We need to introduce a proportional representation element into our electoral system. I would call for a German system - the mixed member proportional system.
You've observed that the incidence of violence in Malaysian elections is growing, as can be seen in the Ijok by-election.

What kind of violence took place and why do you think violence is on the rise during elections?

There was also an incidence of violence in Machap in which a photographer was threatened. The violence can be looked at in two ways. One is intimidation of the other parties that sometimes happens during very heated campaigning. You shout at each other, so it has the impact of overheating emotions, and you can't control yourself and probably it bursts out into trouble. A more serious one is the systematic intimidation of opponents, journalists and citizens.
In this case, the Ijok by-election is quite scary and alarming. You actually had citizens who were visiting the electorate in Tuan Mee estate and who were chased out by a group of unfriendly party supporters led by a parliamentarian. It is quite bad when you have such a situation where violence is tolerated and not punished. You send a message to by-standers including voters that they could be the next one. With violence running wild, it is hard to have a free and fair election as people cast their votes in fear.

Why is violence on the rise? Two reasons: when the stakes are high, it tends to happen. No one will pick on violence when you have a sure win or sure lose situation. Not much gain for you to resort to that.

The second reason is that you believe violence pays. We need to look at that and say the ones to answer the question are the police. If violence does not pay, no one would actually resort to it.
If this is the case in a by-election, what would you expect in a general election? It would be quite bad, overall, that you have curbed the freedom of campaigning.

The police should ensure that everyone has the freedom to speak but once you go beyond words and use violence, then action should be taken and the culprits penalised. The police have to answer for their inaction over the two past by-elections.

What do you think about the suggestion of the EC of having a joint committee with all political parties to curb election violence?

It is always good to have all parties to sit together and solve problems, but the enforcement is still with the police force. There will be always someone who resorts to violence and then the party leader would say, 'I can't control them'. On the other part, about the involvement of party representatives in the electoral process, it is very important but eventually we should revamp our election authority. We should introduce an EC that includes party representatives to be more even in decision-making to oversee all the issues. But in the enforcement issue, we need the police to be non-partisan and impartial.

Will the first-past-the-post system, which Malaysia currently employs, always benefit the ruling party?

Not always. If you have a swing over the half, you may lose everything like what happened in Kelantan in 1990 and Terengganu in 1999. You lost all just because of that.
In the past, some parties have been the beneficiaries. For example, DAP in Penang at its peak time, gained about 40% of votes and secured about 60% of seats.
The point here is it is not fair.

Election watchdogs and civil society have repeatedly called for reforms to our electoral process but to little avail. This is understandable since no incumbent would want to change the rules of the game if it benefits from them. How can the national leadership be convinced, then, to embark on this reform?

I believe serious reforms must begin at the campaign stage - (a) changing the regulation method from expenses cap (by candidate) to transparency of contribution (by donors); (b) state financing; (c) administrative neutrality - caretaker government and making abuse of state machinery a crime.

Another thing, it is true that most parties have a strong initial resistance against change if they knew that they have chance to win. In New Zealand in 1993 before they shifted from first-past-the-post to the German system, at different points, different opposition parties had said that they wanted it and when they came into power, they just abandoned it; but then other parties would say they wanted it.

At some point, they say it too much, and it becomes true. But I think it was in New Zealand, so many citizens felt strongly about this that despite the parties taking back their word, eventually one party had to do it; they introduced that and changed the politics. New Zealand's politics at one point was more British than the British, strictly two-party-system. You have four, five parties, two main parties and some other smaller parties.

We need to press for the opposition. In Malaysia, we are a federal country. If the opposition is sincere, it can actually introduce a lot of changes.

What role can the Opposition play? For example, we know that PAS in Kelantan can exercise its state government power to take the first step in electoral reform by having local council elections. But it seems reluctant. In your opinion, why is this so?

PAS in Kelantan has shown great potential. It is the time for the civil society to push for more. If you believe in democracy, you should introduce local elections because Article 113(4) in the Federal Constitution does provide for a state law to authorise an election. I asked Tan Sri Abdul Rashid (Abdul Rahman, the EC chairman) could there be any problem for EC to do that and he said 'no'. If the state government wants to do it, the EC can do it. He said that in front of (PAS central committee member) Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad.

So it is a question at the PAS government's court now, whether it wants to do that. And it is also very cheap to run a local election, it costs about RM40,000 to RM50,000 - an estimation by Abdul Rashid - to run a municipal council election. Let's say in Kelantan, we have 12 local councils, it costs less than a million ringgit, you can have democracy. How cheaper can things be?

