Monday, April 28, 2008

Give Lee room to serve Penang well - The Star

April 28, 2008 COMMENT BY V.K.CHIN

NOW that he has resigned from the Gerakan, Datuk Lee Kah Choon should be left in peace to carry out his new assignments with the Penang government.

After his appointment as director of the Penang Development Board and chairman of InvestPenang, Lee was criticised by Barisan Nasional leaders for accepting the two positions.

Their objection is due to the fact that with the state government now under Pakatan Rakyat or DAP control, no Barisan member should be working with the enemy.

Lee had earlier resigned as Gerakan deputy secretary-general and remained an ordinary member, believing that this would be more acceptable to his party.

With the furore created by his action, he was forced to resign his Gerakan membership in order to put a stop to the controversy. His explanation that the appointments had nothing to do with politics did not placate his critics.

Ending his long-term relationship was the only option left since he would just like to be left alone to concentrate on his new duties.

We have to accept his reasons that he did it because he wanted to serve the people in the state after having done his bit at the federal level as the health ministry’s parliamentary secretary.

It will be no loss to him to quit the party as people realise, with the exception of some die-hards, that with the present leaders in charge, the Gerakan will have difficulty rebuilding its strength after its comprehensive defeat in the recent general election.

He was undoubtedly one of the more capable leaders in the party but was constantly sidelined in the state administration because he was a threat to some of his colleagues.

However, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is also the DAP secretary-general, must have seen something in Lee to offer him the jobs.

In fact, Lim should expect some hostility from his own party members who would have expected to be rewarded with some official appointments for their contributions.

Instead, it was the Barisan which had criticised Lee for helping the DAP. The people of Penang would be puzzled by all the fuss since why should anyone be attacked for offering their services to improve their state?

If Gerakan leaders should attack Lee it should be over his performance at the two state agencies and not his personal character. He should be given time to tackle the immense task before him.

It is also obvious that Lee has his own ideas on how to improve the state’s economy through investment. The previous administration had certainly fallen short in attracting more industries to provide jobs for the people.

It is a fact that the state had stagnated in the past two decades, resulting in a slowdown in development and lack of proper infrastructure to deal with crucial economic and social issues.

If there is someone who feels that he can do something to reverse the situation, he should be given a chance to prove his worth. If he should fail to perform, then that would be the time to take him to task.

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