Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pitfalls await Kah Choon - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: By Marc Lourdes

Datuk Lee Kah Choon has his feet on two boats that are going in opposite directions. Eventually, he is going to fall and hurt himself.

This is the opinion of Gerakan national adviser Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik.

He was commenting on the recent appointment of Lee, the former Gerakan deputy secretary-general, as director of Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and investPenang by the DAP-led state government.

"I pity Lee Kah Choon because he has to take on a huge and ominous task.

"He is going to be suspected by the DAP because he is a Gerakan member.

"At the same time, he is going to be suspected by Gerakan for promoting a DAP-led agenda in Penang. How is he going to work?

"But, if he thinks he is Superman and can overcome all this suspicion, best of luck to him."

Dr Lim declined to comment when asked if the party would take any disciplinary action against Lee, saying that the press conference had been called to air his personal opinion only.

He said he got a lump in his throat when he heard of Lee's decision to accept DAP's offer.

"Five days after the general elections, I had dinner with him. He told me of his grand plans to revive Gerakan in Penang and fight the DAP.

"He wanted to be a watchdog against the DAP government. I said good, but advised him not to give people the impression that he wanted to become the next Penang chief minister," he said.

Asked if Lee was welcome in Gerakan, he was non-committal.

"It depends on how he does his job. But there is a lot of anger on the ground."

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was not spared the veteran politician's acid tongue either.

"I pity Lim Guan Eng. If he is merely playing politics, it means he is not interested in PDC and investPenang.

"If he does care about them, then it means that he recognises Gerakan."

He said DAP's appointment of Lee was a concession that they lacked local personalities to do the job, a result of them "helicopter-ing" in too many candidates from outside the state.

"Guan Eng himself, Jeff Ooi, Liew Chin Tong and Prof Ramasamy, they know nothing about Penang, so they have to choose Penang leaders to help develop the state," he said.

Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, speaking later, declined to comment on what action the party would take against its former stalwart.

"The party procedure is to let the central working committee deliberate and decide on his position and membership.

"We got his resignation ironically on April 1. We thought it was an April Fool's joke, but as events unfolded, it wasn't."

Koh added that the key issue was that Lee wanted to lead the Gerakan team in Penang.

"He offered to head the task force in Penang to revive the party, and I said I needed time to discuss it with the other party leaders so that it could become an acceptable arrangement.

"I did not say 'no' to him.

"But it looks like he was quite impatient. Barely two weeks after that, he resigned."

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