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If after 16 years, Tsu Koon has to prove he is Chief Minister for all races, his standing and clout  in top Barisan Nasional circles cannot be very high

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Ipoh, Sunday) :  “DPM wants Koh to prove he is CM for all races” - the headline of the New Straits Times report today on the speech by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak when opening the Tanjong Umno  delegates conference yesterday speaks volumes.


If after 16 years as Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon is still required to prove that he is “CM for all races” – despite his declaration less than a fortnight ago that he was “a Chief Minister for all races” – his clout and standing in top Barisan Nasional circles cannot be very high.


It was more than symbolic that Najib expressed such sentiments at the opening of the Tanjong Umno division, where last Monday, Koh was publicly humiliated as “guest” at the official opening of the Tanjong Umno division premises by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi – not only by the open slight of being totally ignored by the Tanjong Umno Division chairman Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar in his speech but also by the seven-banner public protest by Balik Pulau Umno Youth for neglecting the Malays in Penang.


Najib made two  statements, viz:


  • “In fact, Koh himself had promised me that he would be a chief minister for all races”; and


  • “However, this does not mean that we are not serious in addressing the Malay issues in Penang.”


Added together, it can only mean that the recent agitation by Penang Umno and Umno Youth alleging neglect, discrimination and marginalization of the Malays in Penang have secured support by the top Umno and Umno Youth leaderships.


The impression Koh has given is that he has been checkmated by the Penang Umno and Umno Youth agitation, which started off demanding rotation of the post of Penang Chief Minister but clearly  prepared to settle for major concessions by Koh.


If Koh appears helpless and unable to stand up to the local pressures of Umno Youth branches or the Umno Youth deputy leader after 16 years as Penang Chief Minister, is it any wonder that he appears quite lost when the pressures now come from the Umno Youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Deputy Prime Minister?


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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