This is my third post on Lee Kah choon. For those who have not followed what I wrote the last 2 days, please read these 2 articles : Less politics, more work and Be big enough to accpet this, Gerakan. I also hope the readers will read the numerous comments, some of which comes from former Gerakan supporters and voters and some from well known commetators in the blogosphere.
One of the reasons why MCA, MIC and Gerakan lost so badly in this election is because they are seen to be subservient to UMNO. When some UMNO leaders– not even the top leaders of UMNO but second rung leaders– make certain comments , there is a perception that leaders of these parties are just sycophants. So much so the rakyat can predict what these leaders are going to say after a budget annoucement or after a policy statement from UMNO leaders.
Then in 2006, Lee Kuan Yew mentioned that the Chinese Malaysians are marginalised. The Minister Mentor may have his agenda in saying this, but what he said is the true situation, and Malaysians are all aware of this. What happened? Barisan NonUmno leaders tried to outdo each other admonishing Lee. Their action has alienated them from their own voting base. Only one person from MCA, Ong Tee Keat, dared to stand up and said that those who drink water will know whether the water is cold or hot. Not surprisingly, Ong is the only MP from MCA that won a seat in the Klang Valley, winning the Pandan Parliamentary seat (even though it is outside KL it is still within the Klang Valley) while the 3 DUNs under Pandan were all lost to Pakatan.
When a Gerakan Indian youth member spoke about the marginalisation of the indians and attributed the reasons to UMNO sometime in Dec last year, , the immediate response was that Party Youth leaders issued a statement condemning the poor fellow, who was even threatened with disciplinary action from party leaders, after Kerishamuddin arrogantly asked the party to take action. This again gives the voters a perception that the party is subservient to UMNO . Pakatan cleverly played on this , saying that a vote for Gerakan or MCA is a vote for UMNO. We all know the results. Gerakan was wiped out from Penang, its own base for so many years.
The party leadership has mentioned that they will reform. Lee Kah Choon’s incident is a test case indeed. Najib has already asked what Gerakan is going to do about Lee, putting subtle pressure on Gerakan. It is as if UMNO has not learned and is still arrogant. UMNO still wants to be the TaiKo and interfere with affairs of component parties. This arrogance has cost their allies, Gerakan, MCA MIC, to lose big. BUt still they dont learn. Najib still wants to see blood.
Initailly, Pak Lah seems to be more accomodating. In today’s Malaysiakini report earlier, Pak Lah was quoted as saying:
“It is for the party to decide. It is up to Penang BN to do what they want as long as there is no clash in policy,” he said at a brief press conference after attending a function in Kuala Lumpur today.
“We leave this to the relevant party. For me, there is no need (to take action). I (would) say thank you,” he said.
When asked whether Lee’s decision would herald a “new era” in cooperation between BN and Pakatan, Abdullah said: “Perhaps this opens ways for cooperation.”
At least, in this instance, the PM has been big enough not to ask for Lee’s head. Because he probably knows that the damage to Gerakan will be very great if UMNO is seen to be pressing Gerakan for action and Gerakan is seen to be kowtowing to UMNO. The voters from Penang will never forgive Gerakan if they give in to Najib’s wish.
But however, in a later update of Malaysiakini, PM seems to be changing his stand-is it because of the 4th Floor guys?- saying that (quoting Malaysiakini again):
Abdullah seemed to change his stand later today. According to a report by Bernama, Abdullah said Lee’s decision was “against the spirit of BN”.
But I tell you, from the comments that were posted in my blogs, the voters will never forgive Gerakan if Lee is expelled from the party. As I have commented earlier, even UMNO leaders do not take action against some of the civil servants who are PAS members and supporters. The ball is now at Gerakan Leaders’ feet , and how they kick it will be closely watched.