The baying for the blood of the Penang MCA duo has nothing to do with party discipline or the welfare of the people but the shadow play of an intense inter and intra Barisan Nasional power struggle affecting the political future of key government figures
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Monday): The Barisan Nasional storm over the two MCA Penang State Assembly members, Tan Cheng Liang (Jawi) and Lim Boo Chang (Datuk Keramat) for abstaining in the motion by the DAP Assemblyman for Batu Lanchang, Law Heng Kiang, in the recent Penang State Assembly to defer the RM1.02 billion Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) project until the RM400 million Jelutong Expressway is completed has become curiouser and curiouser.
The baying for the blood of the Penang MCA duo has nothing to do with party discipline or the welfare of the people but the shadow play of an intense inter and intra Barisan Nasional power struggle affecting the political future of key government figures.
The manner the Barisan Nasional storm over the Penang MCA duo erupted is most unusual and extraordinary, as the first salvo was not fired by the aggrieved Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon who was publicly humiliated when he could not impose the whip in the Penang State Assembly and muster two-thirds of Barisan Nasional Penang State Assembly members to obey his directive to oppose the DAP motion.
Instead, it was the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – 11 months away from becoming the fifth Prime Minister - who was the first to go public and thundered that the Penang MCA duo face expulsion from the Barisan Nasional for refusing to vote against the DAP motion on PORR and directing Koh to submit a full report to the Barisan Nasional Chairman Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as soon as possible.
Abdullah’s public outburst was most unprecedented, not least of which was that there was neither public dismay among the Barisan Nasional leaders nor disciplinary action when the four Terengganu UMNO State Assemblymen violated the party directive and refused to vote against the Terengganu PAS Syariah Criminal Bill (Hudud and Qisas) in the Terengganu State Assembly on July 8, 2001 – seriously compromising UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP for not being genuinely opposed to the PAS hudud enactments in Terengganu and Kelantan.
There has been a long list of the most unprecedented happenings in the baying for the blood of the Penang MCA duo in the past fortnight, which does not include the demand for their expulsion by the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik – as it would only be unprecedented if Keng Yaik had not made such a demand!
The most unprecedented happenings included:
However interesting or exciting the power tussle, especially camouflaged in a shadow play with a battle through proxies inter and intra Barisan Nasional component parties, the people of Penang would like to see the real issue at stake – the unpopularity of PORR project and the failure and inability of both the Federal and State Government to convince the people of Penang, including Barisan Nasional state assembly members, of the suitability and legitimacy of the project , to be addressed through a full review of the PORR project.
The people of Penang calls on Abdullah, who is from Penang, to direct a full and public review of the PORR project to put the people’s interest above any party or personal interests of the beneficiaries of the PORR concession – and to show that he is not only concerned about the Penang MCA duo but also the aspirations of the people of Penang.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman