On March 8, 2008, Penangites voted in a DAP-led coalition of parties as the new Penang government, replacing the Gerakan-led Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
Anti-establishment sentiments aside, there were other reasons too to motivate Penangites to effect a change at state level.
Many Penangites perceived BN, especially the federal government then, as “arrogant, corrupted, incompetent and was overstaying its welcome”.
The Hindraf factor motivated the Indians while the Chinese trade associations (CTA) beguiled the community against BN.
Malays were split by Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim and PAS, mainly through propaganda of half-truths and half-lies.
In the surge for a change, Penangites got rid of Koh Tsu Koon-helmed state government and replace it with Lim Guan Eng-controlled administration.
In just a stroke of marking the ballot papers, Penangites replaced an experienced and well-oiled Gerakan-led government with an inexperienced and ill-prepared DAP-dominated administration.
That paved way for the augmentation of now infamous Lim Dynasty – an acronym coined by critics to describe the dominance of Lim Kit Siang and his son Guan Eng in DAP.
Coup de CM
For a start, one has to recall on how the appointment, if one wants to call it appointment, of the new chief minister took place.
According to then party national vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz, after the unexpected electoral reverses suffered by BN in Penang, the victorious DAP assemblymen were all caged in a city hotel in George Town.
A meeting ensued and in the meeting, a question popped on “who’s going to be the chief minister.”
Tunku Aziz recalled that the party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng instantly sprung and replied: “I should be the chief minister because I am the secretary-general.”
It was a real coup brand Lim Dynasty.
Well if everyone remembers, it was Penang PKR chairman Zahrain Md Hashim, not the late DAP national chairman Karpal Singh, a Penangite as well, who announced Guan Eng as the chief minister,
Zahrain unofficially declared Guan Eng as the chief minister at the post-election press conference on the triumphant night of March 8, 2008.
“We in PKR are willing to work with Lim Guan Eng as the new Penang chief minister,” Zahrain declared.
Apparently Zahrain’s unofficial announcement was directed by PKR de facto leader Anwar, said a reliable party source.
Penang chief minister-ship, which conventionally should have been filled by the state DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow, was hijacked in a bloodless and dishonest coup.
Daddy Anak Party
The new chief minister was a Johor-born nomadic politician who had just officially arrived at Penang shores via Malacca and a prison stay, a few months before the general election.
A stranger has taken over the Penang government largely because of two reasons – he was a Chinese and son of DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.
The appointment of an outsider, Guan Eng as Penang chief minister confirmed widespread belief then and now that DAP was indeed a “Daddy Anak Party”.
If you have a politically dominant father, the party does not need to nominate names for the chief minister chair at the state committee level, nor needed to be endorsed at national leadership level.
Even the national chairman, in this case Karpal Singh, does not need to be informed about it.
It only involved the father and son and, a de facto leader of another party and his subordinate at state level.
No one else has a say in it … talking about democracy.
This coup de CM took place in a political entity that had over the years paraded itself as a democratic, competent, accountable and transparent party.
This party has always boasted to be a “whiter than white” political movement – that’s why its leaders always in white.
After taking over, the new Chief Minister Guan Eng was questioned by journalists over his inexperience to lead a government.
He famously replied: “I also have no experience in corruption.”
But, some eight years later, Guan Eng is now a graft accused vis-à-vis the bungalow-gate scandal.
What an irony of all ironies.
Someone who claimed to be an anti-graft crusader is now a graft accused.
Guan Eng was accused of buying a bungalow in Jalan Pinhorn, George Town below market value.
It’s really amazing that the chief minister, who hailed from southern Peninsula, could allegedly buy a low-cost bungalow in a costly George Town City while people of Penang suffer without having low-cost houses to buy and stay in place of their birth.
Guan Eng is the first man to be charged for corruption as a sitting chief minister of Penang.
That piece of history would surely make Penangites proud for years to come.
Obviously Guan Eng has gained a lot of experience in running a state government.
As someone suggested that to test the competency, accountability and transparency (CAT) of a party or leader, give them the power.
Obviously DAP Chinese love such leader simply because of his ethnicity.
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