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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Butt out of Sabah, Koh and Gerakan told

Sabah based parties are growing uncomfortable with Gerakan's aggressive entry into the state's politics and increasing demands for a more prominent status in the state BN political hierarchy.

SANDAKAN: Gerakan leader Koh Tsu Koon has been taken to task by a fellow Barisan Nasional coalition member for using Sabah to get the party back into the political mainstream after its humiliating eviction from Penang in the last election.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) deputy president Senator Chin Su Phin said Koh has forgotten that Gerakan has not won an election in Sabah and its seats in the state legislature were obtained through defections and sweeteners offered to the assemblymen.

Sabah based parties are growing uncomfortable with Gerakan’s aggressive entry into the state’s politics and increasing demands for a more prominent status in the state BN political hierarchy.

Koh, the former Penang chief minister who himself lost his seat in the last general election in 2008 which saw his government fall to the opposition, has said that Gerakan’s revival will start in Sabah.

Chin said Koh should face the reality and not try to bring his beleageured party back to the mainstream of politics via the backdoor.

“Gerakan lost in their own soil in Penang, so it must stand up again from there in order to earn the trust and respect of the people.

“Perhaps Koh thinks that Gerakan now has three ‘imported’ assemblymen two of whom are full state ministers and therefore is hoping to be given the chance to contest the three seats,” he said.

“We want to tell Koh that his three assemblymen are ‘frogs’ who have not been tested yet, so one wonders what will happen if they are using Gerakan’s symbol.

“If they really want to prove that the people are with them, they should have quit from their government posts and just remain as assemblymen to serve the rakyat,” he added.

The three seats are Karamunting, Tg Papat and Elopura which are mixed-areas.

Unfair politics

Chin contended that if Gerakan thinks they can win in mixed-areas, then other BN component parties, a Sabah-based party like LDP in particular, will have no problem to deliver those seats.

He also compared fellow BN party MCA’s nominal status in the state to Gerakan.

“I would like to ask what worthy contribution has Gerakan made ever since it spread its wings to the state?” he asked, adding that in comparison, MCA has been in Sabah much longer and is more credible than Gerakan.

“But all this while, MCA has one elected assemblyman (and was) only given an assistant minister’s post, whereas Gerakan has three ‘frogs’ and with two full ministerial posts.

“This is unfair to other BN component partners,” he said.

Gerakan has become a force in state politics through the defections of Raymond Tan and Au Kam Wah from the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) last year and Peter Pang from LDP early this year.

LDP’s strongholds

Meanwhile, Chin said although LDP was founded in Tawau, for the past 20 years Sandakan has been the fortress of the oldest member of the Sabah BN coalition which has a MP and assemblyman in Sandakan.

“At one time, almost all LDP political appointments in the government were from Sandakan.

“This shows our members here are much better off than their counterparts in other areas,” he said in his keynote address at the joint Youth and Wanita congress here today.

Chin said though former party strongman, Lau Ngan Siew, failed to defend the Sandakan parliamentary seat in the 2004 general election, it was recaptured in the 2008 general election by party president VK Liew.

Making a pitch for the return of the Karamunting seat to the party after its assemblyman Pang defected to Gerakan this year, Chin said the constituency has always been the stranglehold of LDP.

“Irrespective of who from LDP is nominated as the BN candidate in Karamunting, the candidate must win so as to send a clear message that the people reject a leader who’s selfish and with no principle,” he added.

In the 2008 general election LDP nominated Pang as the candidate for Karamunting and he won the state seat.

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