Local - Malaysia
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Stay out of GE13, Koh told
Gerakan's Wanita chief Tan Lian Hoe says the president is being perceived as a liability and may jeopardise party's chances of winning in the coming general election.
KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan Wanita chief Tan Lian Hoe urged Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon to back off from being a candidate in the upcoming 13th general election.
“If there is a need to step down, just step down,” Tan said at the 24th Gerakan national delegates conference (NDC) at the party headquarters here today.
Later at a press conference, she said that the message in her opening speech to the Wanita wing was meant for Koh and clarified that she was not asking him to step down as president.
“I’m requesting the party to decide on that. I’m not pressuring him to step down immediately.”
She explained that Koh may be a liability to the party in the general election as he is being perceived to be a weak leader.
“Once a candidate is named, the people may use (Koh’s) weak leadership as an issue.
Tan, who is also Grik MP and deputy domestic trade cooperative and consumerism minister, said Koh has a choice.
“We want him to be brave (to back off from the election) or leave the party,” she said.
When asked whether party members would rebel against Koh if he chose to stand in the national polls, she said: “I don’t like to topple people. Let the delegates decide.”
Gerakan deputy president Chang Ko Youn, who was also present, in an immediate reaction, played down Tan’s call for Koh to lay off the election.
“Party members have the right to air their views. This will not affect the party’s image,” Chang said.
Meanwhile, Koh, in response to the call for him to step down, was guarded in his comments at a separate press conference.
“I won’t openly criticise. I’m not surprised though. She (Tan) would know the challenges and decisions we have made if she had attended party meetings frequently.”
On calls for him to make firm and decisive decisions, Koh said: “I will make many tough decisions after the NDC. Some will be this year, others will be closer to the election.”
He said that the decisions would revolve around his candidacy in the general election, his position in the party and the party’s future.
“I intend to lead the party through the next general election together with my team. Whether and why I contest, I will let you know later.”
Koh also denied that Tan would be dropped as a candidate following her calls for him to step down.
“If she or he is not winnable and has the wrong attitude, the candidate would be dropped even if the person is my supporter.”
Questions over Tan’s parliamentary seat is in question because the Gerik constituency would be returned to Umno in the 13th general election and Gerakan would return to contest in Taiping, Perak.
Koh explained that in 2004, he retained Lim Boo Chang and Lim Chien Aun as candidates even though the duo had backed Goh Cheng Teik for the Gerakan state chief position in 1999.
The decision was taken despite pressure from Koh’s loyallists to drop them.
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