Monday, August 25, 2008

Kerk to go for Johor Gerakan chief's post?
KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 25, 2008) : Eight Gerakan divisions in Johor want former national deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Kerk Choo Ting to go for the state chief’s post but Kerk is mum whether he would accept their endorsements.

According to a report in Oriental Daily News today, at a meeting of more than 100 delegates from the eight south Johor divisions in Johor Baru on Saturday night, their representatives spoke of the need for change in Gerakan state leadership to reinvigorate the party so that it will not be marginalised within the Barisan Nasional.

In a unanimous decision, the divisions decided to nominate Kerk to take on incumbent Datuk Teo Kok Chee.

A representative from Simpang Renggam, Tay Kok King, said delegates should vote with their heads and not their hearts if they want to save the party.

He also said to save Gerakan, there must be changes to the party and strengthening of its leadership.

Kulai delegate Ang Ho Tiong said Johor Gerakan needs a leader who can foster better relationship with the mentri besar.

He believed someone who had been a minister, a deputy minister or an MP would make a good candidate.

Another delegate concurred with Ang, saying the present leadership does not enjoy a very cordial relationship with the menteri besar.

News from the battle front.

The Anti Teo Kok Chee faction had their pre nomination dinner at Bamboo restaurant in Pelangi on Saturday night. There were about 6 tables although the China Press mentioned 100 people attended the function. The faction aka The Kulai Gang faction gathered members from 10 divisions for the dinner in support of Sdr Kerk Choo Ting for the state chairman post. There were even 4 representatives from Pasir Gudang division. Surprisingly even potential candidate Sdr Low Kok Guan was there too. Maybe he has thrown in the towel and has decided to be a supporter. A plausible explaination was that he has failed to get the faction's endorsement and realised the futility of the endeavour. Dr Ker was not there but two of his most trusted lieutenants were. Ah Hai and Ah Tey were at the dinner. Was this a spying mission or have they become frogs? Interesting!! Or maybe it is the lure of free food.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Koh Fights Back

NST Online » Columns
'Docile' Koh steals the show
David Yeow

IT seems former Penang chief minister Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon has had enough of the public snipping by his successor Lim Guan Eng.
The usually composed and scholarly-looking, some even say docile, Koh was a changed man when he took to the rostrum in the televised public debate with Lim over land issues in the state.

While both men were equally fluent in Bahasa Malaysia and firmly sold in their beliefs that they were in the right, it was Koh who stole the show.

From the first bell by moderator Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka chairman and New Straits Times columnist Datuk Johan Jaafar, Koh took on a combative attitude and clearly thumped Lim, point after point and even left room to chide Lim's supporters who turned a tad unruly towards the end of the night.

"We are having a gentlemanly debate here, let's behave professionally and be civilised about it," Koh said coolly, immediately silencing a jeering portion of the crowd who were unhappy when he accused Lim of always blaming others while not doing enough himself.
Even online journalist Wan Hamidi Hamid, who was on Lim's side, was taken to task when he suggested in his long question to Koh that the former chief minister was afraid of or covering up for Umno.

"That's not a question, that's an accusation," Koh said steely and the journalist was visibly taken aback.

The debate, titled Kisah Benar Di Sebalik Kontroversi Tanah di Pulau Pinang (The truth behind the land controversy in Penang) and organised by online news portal AgendaDaily, did not reveal anything that has not been reported by newspapers over the past few months.

For much of the 45-minute debate, Lim accused Koh of cover-up, while the latter countered that the former was flogging a dead horse and repeating half truths.

The alleged cover-up involved DAP's discovery that the previous Barisan Nasional state government had alienated a plot of land (initially thought to have belonged to the state government, but later found to be private land) to a quarry operator. The operator has filed a claim for RM40 million which the previous state government is challenging in court.

Lim repeatedly questioned Koh and his government over the lack of stern action against the culprit responsible for the "loss", except to give a warning letter to the Land Office staff.

Lim even insinuated that the reason Koh made little mention of the case until he brought up the issue was because certain Umno politicians were involved in the wheeling and dealing.

Koh countered Lim's accusation by saying that his administration had investigated the "mistake" in awarding the 4.3ha land to the quarry operator before handing over the probe to the Anti-Corruption Agency.

"What cover-up? When the ACA said there was no evidence of fraud, I was not happy.

"We formed a committee and re-investigated the case internally. We forwarded the case again to the ACA for another probe."

Koh said as the ACA again found that there was no fraud, no other action could be taken against the officer for the "mistake".

He chided Lim for not re-opening the case and conducting his own investigation and bringing the issue to the ACA if he was adamant that there was a "scandal".

