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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Penang Gerakan: Another revolt in the making


Gerakan has slapped show-cause letters on three Penang leaders in an apparent move to silence dissent against the state leadership and close ranks ahead of the coming general election.

A party source told said that the letters were to censure the three leaders for publicly threatening to resign if their embattled state chief Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan survived the no-confidence vote during the October extraordinary general meeting (EGM)).

It is understood the letters, signed by Gerakan secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow, were delivered to the homes of Kepala Batas division chief Beh Kim Hee, Jalan Baru branch chairman Ooi Liang Chye and another branch chief Chew Chee Huat earlier last week.

The letters came attached with newspaper clippings as proof that the three had issued the threats in public and contained a demand for an explanation for their actions by today.

According to the letter, the party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) had discussed the trio’s actions during a recent meeting and had decided to reprimand them.

“The CWC has recently discussed your membership status, in view of your announcement to resign in the local media. As we did not receive your resignations and we will not rely merely on this newspaper cutting, we seek your response on the matter.

“If you fail to respond within 14 days from the date of this letter, we shall proceed to present this cutting as proof of your resignation,” the letter said.

So far, only one of the trio has responded to the letters, likely resulting in the automatic disqualification of the remaining two.

Teng and several other Gerakan leaders could not be reached for confirmation.

“But obviously, this is just the party’s way of trying to threaten all those who want to rally against the state leadership.

“They want to shut everyone up but they do not realise that the party is already in trouble in Penang,” said the source.

The source added that although Teng had prevailed in the EGM, the results had failed to quieten the rumblings of rebellion within Penang Gerakan.

The struggling leadership, he added, was lethargic and its “feeble attempt” at stealing some of DAP’s thunder in Penang would likely fail in the general election.

“There is even a dispute over the list of Barisan Nasional coordinators for Penang. From what I heard, there are presently three separate lists, each with different names. This shows that the leadership is still fractured and unable to see eye to eye,” he said.

When contacted, Ooi confirmed that he had received the letter but had refused to respond.

“I do not even want to bother. Why should I? I am not interested anymore because this is a dying party,” he said.

He added that he no longer had any faith in Gerakan, claiming that many of its leaders were incapable.

“The party is killing itself. It is pointless to care any longer. Let them die off on their own,” he said.

Ooi pointed out that numerous other party members had openly voiced their grouses against the party leadership through the media but had not received similar letters to disqualify their memberships.

“Many people have said that they wanted to quit but nothing was done to them. In fact, some of them even went on to become coordinators in Penang,” he claimed.

He agreed that the October EGM had failed to soothe ruffled feathers among party members in Penang, Gerakan’s stronghold since 1969.

“Many agreed to work with Teng but he never changed and their heart is not with him. He is the kind of leader that says one thing and does something else.

“I feel sickened so it is okay, there is no need to respond and I am willing to give up my chairmanship,” he said.

When contacted, Beh claimed that he had not received the letter.

Chew confirmed that he had received it three days ago and had issued a response.

“I did not make the statement in public. I was misquoted and I even asked the newspaper to apologise,” he said.

He added, however, that he was unsure if the party had received his letter on time.

“But if they want to revoke my membership, what can I do? I would not be surprised at all,” he said.

- Malaysian Insider

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