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Guan Eng: Kedah situation “desperate”

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 July 2009: While other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders today glossed over Kedah DAP’s pullout of the state government, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had a different view.

Lim, who is also Penang Chief Minister, said the situation in Kedah was “desperate” enough that the party’s top leadership would be meeting to decide whether to endorse or oppose the move.

He added that said the implications of DAP withdrawing from the Kedah PR government would have “large adverse national ramifications”, and needed to be studied.

He squarely blamed Kedah Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak for the breakdown in trust between PAS and DAP there.

“Kedah DAP has been unhappy with the lack of respect accorded by PAS to DAP in Kedah unlike the respect accorded to PAS in Penang,” Lim said in a statement today.

He singled the “failure of the PAS-led government not to give equal treatment to all Kedahans” as the reason for the pullout.

Lim said Kedah DAP chairperson Thomas Su had informed him that the demolition of an illegal pig abattoir and the imposition of the 50% bumiputera housing quota in the state were the main causes for DAP’s unhappiness.

“For Kedah DAP to pull out from the Kedah government, [this] signals the complete lack of communication and respect from the Kedah PAS-led government.”

Lim said he would “normally oppose such moves” if there was still room to correct the situation, but he believed things had become desperate.

No big deal

Other PR leaders, however, tried to minimise the Kedah DAP pullout, describing it as a “small problem” that would not affect the strength of the alliance.

Several said it was a normal problem in governance and administration, where misunderstandings were bound to occur.

PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the matter could be solved through negotiations and that things in PR were “still normal”.

He said he had talked to Azizan and had heard his reasons for the abattoir demolition, and what alternative solutions there were.

“The MB has informed me that he has given space and options on where the abattoir can be built. I think it can be solved through discussions.

“Pakatan will not fall apart. I don’t believe it will affect our larger agenda which concerns the rule of law in this country, freedom of expression, and the economy. There are always problems where people have differences of opinion.

“Barisan Nasional also has its problems, I [was] in BN a long time and there are many differences of opinion but they don’t become big news, because the difference with Pakatan is that BN controls the big media,” Anwar told reporters in the Parliament lobby today.

On the spat between PKR in Penang and the DAP-led state government over the sacking of Seberang Prai municipal councillor Johari Kassim, Anwar said he was leaving the matter to state PKR chief Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim to resolve the matter with Lim.

PR is maturing

Earlier, Kedah DAP’s pullout of the state government and the Kampung Buah Pala issue in Penang were discussed by the secretariat of the PR presidential council at a meeting in Parliament today.

The secretariat has proposed solutions to resolve both problems, and will forward these to the PR presidential council for approval.

Tian Chua (File pic)
The secretariat meeting was attended by two representatives from each PR component party – PKR’s strategic affairs chief Tian Chua and elections director Saifuddin Nasution, DAP’s information chief Tony Pua and national Youth chief Anthony Loke, and PAS’s vice-president Salahuddin Ayub and research head Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Salahuddin said the proposed solutions would be discussed by the PR presidential council at a meeting likely to be held this weekend.

“We want them to discuss it before the Manik Urai by-election. The decision of the meeting will then be conveyed to the Penang and Kedah governments,” he told reporters after the secretariat meeting.

Chua said the problems in PR states were “small” and could be resolved.

“Mostly, there are perception problems which we need to clarify, that it’s not true that just because of a problem in Kedah, the whole of PR nationwide is at the edge of collapse,” he said.

PKR’s Saifuddin also said the current problems were “part of Pakatan’s maturing process”.

“We are still united on the fundamental things such as the rule of law in this country. This is just one episode in the last 15 months of Pakatan working tougher,” he said.

DAP should leave

Barisan Nasional, meanwhile, has waded into the controversy by calling on DAP to leave the PR alliance.

Gerakan’s Youth chief in Kedah, Tan Keng Liang, said the lone DAP assemblyperson’s withdrawal from the alliance would have little impact on the state government.

He also suggested for PKR to withdraw from the state government, and called for a “BN-PKR-DAP” unity government in the state.

“A unity government in Kedah can protect the rights of all Malaysians in Kedah. After more than a year, Kedah has seen extremist policies by the PAS state government which have not benefitted the people but have dampened economic growth in Kedah,” Tan said in a statement.

MCA information and communication bureau chairperson Lee Wei Kiat said not only Kedah DAP, but the national DAP should withdraw from PR.

He said PAS had misled everyone with their election slogan “PAS for all”.

“It was only a ploy to canvass for votes. I urge Chinese [Malaysians] all over the country to protest together with the Chinese in Kedah,” Lee said in a press statement.

“Kedah DAP’s withdrawal is just a political gimmick…it will not produce constructive solutions. If DAP really wants to oppose the action taken by PAS, the whole party should withdraw from PR, including Penang and Selangor DAP,” he said.