Koh also took to task Lim's assertion that the state government had already lost the RM40 million even though the case was still being fought in the courts.

"We believe that the damages are not worth RM40 million. We believe we have a case. That's why I did not 'reveal' the issue because the legal process is not over yet.

"But did the opposition reveal this point? No, they just gave up and played up the claim that we have lost RM40 million. This is his half truth."

Koh's "killing blow" came towards the end of the night, when he turned the tables on Lim.

Arguing that if Lim only had the RM40 million case and a few other yet-to-be proven "land scams" against the previous state government, then they were only giving credence to their impeccable track record.

"The Penang government approves an average of 500 land transactions a year.

"Meaning that in our (BN) 18 years there, we approved more than 10,000 land deals.

"If the RM40 million case and a few others are all they can throw at us, this means that we have a success rate of 99.9 per cent," Koh exclaimed, while Lim quickly stared at his notes to avoid eye contact.

As if acknowledging he had walked into a trap, Lim admitted at a press conference later that the public debate would not have been necessary if Koh had accepted his invitation to meet him to discuss the land "scandals".

In an immediate response, Koh said Lim had indeed, through media reports, offered to talk about the issue amicably.

"But in less than 24 hours, he started blasting me in the papers, claiming the previous government and I had committed fraud.

"So I decided that a debate was the best place to reveal the whole truth as everyone could hear for themselves the facts."

Gerakan's "Mr Nice Guy" is a formidable foe when crossed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

News from the battle front. ,

Saturday could be a momentous event in Johor Gerakan history. A group of anti Teo Kok Chee faction has organised a dinner at the restaurant in the golfing range in Pelangi. They have invited Sdr Kerk Choo Ting to show support for his candidacy for the state chairmanship. Now, most people would have thought that KCT being a good friend of TKC would hesitate to take the offer. But we all know how power gets into your head, even with just a promise of power. Interestingly, the JB division chairman works at the restaurant. Now, the question is: what is on the menu and who is going to pay for the food?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Perak starts the ball rolling

Perak State Delegates Conference has started the discussion everyone in Gerakan has had in their mind ever since the March election. To withdraw or not to withdraw from Barisan Nasional. Even as we contemplate this move, pieces of Gerakan is falling off the wagon as evidenced by the Lee Kah Choong, Tan Kee Kwong and Toh Kin Woon affairs. The leadership cannot ignore the pink elephant in the room any longer. The matter must be addressed comprehensively in the next NDC. If enough states resolve to have this matter on the plate, the leadership will have no choice but to take the bull by the horns and wrestle with it. No matter how painful or politically damaging it is. If the matter is brought up often enough, the only democratic way to resolve this matter would be a referendum among the members at the NDC. The pink elephant in the room is no illusion and we better be ready to deal with it because sooner or later the elephant is gonna move its bowel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sensitive Issues?

The recent sabotage of the Bar Council Forum indicates the reason why we still have racial parties in Malaysia. The racial parties are there to protect the rights of the individual groups as opposed to the the rights of all. Each party will have their own agenda to promote and rights to protect. Without these agendas and rights, the parties will disappear, made irrelevant by the magnanimity of the people. Alas, the people is petty and weak. Easily manipulated by a cartel of power hungry people with personal agendas, the people is easily divided into different camps, fighting for ideas that has separated mankind ever since the club was invented. Being fair and right has nothing to do with what is mine and might.

The people will have to rise above it all and see the strings that is holding us back from uniting as the human race. Only as one do we see that all these pettiness is absurd and holding us back from achieving greatness.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Dr Ker joins the fray.

Pasir Gudang division's chairman, Dr Ker Ching Shen, announced his intention to go for the state chairmanship. The election this year promises to be a heated one with Dato Teo Kok Chee defending his position and Lau Kok Guan already announcing that he will clean house if he wins. Another one or two more candidates are expected to throw their hats into the ring.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Why some people go into politics?

After the loss of several seats in Johor during the last election, the BN govt appointed Pembantu Khas kepada MB in areas the BN has lost. Gerakan recommended Koo Shiaw Lee for the post in Skudai. He was the PA to the previous ADUN and has been servicing the area for the last 5 years under the tutelage of the YB. However the appointment has been delayed in the MB's office. No official reason has been given but there has been plenty of speculation. Factions in Gerakan Johor has protested the appointment saying the candidate is too young and inexperienced. One of the hopeful replacement in a moment of weakness even confessed he needed the appointment to enhance his business. Another veteran politician even lamented the candidate's inexperience in 'cari lobang' for businessmen. It seems to some people, appointments are not a responsibility to serve but a licence to raid and plunder. It is not the age that counts, it is the integrity.