PENANG, 2 Oct 2008: For the first time, Gerakan secretary-general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye has disclosed that his relationship with vice-president Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nam and acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon might “have lost its shine or rusted”.
While the inner party circle has dubbed the trio as the ‘Iron Triangle’, Chia doubts that the cordial relationship which they currently enjoyed could be maintained due to “external interference”.
“You cannot deny there is a contest (between him and Dr Teng for the Penang state chairman post). Whether they will bend or break the so-called triangle, I think it remains to be seen, and a subject to a lot of interpretation.
“Any relationship has to be genuine. If you have got that principle, you will not go wrong because you will not allow external interference to influence you.
“Our society is not closed. There are external forces — what we call core of supporters. You cannot deny if there is any contest, there are members on the ground who behave differently from the leaders at the top,” he told Bernama in an interview.
Chia said the maturity level was different for different people and if they allowed the personal interest and hidden agenda to come into play, it would not be easy for the relationship to be maintained.
Chia said if the leaders subjected themselves to external interference; it would get the members on the ground confused because as leaders, there was a need for them to send the right message to the grassroots.
Asked why he has been lying low after the Penang Gerakan election on 21 Sept, where he lost in his bid to be elected as new state chairman to Dr Teng, Chia said it was only natural for him to lie low.
“My other principle is that all the delegates decided on who should be the state chairman. Let the new person have a free hand to carry out the task,” he said.
Asked about his relationship with Dr Teng after the state election, Chia refused to give any direct answer.
On the coming national delegates’ conference (NDC), Chia said the party elections were likely to overshadow all other matters, while at the same time, he did not rule out that the future of the party in the Barisan Nasional (BN) would be discussed by the delegates.
“This subject is mostly discussed in our dialogue. However, for the matter to be discussed at NDC, there has to be an official resolution or debate. I have not received any notice of this,” he noted.
However, Chia said this did not mean the delegates would not raise the issue.
Any issue related to the party position in the BN should be discussed at the Extraordinary National Delegates Conference (ENDC).
“I foresee that the delegates would continue to raise the topic at the NDC although there are no formal discussions planned. It can be raised in the form of a debate or outside the debate,” he added.
Chia, however, cautioned party members from making any extreme decision as they should not forget the party’s ideals.
“We never allowed pragmatism to justify not sticking to our ideals. I know it is a difficult balance.
“Looking at the situation in the country and the party, we need to exercise our political objective — that is, only things that are permanent. Leaders come and go. We need to go back to basics,” he said.
Therefore, he said, Gerakan must always have the interest of people in its heart as that is the only way the party can gain its support from the people. — Bernama