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  Speech (2) by Lim Kit Siang at the opening of the Canning (Ipoh Timur) election operation centre at Kampung Simee, Ipoh on Monday, 11th February 2008 at 11 am:

Has Tsu Koon surrendered the right to determine who is the Gerakan Penang Chief Minister to Khairy Jamaluddin, the son-in-law of Abdullah?

One shocker of the news today is the announcement by the Acting Gerakan President, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to move to the federal level in the upcoming general election � not the contents of the announcement but circumstances and implications of the announcement.

Tsu Koon�s announcement came �a few hours after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mentioned that he (Abdullah) would decide for the Penang Chief Minister if the latter was unable to make up his mind whether to contest a state seat or go for a parliament seat�.

It highlights Koh�s utterly indecisive leadership � even more indecisive than Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, which must be quite an �achievement� by itself.

Koh said he had submitted three names as his successor to the Prime Minister who indicated �he might need a few days to decide on whom to choose as my successor�. (Bernama)

This is a most shocking display of impotence. Who should be the next Gerakan Penang Chief Minister should be the sole decision of the Gerakan leadership. Why has Tsu Koon surrendered this power and right of the Gerakan to decide who should be the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister to the UMNO President giving him the prerogative to choose from one of three names submitted by Koh?

It is open secret that submitting the decision to Abdullah is as good as submitting it to Khairy Jamualuddin, Abdullah�s son-in-law and the �power-behind-the-throne�.

Khairy Jamaluddin, the master of the power Putrajaya Fourth Storey, is already a very powerful man if not the most powerful man in UMNO and Barisan Nasional.

For instance, everybody knows that Khairy is the de facto Mentri Besar of Terengganu and that Datuk Idris Jusoh is just a Mentri Besar in name only. It is Khairy who dispenses with the billions of ringgit of �wang ehsan� from the five per cent oil royalty from Petronas, which completely bypassed the Mentri Besar�s Office!

Now Khairy is accumulating even greater power as he will finally be deciding who is to be the next Gerakan Penang Chief Minister � as it is again public knowledge that Khairy virtually makes all the important decisions for rubber-stamping by the Prime Minister, from top civil service and judicial appointments, approval of mega contracts without tender, dispensing billions of ringgit of funds in Terengganu which completely overshadow the state government�s budget to the latest decision as to who should be the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister from the three names submitted by Koh!

I do not think this is the best start for Penang to face the challenges of globalization after the 2008 general election!

* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman


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