Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Koh Tsu Koon should go (1)

Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon has turned out to be truly disappointing. As Chief Minister of Penang his performance has been abysmal, and lacks the common touch, fearlessness and initiative of his predecessor, Dr Lim Chong Eu. Is it fair to compare him to Dr Lim?

Now, Dr Lim himself was not perfect as a Chief Minister, which was quite natural because no one expects a politician, especially a Chief Minister, to be ever perfect. But certainly Penangites expect their Chief Minister to be, in the general case, his own man, and to love Penang and serve as best as he could its people. Dr Lim was that, but Koh … alas …

Today Koh is a particularly unpopular bloke for a variety of reasons, but let’s take 3 of the most damning (to him). In this posting I will blog on one, with the other two to follow in subsequent postings.

Koh TK has failed the school children, their parents, and teachers of SRJK Sin Chung in Permatang Sintok, Butterworth. He has allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent that those poor children had to suffer the trauma and indignity of being evicted from school. Then they experienced part of their school being demolished, until a court order stopped the developer Motif Era Sdn Bhd from completely knocking down the entire institute of learning.

SOS (Save Ourselves), a Penang-based NGO, has condemned Koh for evading his responsibility in preventing such an experience and outcome for the students. Koh has had 3 years to bring about a happy set of circumstances that could have avoided the traumatic drama that occurred in the last few days. He could have either transferred the land title to the school or have a replacement school built in time for the students and staff to switch buildings before the developer came bulldozing in. He did neither.

All Koh KT did was his favourite trick, wringing his hands in hypocritical sympathy while trying to act tough against the developer. I have more to say about Koh’s sandiwara (theatrics) in the subsequent postings.

The Prime Minister has now stepped in to urge the school board to build a new school quickly, but that won’t disguise the fact that Koh has abysmally failed the school’s students, staff and parents.

For a start the school board doesn’t have that kind of money that can call upon a construction genie to have a replacement building up in a jiffy. Koh as Chief Minister, and supposedly as one of the Gerakan Party’s articulate Chinese scholars, had 3 years with nothing to show for those poor students, who have found themselves in such a predicament.

The Gerakan Party should look at themselves real good for selecting this man to be its deputy president.


  1. Bashing Koh Tsu Khoon is, no doubt, the favourite pastime of many a Penangite, but like Ali Allah Ditta said, you can't put the blame squarely on him. He doesn't strike me as a very dynamic sort of fellow, but the real problem is that his hands are tied behind his back due to the lack of real political power. Every time he needs to get something done, he has to go begging to MCA and UMNO for the clout. Need less to say they both have their own selfish aims to fulfill and may or may not support him - afterall, this is *politics*. IMHO that BN outward unity/muhibbah thing is a joke in the context of this. Gerakan's power is diluted due to all the pro-umno gerrymandering in the TDM years and undermined further by MCA which may or may not harbour ambitions to wrest Penang back from Gerakan.
    So who is to blame for all this mess? I don't feel like blaming Koh *too* much. I blame the people of Penang for their collective apathy, selfishness and general lack of public spirit. While they lament the "good old days" of Lim Chong Eu, they forget that they were the ones who short-sightedly betrayed him to that tin kosong of a Lim Kit Siang. Some old-timers tell me that LCE was done in by the Old Town street traders who, pissed off by that all the new shopping centres that were affecting their business, turned to LKS to spite LCE.
    Putting that aside, Penangites have been thwarting KTK's own efforts to bring up the island too. KTK wastes time on all the dirty longkangs and uncollected rubbish and all the useless beautification project because Penangites keep making things dirty. Every beautification project is either sabotaged by people in luxury cars carting off all the MPPP's flowers or vandalized/dirtied by the common public. With all this firefighting, no wonder he doesn't have time to think of more important things. Penangites got what they deserved, and have been paying the price ever since.

  2. ganchan,
    agree with all your perceptive points, but ask yourself why Penangites like to bash Koh ;-) and they have a right to do so!

    Because he 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 are tied behind his back. He needs to wheel and deal to get on top. Everyne knows UMNO is pressing the button and it's Koh's job to get the best out of the worst, but not to merely capitulate in order to just keep his seat.

    I also do agree with you that many Penangites are the pits in social behaviour, and man, I am a Penangite, first & last!

    Would that then be our expectation of uncivic minded Chinese in Malaysia? Look at Singapore, and I am not just talking about Singaporeans. Penangites who have lived there (work or study) have come back more civic minded, more conscious of the need not to litter or to damage public properties. How come so? Leadership, example, education, system to facilitate civic mindedness, and ENFORCEMENT!

