I indulged in a bit of Koh-bashing when I blogged on Koh Tsu Koon should go (1) and Koh Tsu Koon should go (2)
Readers ali allah ditta and ganchan thought that I have been too harsh on Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon, as they felt that Koh faced difficulties in marshalling UMNO and the MCA behind his chief ministerial responsibilities.
We know that MCA in Penang has never quite forgotten that it was ousted by the Gerakan in 1969, in the most interesting general election ever. For a couple of days before the May 13 tragedy struck, the imagination of the Malaysian people stretched beyond their usual ‘play safe’ parameters when they went for broke by voting massively for the opposition parties. No, it was more than ‘ousted’ for the MCA in Penang. Dr Lim Chong Eu 'decimated' Wong Pow Nee’s Perikatan government.
Ever since the Gerakan joined the Barisan National, MCA has been quietly working against its old enemy, wanting to re-establish itself as the premier party in Penang and to wrest back the Chief Minister’s position. We saw the PORR rebellion by 2 MCA MLAs as a form of sabotaging Gerakan. But UMNO don’t want a strong Chinese-based party, so it worked on the old British formula of ‘divide and rule’, very successfully until it has domesticated Koh Tsu Koon.
This has been the background against which Koh Tsu Koon has reigned (under UMNO’s blessings of course). And you may then ask why Penangites are so unsympathetic in wanting to bash Koh!
That’s because Koh chooses to be their Chief Minister. One cannot push oneself to be a State's leader and claim immunity from public criticisms because the politics are difficult or that his hands have been tied behind his back by UMNO or he's been sabotaged by a treacherous MCA.
Tough! He needs to wheel and deal to get on top. Sure, everyne knows UMNO is pressing the button but don’t forget – Koh makes himself a willing captive. If so, then he needs to get the best out of the worst, but not to merely capitulate in order to just keep his premiership.