I was born on the prairies, where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures. [GERONIMO]
Friday, August 26, 2011
The contrasting views of Lim Guan Eng and Koh Tsu Koon
MCA founder’s granddaughter lauds Guan Eng’s policies in Penang
Lim Guan Eng received praise from an unexpected source today when the granddaughter of the MCA’s first president and daughter of the country’s longest-serving finance minister said the Penang chief minister should be given his due for the state’s prudent management of public funds.
Tan Siok Choo, the daughter of Tun Tan Siew Sin and granddaughter of Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock — both of whom were former MCA presidents — told BFM radio this morning that it was good that Lim had shown what could be done by eliminating waste and implementing open tenders.
“For my father... he was always very particular that government funds should be looked after like your own funds. I think it is in a way, currently, very good that Lim Guan Eng(picture), Chief Minister of Penang, has shown what can be done if you eliminate waste and if you have an open tender.
“The fact that he has been able to run Penang without much contribution from the federal government and yet turn in, yet attract one of the highest rates of investment, I think speaks for itself.
“And this is barring the fact that when my father was in politics, Kit Siang never had a good word to say about my father. So there is history between our two fathers but I think one must give Guan Eng his due,” she told the radio station’s Morning Grille programme.
Siok Choo’s father Siew Sin was finance minister from 1959 until 1974. Guan Eng’s father Kit Siang became an MP for the first time in 1969 and eventually became parliamentary opposition leader.
Her remarks today come as the DAP is increasingly being seen as the party of choice for the country’s Chinese community while the MCA, the party founded by Siok Choo’s grandfather Cheng Lock, appears to be floundering.
Recently, international news magazine The Economist also praised Guan Eng’s open tender policies and credited his administration with helping Penang regain its lustre as a “global city” by lifting the state’s economy to beyond that of a sweat shop industry.
The international weekly dubbed Penang “the first custom-made city of globalisation” and credited Guan Eng for boosting the port city’s revival by axing a racial special treatment economic policy in the state to create a more level-playing field that appeals to foreign investors.
Speaking about the MCA this morning, Siok Choo said the party needed to understand what its constituents wanted if it was to stay relevant.
“I think the good thing about the current situation is that the ethnic lines are getting blurred. You can see this in how Malaysians react to issues... look at issues like Bersih, the call for better and cleaner electoral process, it is being championed across the board, sought by Malays and Chinese. So therefore in terms of civil liberties and soft issues like law and order, no longer seen as Malays vs Chinese... seen as an issue that all Malaysians want.
“I think the party has to realise that if that is what your constituents want, that they don’t see as us and them situation anymore in terms of Malays and Chinese, if the party wants to be relevant and if it wants to move forward, that is the direction it has to go.”
Go gracefully, Jui Meng advises Tsu Koon as Umno, even Vincent Tan attacks
PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng has advised his former colleague Koh Tsu Koon to "go gracefully" from the BN coalition of which the 62-year Gerakan president been a member since the 1980s.
"If I were Tsu Koon, I would go gracefully. But I must also say it is not right for BN treat Tsu Koon this way. After all, he did contribute to their coalition in the past, no doubt in his own way and also in the way that they required him to," Jui Meng, a former Health minister and MCA vice president, told Malaysia Chronicle.
"The thing is, if you don't want him, just tell him so. Don't make a circus of it all and tar him until he has no dignity left. I think Tsu Koon should leave a heartless coalition like the BN. He should become an Independent or else join Pakatan. Whichever his decision, the point is, don't allow yourself to be kicked like this. It's not worth it."
Berjaya's Vincent Tan fires a rare salvo
The move to unseat Tsu Koon began a year ago. Slowly but surely it gained pace. In the past weeks, the UMNO-instigated momentum spearheaded by its twin newspapers Utusan and Berita Harian has been tremendous, reaching eruption point.
Tsu Koon, who headed the Penang state government for 18 years, has given hints that he will not contest any seat in Penang . This was seen as a move to placate the state UMNO, widely suspected to be the prime-mover against him.
But it looks like UMNO, the BN's boss, wants him out completely and before the next general election, widely expected to be held by the end of this year. They have continued to fire salvos at him mercilessly.
Adding to the commotion was Vincent Tan. The billionaire tycoon is among the latest to join the chorus of criticism against the flailing Tsu Koon.
Vincent's property flagship Berjaya Land Bhd issued a statement on Wednesday that the group withdrew from the Penang hill project during the 1990s due to Koh's indecisiveness.
“Owing to such delay and uncertainty and the non-committal attitude of Dr Koh towards the Penang Hill development, Berjaya reluctantly made the decision to withdraw from the project,” BLand CEO Francis Ng said in the statement.
Praises for his replacement
Hot on Vincent's heels was Tan Siok Choo, the daughter of Tun Tan Siew Sin and granddaughter of Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock both of whom were former MCA presidents.
It may have been coincidental, but taken together with the recent Tsu Koon-bashing, their comments raised eyebrows.
Siok Choo did not run down Tsu Koon but she praised his successor DAP Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, which given Koh's current situation may be worse than any insult Vincent or UMNO could hurl.
“The fact that he has been able to run Penang without much contribution from the federal government and yet turn in, yet attract one of the highest rates of investment, I think speaks for itself. And this is barring the fact that when my father was in politics, Kit Siang never had a good word to say about my father. So there is history between our two fathers but I think one must give Guan Eng his due,” Malaysian Insider reported her as saying.
The key for the BN to regain the state of Penang in the next general election is for it to promise to place an Umno member as the next chief minister, says Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia.
“If all are agreed to give the chief minister's post to Umno after the next general election, I am confident that Penang will be retaken,” read Zaini Hassan's column in today's edition of the Malay language daily.
He pointed out that the tally of seats at the moment is 11 for Umno, one for PAS, 19 for DAP and nine for PKR.
“If all are in agreement (for Umno to hold the CM post), the Malay votes that were given to PKR shall be returned to Umno and the party will return to rule the state in the future.
“While some may say that this idea is like a daydream or an impossibility as the Chinese will not allow it, in politics anything is possible,” he argued.
Zaini also hit out at Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon, who is also Penang BN chief, for making much noise of late, though he is himself puzzled why the mainstream media, accused of being in cahoots with the government, have decided to attack Koh head on, day in and day out.
“Penang BN should not create a ruckus. The focus is to re-take the state. The only troublemaker is Penang CM Lim Guan Eng. Why is everyone silent about him? The discussion now should be to rotate the CM post to Umno which won all the seats that BN have in the state assembly right now.
“No need to make noise. Gerakan shouldn't create trouble. Shut up and focus on the polls,” lashed out Zaini.