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12 Responses to “Guan Eng: Kedah situation “desperate””

  1. ron says:

    DAP, please make sure that this is not a drama and you end up begging to return to Pakatan Rakyat in Kedah.

  2. chrisyong says:

    Hi, sort the issues out, it is normal to have issues. Through this, everyone will grow into maturity. As long as the good is in the light, it will destroy the evil in the dark. I pray for God’s mighty power to unite people and uphold justice! May people of all races or religion in PKR be blessed with harmonious relationship and be united to destroy the evil ones!

  3. Salak says:

    I believe that the 50% bumiputera ownership of the land legally constituted as Malay Reserve Land is legitimate and non-negotiable as you need to repeal the law to do otherwise. Ok, so half is a concession.

    Well, then PR must get into the federal government and get in there soon!

    That leaves us with the issue of the DAP pullout. How does this help in capturing the federal government if you’re not big enough for the job? Well, at least show some indications of learning how to be!

  4. jeremy says:

    PKR should take the advise of Tan and just leave PAS. I don’t understand why PKR is still with PAS….is it just because they are hungry for power??

  5. Andrew I says:

    Don’t worry, Anwar. More and more of us are taking what the big media says with a truckload of salt.

  6. Luke says:

    Umno wants to have unity government with PAS, quoting “Malay unity”. Then Gerakan wants a BN-PKR-DAP government, saying PAS is extremist. Make up your mind BN, which one do you want? 😉

  7. tebing tinggi says:

    DAP pulls out of Kedah goverment over illegal pig abattoir. It looks like all the illegal activities now can go to DAP for support.

    MCA information chief calling all Chinese “Malaysian” to protest together with Kedah Chinese over the issue. What [is] wrong with our legislators?

  8. kuntakintae says:

    The key word is “illegal”. If it’s illegal, why is it there? What’s wrong [with] tearing it down? If you preach about law and order, then live by it; enforce it. Be it Chinese, Malay [or] Indian [Malaysians] or little green aliens, the law is the law and illegal is illegal! Problems always crop up when you are inconsistent.

  9. james says:

    DAP and PKR have almost the same common idealogy with BN i.e. Malaysian. But PAS is solely for Malay Muslims. So, better to follow Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang’s idea for BN-PKR-DAP. Any other combination is bad for Malaysia.

  10. Kamal says:

    In the commotion about PAS-DAP in Kedah, no one has mentioned whether the abbatoir had a licence to operate or about the alternative options given by the government (if there were any)?

    All I hear is DAP saying it was not respected, and MCA calling for all Chinese to protest together. This sounds suspiciously like Umno overtures to PAS to form a unity government. What unity and what coming together do these politicians mean? Anyway, MCA and Umno are part of a coalition – BN, a front whose policies and actions over the last several decades are at the heart of the current debates.

    Let’s be honest and try to see things beyond the immediate ethnic discolouration.

    As for PAS 50% housing quota for bumiputera – everyone regardless of race should come out and protest because it may very well end up hurting the industry. What happens if the actual purchasing power of bumiputera in Kedah covers 20%, what happens to the balance available lots? Also does this mean that non-bumiputera will have to compete with foreigners in the remaining 50% – after all foreigners can buy property in Malaysia? Or can foreigners buy into bumiputera lots as well? What will this policy lead to – expensive segments within housing estates and in other segments (assuming that it is treated as bumiputera reserves) probably lower-priced lots and maybe not fully occupied – assuming there are different market demands because of the percentage allotted and the scope for participation in the bifurcated market – ie. [bumiputera]+[non-bumiputera and foreign buyers]? And how will developers react knowing that they might not sell a larger part of their housing projects? Who will dare venture into housing development with such large restrictions? Will the government than guarantee purchase to ensure demand for developers?

    My point is lets not colour everything as racial, the problem obviously is not race. And why do we want to promote a notion of duality in Malaysia? I stand corrected, but I do not believe that our constitution assigned her citizens to first and second class status.

    As far as I know, there is only one type of Malaysian and that is MALAYSIAN.

    There is an opportunity to work towards common interests, so let’s see PR do that.

  11. george says:

    I prefer the idea by the Kedah Gerakan Youth chief over MCA’s Lee’s idea as this issue is about Kedah – why should the whole DAP withdraw at the national level?

  12. Serious Shepherd says:

    The Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang’s idea for BN-PKR-DAP [unity goverenment] is one good idea, but the event [that triggered the fallout between PAS and DAP in Kedah] was not the demolition of a tokong but a pig abattoir. Perhaps Tan Keng Liang should ask first whether the Umno Aduns are interested to form a kerajaan babi.

    And about the housing quota, perhaps we should all read the predicament faced by the Singaporeans in letters sent to Malaysiakini where even a Chinese [Singaporean] living there for decades has to live in a one-room apartment, whereas expats are living in luxurious condos. Also, the housing quota is on Malay Reserve Land, and the Kedah government was generous enough to give 50% to the non-Malay [Malaysians].

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