Tuesday, June 22, 2010

'No hope under Koh'. Koh no hope! Gerakan hopeless!

'No hope under Koh'

Koh Tsu Koon

Tan Kok Ping
KUALA LUMPUR (June 21, 2010):
A former Penang Gerakan leader today lambasted state Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, saying that it will be impossible for the ruling coalition to win back the state if early state elections are called.
Former Penang Gerakan vice chairman Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping told theSun today that it will be "impossible" for BN to regain control of the state, presently run by the opposition, if it continues to rely on the leadership of Koh.
"He (Koh) was the chief minister of Penang for 18 years but while in power, what has he done? He has not delivered his promises to the people in Penang and is an indecisive leader," said Tan.
He said Gerakan has lost its relevance in the state it once controlled for over 39 years after the whirlwind 2008 general election which saw the party losing all the state and parliamentary seats in Penang.
Tan, who is the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce president, said the only way for the ruling coalition to regain control of Penang will be through other BN component parties. He said the Pakatan Rakyat government is doing a good job in running the state and added that it will be difficult for Gerakan to penetrate back into Penang.
"The only reason why Gerakan is still surviving is because it is under the umbrella of BN. Should Gerakan leave BN and stand as an independent party, it will not survive. In fact, any Gerakan candidates who stand for election will have their deposit forfeited."
Tan was commenting on a recent article on online news portal Free Malaysia Today where PAS central committee member Datuk Husam Musa said the four Pakatan Rakyat states should band together and fix a date for early state elections.
Husam said such a move would ensure that all decisions related to the next general elections are discussed within Pakatan.
He added that the federal government will be forced to decide to negotiate with Pakatan or hold parliamentary national polls if the election dates for the four Pakatan states are fixed early.
Husam was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s statement that the date of the next general elections will be a surprise.
Najib had sought to quash speculation that the general election could be called ahead of time, saying he would not decide so merely based on opinions that he enjoyed popularity of an increasing number of Malaysians.
Recently, the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research released its survey which indicated that Najib’s approval rating had risen to about 72% from the 69% recorded in April.
Tan, who left Gerakan in 2000, said the party had lost all its good leaders due to Koh’s leadership. He said the present members lack the experience and direction to lead the party compared to its glory days under the tenure of former leaders like Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu and Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik.
Asked to comment on Gerakan’s stand on sports betting, Tan said Koh failed to see the advantages of legalising sports betting.
Last Saturday, Koh said Gerakan is against gambling and betting as it was concerned with the increasing number of gambling activities in society which was affecting students.
"It is right for the government to put on hold the legalisation of sports betting as this might add more avenues for people to gamble. We have to look at what is happening in a society overtaken by gambling and betting, especially in creating family problems," Koh was quoted saying.
Tan, however, said the continuation of illegal sports betting will only lead to more social problems and destroy families.
"People do not realise that those who bet through illegal bookies can land into bigger problems that will jeopardise their families.
"Illegal bookies give credit facilities to those who bet and when the person is unable to repay it, these bookies in turn will introduce them to loan sharks.
"We all know that loan sharks charge very high interest, causing the person to go into bigger debt that can lead them to bankruptcies and the future of their families will be spoiled," said Tan.
He also said that Malaysia is taking heed of international trends on the matter of sports betting.
"For an example, Singapore which is known for its opposition to grant casino licences has discovered after 45 years of self-rule that if regulated appropriately, the gambling industry can potentially contribute greatly to the city state’s economy.
"As a result, Singapore has legalised sports gambling long ago, with its government receiving astonishing RM870 million in annual taxation revenue from sports betting alone," said Tan, adding that many Malaysians head to the neighbouring country to bet as it is legalised there.
He said legalising sports betting is the right way to deter illegal gambling, minimising loss of taxation revenue for the government and controlling the gambling industry.
Tan said while other BN component parties such as MCA, MIC and PPP have backed the government in legalising sports betting, Koh’s contradictory remark was "a political agenda".
"He is trying to gain the support of the Malays because he has lost the support of the Chinese and other races. It’s his political agenda." --theSun

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