Do you think boycotting an election is an effective way to push for reforms?

That should be the last resort. The main purpose of election is a job interview for us as the boss of the government to employ who runs the country.

If a job interview is rigged then there is no point. As much as you can, make a change. I don't think you should boycott elections.

Boycotting an election is the last resort to push for reform. If your choice is denied again and again. An election will merely legitimise an unjust system. Unless you are in such situation, we should always push for reform and I believe that Malaysia's politics is opening up. The question is how strongly we demand for it.

For political parties, if you don't have a chance to win, then why don't you boycott just to send a signal. Boycott would be most effective if you do it in your stronghold. So it is actually a double-edged knife, it hurts the other party and you as well. If you do it in a marginal constituency, you won't lose much because probably you won't win.

For that reason, if political parties are pragmatic, it would be the last resort as well. If political parties are willing to boycott again and again, there must be something wrong in the system. If all parties are going that way, that means an extra-constitutional change is not far away and that would be a very sad thing.

(The views of the interviewee are his own and do not reflect those of the institutions he is associated with.)

A Blast From The Past

Taken from The Sun

Transcript of press conference by Gerakan's Lim, Koh

Transcript of press conference by Gerakan president Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik and incoming deputy president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon on Monday, Aug 22, in Penang.

Koh: The president briefed party leaders and delegates about the forthcoming party elections and what we highlighted is the fact that the Gerakan Reinventing for 21st Century Agenda is in place.
It was the result of intensive consultation, brainstorming among party leaders, central committee members and all elected reps, MPs and state assemblymen. And this is the ongoing programme that is being implemented by the party. We had talks about our roles, mission in national scene, national policies, stating our objectives and how we want to realise Vision 2020 which is in accordance with our party ideology as well as outlining all projects that have been implemented. This is actually not a manifesto for election but it is a programme for the party as a result of teamwork and this is what we emphasise, teamwork.
Teamwork is the most important basis for the party to work together,and the members of the team have been very working closely and that is the essense of the spirit of Gerakan, teamwork.
I want to emphasise this, it's not a personal manifesto but a result of teamwork led by Keng Yaik as the president. That's why the team which constitute the central committee members and also elected state chairman, state leaders, had generally overall overwhelmingly contributed to this process of teamwork. On this basis, we expressed our strong support for Keng Yaik for another term as the party president. The delegates had also asked questions to clear doubts, we have also explained that we have held a process of consultation amongst the team and through some members of the team as well as leaders inside and outside the party to Kerk (Choo Ting) over the last few months with myself also holding discussions and consultations with him personally.
But unfortunately, we have not been able to reach any agreement and one reason he said is that because he is left with only two choice. Either challenging the president, he is forced to challenge the president, or to retire. We have offered the third option which is national advisor, and he said insisted that because national advisor is not a post stated in the party constitution, he cannot accept it. I think that is not correct because we have a precedent, we had a convention and in fact there is a tradition, there is only once in the party history the most respected leader, when he retired, he was appointed as the national advisor, not through the party constitution but through a resolution unanimously passed by the national delegates conference. And that is very strong support instead of having a post called national advisor in the constitution. Because national advisor as a post in the constitution, you must always have it.
But in Gerakan, we have only Chong Eu as national advisor for ten years. He accepted the post although it was not in the constitution because it was a special honour, passed only by the national delegates conference and he served for 10 years until he retired from politics or just before he retired from politics. If there is a post called national advisor in the constitution, it means after Chong Eu retired, we had to appoint somebody else. Then it is not special, not something very special, it's like any other post in the constitution. So I think he misunderstood it, although we have actually explained it to him. This was explained that this was the process and yet he still insisted that it's not in the constitution and therefore he's left with no choice.
I hope that he would still reconsider because it is something very special and when this was suggested to him, it was in the context that it was in acordance with a convention and the tradition which only happened once before in the history of Gerakan. I think this point is very important.