    That's where Koh has failed in - you are right, Koh lacks dynamism, except when he is jumping to UMNO's requirements.

    ali - too right mate - Koh will be moving to federal level, and we Penangites look forward to that; in fact we encourage him to do so, anything to get him out of Penang.

  3. I certainly agree with the sentiment that things *could* be better under a different leader. I just wonder how much. Lots of people will be happy for Koh when he moves to the Federal level....because Penang will finally be rid of him! :D
    Penang is in dire need of a CM with a bold vision and the strength of character and personality to carry the day. It will have to be someone who will brook no nonsense from the politically senstive segments of illegal hawkers, stubborn taxi drivers, lazy bus companies, and general scumbags who plague Penang. It has to be someone who can tell Semi Value to build the second link and monorail or else. It has to be someone with the political cunning to outmaneuver both the MCA and UMNO. It has to be someone who can shake the notoriously kiamsiap, overly conservative, negative thinking and apathetic populace of Penang from their torpid slumber. Frankly speaking though, I don't think I know of any politician who fits that bill in Penang. Perhaps someone like that only comes once every few generations. In the mean time though we still have to muddle through our lives and make a living.

  4. ganchan, man, you are very observant about Penangites and Penang life - you must be a Penangite too ;-)

    Hey, you have just nominated Mahathir as a CM? ;-)

  5. well yes, I am (partly) Penangite. I was born here. I work here too. However, I spent my childhood and teens in Kedah, so it has given me abit of the outsider's perspective ;)
    I had a feeling you would say that. I guess it is a sad but true fact that Dr M has left a gaping vacuum in the Malaysian psyche. Dr M was that sort of take-charge guy who did all the heavy moving/thinking for Malaysians, and so this has left the Malaysian public with an atrophied mentality. If we were an advanced society, we wouldn't need strong, dominating leaders like him. Just look at Italy. It is a nation with G8 status and yet it changed government so many times. Inspite of such political instability it is still one of the world's advanced economies.

  6. It is easy to say Dr Koh TK is a softy when you are not in his shoe and dealing with a bunch of tough politicians. Come on give the guy a break. He took up the action while you guys just talk and critic, typical of Penangites. When the times are good everyone is quiet, when it is bad find a scrape goat.

  7. I dont think v should blame Koh @ the 1st hand.

    1. Would u be the perfect 1 to do everything if there's alot of malays & u urself hv to against it? But Koh has tried his best to struggle more or less on begging some more from UMNO for this long - for our chinese/penangites. Would u able to do that, if u were him?

    2. This DAP/Keadilan guy only put on fire through Internet by saying this & that & u guys just listen to it without prove. Did u really got to see all the real copies of documents related to the constructions' stuff, etc?

    3. Hey each department has their own leadership & work. Did the school/teacher/anyone prompt for their poor students have a good performance in their studies to him directly since there are alot of people in this world? Can u find all the poor students all? If u were him?

    4. Tanjung bungah resident especially the tsunami's people dont have a good house to live & they now managed to build several new low cost flat for the fishermen & their family.

    5. The jam road @ Komtar from Jelutong highway to Georgetown is now becoming more convenient. Don't u guys agree?

    6. How can u say Koh TK will be a MP since we still have UMNO ppl known as Malay in this country? I suspect u r the Malay who dont want us Chinese be in the position.

    7. Do u heard there are lots of fighting/bombing Penang like in Thailand? Don't u want a peace but rich of investment to our country?

    8. He is being the Gerakan President but he is not the only person who manage the whole organisation. If there's bad service being provided may also be the caused of his team member. Therefore, v shouldnt blame on him only.

    9. If he didn't charge us for reckless driving with saman & hawkers food license, how can this state be peace if there's lot of accidents happened or food poisoning which might caused us die?

    10. U thought u can talk/say anything without thinking properly what is the risk to the country/world? which might caused instability to the world & people. So, dont just simply describe the person's acting. I have no doubt on whoever start this.i think u all know la who (D?P) guy?

    11. U tot new gov no need to get money from us ar? how can they survive if no money earn for this state.. pls la... u still can go to their site & check it out..they also need donations from us la...or later u guys will see the clear pic of their real it is so called politic lol..

    12. U all really bo ho meh? very pai miah meh now? no food meh? no house meh? cant really find a job meh? cant study meh? dont have temple/mosq to pray meh?

    13. All the price gone high not only in Malaysia or Penang but all over the world cos our biz bcome good & not much oil/petrol can obtain d as u know it's natural stuff. How can v blame on this too?

    14. Be rational/positive & observant person. Don't just listen to 1 party but both... U think u still in Kampung or staying on top of the tree using leaves to build ar? Here is Penang, ok!