Kabinet “Angguk Kepala” (2)

Lim and Koh cross swords over ‘backdoor’ entry
Athi Veeranggan & Wong Teck Chi | Apr 10, 09 5:26pm malaysiakini.com

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st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today took a swipe at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for opening the ‘backdoor’ to electoral losers to be appointed to the cabinet.

Lim, in an obvious reference to the Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon, said that he was shocked by Najib’s “bold decision” in appointing the big losers of last years’ general election.

lim guan eng penang pc 100409“By appointing those who had lost in the last general election showed that Barisan Nasional lacked respect to choices made by electorates.

“It gives an impression that the country’s democratic process is dead,” he told reporters at his Komtar office in George Town today.

He described such appointments as abnormal and contrary to the practices advocated in democratic societies across the world.

Najib’s cabinet which was announced yesterday included four senior BN leaders, including Koh, who were made senators so that they can be ministers or deputy ministers.

All four of them had lost in the last general election. Koh was made a minister in the prime minister’s department in charge of unity and performance portfolios.

Lim and Koh had had a running battle even since the opposition took control of the state from Koh’s Gerakan in the general election.

“He looked so sad when he lost in the last election,” said Lim referring to Koh’s devastating defeat to electoral debutant Dr P Ramasamy in the Batu Kawan parliamentary duel. Ramasamy is now Lim’s deputy in the state cabinet.

“Congratulations to Koh for finally realising his dream to become a minister even though he is an electoral loser,” said Lim.

Koh rebuts backdoor entry

Koh, meanwhile, in a separate function in Kuala Lumpur, defended his ‘backdoor’ entry into the cabinet.

He said that it was important for him to contribute to regain BN’s credibility, adding that the opposition was criticising him as “they don’t want us to do well”.

koh tsu koon gerakan pc 100409 03“I would advise the parties in Pakatan Rakyat to focus on their performances to serve the people. Let us compete positively on performances,” he said.

He also added that he did indicate to Najib of his willingness to be part of the cabinet.

“We did indicate to him that we are willing to serve, but it was his prerogative…to me, service is a challenge as well as is a contribution, service should not be for self,” he added.

He also dismissed talks, mostly emanating from Penang, that he had said before the last general election that he would not join the cabinet through an appointment as a senator if he was defeated.

“I did not say I will not do that. I only said that I would prefer to be elected rather than appointed,” he clarified today.

He added that the situation now was different than it was during the general election period.

“Now, the national challenge is more important,” he added.

This is the second time a Gerakan leader who failed to get elected in 2008 has been given an executive position in less than two months.

Koh’s deputy, Chang Ko Youn, was made Chinese-affairs advisor to Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir and enjoys full benefits of a state executive council member.

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