Keng Yaik: I am sure the press is looking forward for me to reply but I must say Dr Koh has summarised well in the sense that I don't have a personal manifesto. The manifesto that I will be implementing is a manifesto decided by the party and it is ongoing... it provides the political reform within the party, promote healthier political culture in the Gerakan, enhances Gerakan's contribution to national education and economic policies, promote and foster closer rapport with leaders and partners in BN... all inside here, I was just reading Kerk's manifesto. I'm reading his manisfesto --strengthen the party's research arm and foster closer cooperation and relationship with NGO, all these are inside here.
Koh: This is actually published more than a year ago and being implemented now
KY: Ini manifesto ada dalam party yang mana. Saya sudah cakap, saya tiada manifesto. Ini party punya, dan I think I must thank the delegates that the issue that the delegates conference face today was to decide the successor of the party. The delegates have decided whether it is through the opinions and views expressed by the various states in the last two months but now culminating in that Koh won uncontested as the new deputy president of the party. He is therefore the successor of the party, so it is my responsibility to ensure a smooth succession is brought about. That's why 2007 is the timing of the handover of the successorship, handover of the presidency of Gerakan will be done in 2007. So Kerk says that "if I am elected I will implement the nine year tenure system, I will not stay more than three terms". By standing, he is not accepting Koh as successor of the party. By standing, even he wins, he still wants to go on for not more than three terms. If he is willing to deliver the successorship to Koh within this term, why do you want to stand for president.
Why you want to stand as president for only two years? Why he want to stand? We are already in the process of putting up the successorship and this is Gerakan's way of arranging a smooth handover of the leadership of the party, and not go for elections and ping ping pong pong and hot campaign and all that kind of thing and so, there's contradiction on what he wants to do and what is in his manifesto.
I don't want to criticise because we are not participating in a war, we are only going through an election in the party. So the other aspect is he said he wants three terms, he is not going to stay more than nine years, we already decided that Koh Tsu Koon in 2005 is the successor and we have to hand it over to him as soon as possible.
My good friend says he wants to if he wins, he will lead the party for nine years, by the time, I don't know whether Koh Tsu Koon will have the strength anymore to take over the party. Why is it important that we must arrange for a succession. Yes, he said in his press statement Lim Keng Yaik's on and off, on and off decision to retire and in the end, not retire.
The on and off, on and off is because of him. The party doesn't want him to be the successor, they want Koh Tsu Koon to be the successor. So whenever I say I retire, the central committee say no, no, no, you cannot say retirement.
He is the cause of my on off on off retirement. I should have retired long time ago if he was accepted by the party as the successor. I will have retired. What makes him think that he could be the successor of the party? If it was by popular choice, long time ago, I would have handed over to him. I have done all my best to help Kerk. In 1995, when we enlarged the party from two branches to 12 branches per division, I gave him sole chairmanship and the organiser of this enlarging the party almost handing the party over to him in 1995. In 1996, I went to central committee. In front of everyone, tell saudara Kerk please lah go down on the ground more lah, build up your rapport with the ground, take up the very issues the party stands for, build up your star, when your star is stronger, brighter than my star, time for me to go in 1996.
In 1999, a member challenged him, I went out of my way and called all the delegates to support him as the deputy president because he is to be my successor. 2002, Perak delegates fight him. I went on TV to ask the delegates to support him because he is the deputy president and my successor.
But why this time I said nothing? This time is really to decide the successor because everytime I talk about retirement, the CC ask me don't talk, don't talk, the state chairmen also ask me don't talk, so I went for the last three years to consult the party leadership as well as state chairmen and ask state chairmen to consult their grassroots divisions who do you want and quite a big majority of this team, the Gerakan team, said they wanted Koh Tsu Koon. So I told them to speak to Koh Tsu Koon. If you want Koh Tsu Koon, go speak to him and Koh Tsu Koon has listened to the grassroots; therefore decided to take over because I told the party, this is my last term.
It is in this term that I will hand over the successorship, presidency, this is my last term -- 2005 to 2008.
I am a very relieved man, relieved in the sense that at last the party has decided on who they want as a successor. And it is my duty therefore to ensure a smooth and as quick as possible a successor ... Koh Tsu Koon.
The other thing on him wanting to stay on for three terms, I think whether the president or leader of party should be on three-term limit, we will leave it to the new central committee to decide.
It is a very big and substantive matter and not for one person to decide. Only one person, dictatorship, can decide but I will leave it to central committee to decide. So, there has been accusations of me, I can understand.
That's why I ask party leaders; don't fight for position, out of anger, disappointment and frustration, don't. It is not good for them, it is not good for the party. I can understand saudara Kee Kwong (Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong) being very angry, very disappointed and very frustrated. I think let's remind him that he was put into Segambut, helicopter in and there was great resistance from the ground and I have to tell the ground let him try it out, he is a good man.
