When I was away from last Thursday till late today, a shocker was delivered to Gerakan. CM Lim Guan Eng has appointed ex-Gerakan Deputy Secretary-General Lee Kah Choon as a director in PDC and the Executive Committee Chairman of InvestPenang. Both are supposed to be non-political state agencies in-charge of socio-economic development and investment promotion in Penang.
Lee's rationale for accepting the posts is he is serving the people and their mandate in a new role, albeit a non-political one and announced his retirement from active politics. If serving the people is the main objective of politicians, then I do not see anything wrong with him accepting the appointments.
Hence, to criticize Lee blindly and out of party loyalty is not totally unexpected. But there is a stark reality in party politics. Power defines politics. For a long time, partisan politics is about power and authority. Service is only a side-effect of having won power. Lee should be given a chance to turn the notion around - power is secondary to service.
I have heard of some senior BN/Gerakan politicians warned their party leaders and members not to help the state government. Some of their remarks smacked of ill intention and were truly detrimental to the shared interests of the society and state. They have asked all members and leaders not to help out the new state government so that their governance will fail and this failure will help to propel BN/Gerakan back to power. At what cost? At the expense of 4-5 years of sabotage, hardship and decline?
Initially, I refused to believe what I heard but their reactions against Lee's appointments are testimony of their ill intention. Yet, many called him selfish. Selfish because he has chosen to serve the people and ditch the political masters.
Political parties and politicians come and go but the responsibity and loyalty to the state stays. No one should ignore the request to help their birthplace unless some are only lusting power and position. Yet, screwed up big time when given the mandate to serve for more than 18 years.
Lee was attacked by his former boss, Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who criticized Lee's lack of experience. He said:
"Lee has no direct experience in promoting investment in the industrial sector. So far, he has experience as a lawyer and a parliamentary secretary of the Health Ministry, which is unrelated to the manufacturing industry," said Koh. He said that under his administration the two investment agencies were helmed by people with vast experience and extensive international connections.
Dr Koh was even more raw when he was made the Chief Minister or CEO of Penang at the age of 41 years old. In terms of experience, he was only a one term MP and a political secretary to Dr Lim Chong Eu. But the people were willing to give him a chance. Looking at his own career, he should not be too early to judge his ex-colleague.
Lee had performed well as the Health Ministry parliamentary secretary. If Koh did consider Lee as a CM designate, what makes him think that Lee is not capable to perform effectively in his current roles? Koh should not smack his own lips.
The people of Penang want an economically vibrant Penang and if Lee can help to deliver results, I am sure his role and contribution will be greatly appreciated.
Lim Guan Eng is slowly being surrounded by good people too. Dr Woo Wing Thye is another example.
Gerakan should see this coming its way, afterall old guards who were largely responsible for the party's downfall are still hugging tightly to their position. What else can they expect Lee to do? Continue to help them keep their seat?