Thursday, November 17, 2011

‘Umno forced Koh to bow out’

As party president and minister, he should be given another chance to contest polls, says Lim

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon’s decision not to contest the next general election (GE) was forced upon him by Barisan National and Umno.

This is the opinion of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who said he sympathises with Dr Koh because the latter was “forced out”.

“I feel this is not his wish. It is an orchestrated campaign to remove him. BN and Umno have succeeded,” he told a Press conference at Parliament lobby yesterday.

Lim, said Umno campaigned against Dr Koh through Utusan Malaysia.

“Because they don’t want him, they carried out a campaign over the last few months to push him out. They have succeeded in forcing him to say he won’t contest the next GE.

“Look at the last four years, he was Gerakan president, he was a minister. Surely he wants to contest. If he doesn’t want to contest, then why does he remain as minister and president?” asked the Bagan MP.

Lim said he empathised with Koh because he received the same “treatment” from Umno before, through allegations in Utusan Malaysia.

Lim opined Dr Koh should have been given another chance to contest the upcoming polls as winning and losing election battles are a normal thing.

“There must always be a winner and loser. You have no choice. There is no third option. But since he was president and minister, he should be given another chance.

“Look, Lim Kit Siang lost before, Karpal Singh lost before. But they came back. Why is he not even given the chance to come back and try for one more time?

“Every election is tough. We respect every opponent, whether it’s Koh Tsu Koon or not,” he said.

Yesterday, Dr Koh, in making the announcement he would not contest the next GE, said he will, however, retain the posts of party president, Penang BN chairman and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, adding he will decide whether to give up the party presidency after the GE.

Dr Koh had also said the decision to retain him in his ministerial post rested with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Dr Koh, who had said the decision was a personal one, also said it was the first step towards driving transformation and renewal in the party.

Lim succeeded Dr Koh as chief minister after defeating the latter in the 2008 GE.