1995 he became a member of parliament. 1999, he came a deputy minister. Unfortunately, 2004 after the election, he was dropped as a deputy minister because of non-performance. So, when he became a member of parliament, helicopter in, when he became a deputy minister, same process of choosing representation was made, why didn't he call me a dictator then, huh? You get something, this is good president, don't get something, this is a very dictatorial president.
I am totally disappointed, that's why when I was contacted, I did not know whether to cry or to laugh, very shallow.
The Wanita candidate, Ketua Wanita candidate, says the party should be decentralised. I don't know what sort of rhetoric; she is famous for that rhetoric without any meaning. Nobody understands what she said and she wants to be the Wanita head.
I hope the Wanita members would choose very wisely, that's what I know about Surin Leong, rhetoric without meaning, decentralisation of the party, I think I have to break up my party headquarters and put them brick by brick in every state.
So, I'm not angry. I'm very at peace with myself. I'm actually very happy, and if the party members want me to carry on just that little time to ensure that a smooth transitional period, smooth handover to Koh as the new president of the party, if the party members want me, I am prepared to hold on for that two years to smoothly hand over to him. The party has chosen the successor, the successor is Koh Tsu Koon, not Kerk Choo Ting.
Koh: I want to add that precisely, this process of consultation that the president has gone through not just on the issue of the deputy president and the issue of successor but on most issues, he has been very consultative and very communicative. He's always communicating and talking to leaders. Even at a meeting just now. We definitely all disagree that he is a dictator, he is not a dictator.
In fact, he has been sometimes accused of being consulting too much, everytime he makes a major decision, he will be calling every state chairman and ask the state chairman to talk to the state liaison committee and this process of consultation is very healthy and it is part of democracy. Definitely not a characteristic of a dictator. Moreover, Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik is a grassroots man who always moves with the grassroots more than any other leaders in the party and a grassroots man can never be a dictator, that is the most important point.
On claims by Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong that he tried to read the delegates name list but only allowed to look for only 10 minutes and not allowed to copy, it was a procedure adopted many years, many elections ago.
You can inspect according to the party constitution, you can inspect the membership like you inspect the voters list, whether your name is there, whether your name is correct at the state, at the division and headquarters.
It is open for everybody to go and check but we do not allow and it has been effective many years, many elections since the 80s, always been the rule that you cannot just go and photocopy because what is the use of photocopying? You want to know, you can inspect but administratively, it is not a decision made by the president, it is not a decision made by the central committee, it was just administration at that time that if you need to inspect, you only need 10 minutes.
So when this issue came to the knowledge of the president, the president himself said no, you can allow him to sit there and if he wants to copy, don't photocopy because we do not want everybody to come and photocopy. If you want to use pen and pencil or whatever, you can. You want to memorise it, you can. The president actually overruled the 10 minute requirement, which is just done by the administration not by the president, not done by the central committtee.
The president is the one who brought it to the central committee that I came to know about the 10 minute ruling and he overruled it, I think it is a very small minor issue.
I don't see why Kee Kwong would complain about it because he also admitted it was already resolved but he blamed it on the president. He used this to substantiate his argument that the president is dictatorial. It is purely an administrative matter.
KY: This decision to keep the delegates list in the headquarters for inspection, whether it is membership, delegates, and all this is kept in the headquarters. Decision made even before Koh Tsu Koon joined the party. Because the headquarters feel that the delegates list, you can come and see and inspect and make sure a member and a delegate but it was not given to any particular person, including the president because we don't want people to use the delegates list to practise unhealthy politics, surat layang, money politics and is only 1,840 names. Delegates only. We want to avoid all this that's why you can come and see, you cannot take the copy out.
The president doesn't even have a copy and the president doesn't want a copy. You want, you go down to the ground, go to the states, go and visit, go to the division, you meet them there.
We don't want unhealthy ... that's why I quote Kerk's manifesto to promote a healthier political culture in Gerakan and this are part of promoting the healthy, now you understand why.
When I came up that morning for this central committee meeting, when I found out there was this, I immediately overruled the headquarters and just said no, you cannot. I asked headquarters why only 10 minutes, he said we have to put somebody standby to make sure they don't use camera to copy and nowadays, the camera like that not allowed to, whatever it is, get more people get the guards to stand there to ensure that kind of thing, 10 minutes there might be misunderstanding. So I said office hours 9 to 5 anytime for as long as you want, you want to see until your eyes also pop out, I don't care.
Koh: This has been the practice for so long that we have taken it for granted. The 10 minutes was a small administrative matter. It should not become an issue. The principle of it has been redundant for so many years and it has never been raised even in 1994 contest when Michael Chen challenged Lim Keng Yaik and 1997 when Goh Cheng Teik challenged Lim Keng Yaik for the presidency.
Why wait until 2007 and why not leave now?
KY: I offered Koh Tsu Koon, why not you stand for president this year but you ask Tsu Koon lah.
Koh: I feel the president still has unfinished tasks in his leadership. He needs 1.5 to 2 years to complete. There is still uncompleted work in his Energy, Water and Communications Ministry which needs laws, regulations, new structures, new setups and he was entrusted with this responsibility by the prime minister. I feel that he should continue for another two years until the end his term.
On the side of Penang, I also have work to do. Next year is the implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan and I want to make sure that projects and programmes and even approval for allocation to be implemented are in place. There is also adjustments to be made in the Penang government and see how the transition ahead could be made. These are issues that need to be discussed within the party, there are many possible arrangements, we want to be sure that the transition is systematic, very solid basis, not to be too fast or too slow, this is very important.
KY: When they fight for position, I don't want unfortunate incident like the MCA to happen in 1982, (Lee) San Choon went, they did not make a succession, they went and fought for many years and when Leo Moggie was made minister, he retired as president party, the party became deregistered.
All this, as a responsible man, as a president of the party for 25 years, it is my duty to ensure the succession is smooth. If that is ensured, I believe I have that little time left. But the party has to decide who the successor is and they have decided and that is Koh Tsu Koon.
So I want to ensure smooth transition, we are late already, do you know why? Umno has changed new leadership already, MCA also has changed new leadership that is why I knew five years ago Gerakan should decide but because of Kerk Choo Ting not being accepted by the party, that is why I have been on off on off.
(When asked by a reporter about Kerk saying that Gerakan was a Keng Yaik Sdn Bhd, Lim was quick to point out it was not Kerk who said so, but Tan Kee Kwong.)
You all wrong, don't cucuk, it is Kee Kwong who said that. I know what Kerk said, you all are not right. We are still saudara-saudara (to laughter from the floor). Don't batu api.
What he said I have given to him, and I was replying to what Kee Kwong said, not Kerk.
Koh: I have already commented on behalf of him, you can ask the other leaders. He is a leader who has been so consultative and a leader who has been running the party based on full team work and it is not a Sendirian Berhad. I don't know what they mean by Sendirian Berhad.
(Asked what he thought about Kerk's comments that he did not want to challenge Koh whom he said was a family friend)
Koh: I don't think he should bring family relationships in deciding politics.
When he made the decision to challenge the party president, I think he did not make the right decision, because there was another option. The other option is to accept the proposal to be the national adviser, without challenging the leadership of the party, there is still another choice.
So that is why, there was a proposal, that is the reason why I was asked, he asked me to challenge the president. There was a proposed formula which he rejected because he said it was not in the constitution. I thought even though it was not in the constitution it would be acceptable to him. It is special because it is decided at the national delegates conference and it is for the person in recognition of contribution to the party. If it was acceptable to Lim Chong Eu even though it was not in the constitution, I thought it will be acceptable to him, that is why I proposed it. If he had accepted it, it would have been passed unanimously. Every member would be so happy and they would respect him very much. Tun Lim Chong Eu held the post 10 years until he retired from active politics.
(Asked how he felt as he personally appointed Kerk in 1989)
KY: "You are wrong. In 1989, Paul Leong was deputy president and he resigned and the central committee then appointed Kerk to be acting deputy president until he was elected in 1990 with my full support."
(How do you feel about the whole thing, are you angry or upset?)
KY: I am happy not because Kerk has decided to contest but because the party has decided on a successor - Koh Tsu Koon as the new president. He is the new president when I retire, he will be president.
(Do you expect the party to be torn apart by this episode?)
KY: The strength of Gerakan has always been teamwork because of the closeness, team work, team spirit, and because of closeness of the team, the team has to go in as a Gerakan team and as a team, if it is strong, year in year out, one term after another term.
For the last 25 years, under my leadership, the team did it, not me. Because of strength and tightness of the team of being able to work together, there's never fractionalism, camps. That is why there is never a Team A or Team B, there's always just team Gerakan.
Kerk says he can work with the team, yes, I am afraid the team cannot work with him. That is my only fear, if he ever becomes president. He says he can work with the team, I hope the team can work with him.