As predicted, it appears that Raja Bodek (RB) has succumbed to relentless pressure from UMNO pressure.
Opposition party DAP has accused RB of forcing Liew Chook San, the CEO of PBA Holdings Bhd (PBAHB) to resign, to make way for what UMNO Penang wanted, a Malay in the person of Jaseni Maidinsa, who also holds the PBAPP acting general manager appointment.
We have been all aware of the barrage of whining, winching, warring and wishing words from UMNO Youth, during the last several months, on how RB’s government hasn’t done enough for the Penang Malays, even though the deputy CM is an UMNO man and Malay Penangites enjoy a higher standard of living than Malays in many other states.
RB rejected the DAP’s allegation, saying Liew’s departure had nothing to do with politics. He tried to explain that Liew resigned from the company because he (Liew) wanted to spend time with his family and to pursue personal interests.
Yeah, and I suppose I am the Mufti of Antarctica.
RB then went to extraordinary length to explain the chain of events leading to Liew’s departure, to show the poor bloke (Liew) wasn’t pressured to go to make way for Jaseni. But with each detail he tried to put forward his explanation became less credible.
The he tried to pass the buck by saying the PBAHB board of directors had appointed Jaseni Maidinsa as the PBAHB acting CEO and PBAPP acting general manager – oh I see, the CM didn’t have a say and RB’s hands are as clean as the giant keris he held for Hishamuddin.
RB said Jaseni’s appointment was based on merit and the assessment of his capability to fulfil the group’s corporate goals and social obligations.
He cried out plaintively: ”In the special meeting held on Dec 20, the board of directors did not discuss and consider the factors of race and politics at all, because this was a corporate decision related to a public listed company’s future performance.”
"It was a unanimous decision."
"Much as I would want Liew to stay, I still respect and accept his decision because I appreciate him as a good CEO."
No one questioned Jaseni’s qualifications or ability. The accusation was that he forced Liew to resign prematurely in order to give the position to a Malay.
RB admitted he was aware that the timing of Liew’s resignation would not be good for him politically. But WTF, as far as RB is concerned, Ah H'nia* always comes first.
* literally 'big brother' or boss or a superior
Switching our attention to Penang’s UMNO Youth, who had been relentlessly harassing RB for more positions, even demanding the CM’s post at one time, they remind me of what one UMNO old timer said of Anwar’s faction (yes, that Anwar in UMNO).
He complained that unlike the traditional UMNO way of sharing the goodies among the various factions, they (the Anwar faction) were very aggressive in ‘taking no prisoners’ when it came to enjoying the spoils – they wanted it all. He reckoned the aggression and arrogance of that faction so alarmed the other UMNO factions that they went about ….. well, the rest is history.
Is there a lesson there for Penang UMNO Youth? Thus far, UMNO has succeeded brilliantly in the old British strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ by splitting the State (Chinese majority) seats between the two BN Chinese parties, namely Gerakan and MCA, so that UMNO would appear to be the BN party with the largest number of State seats, thus in theory meriting the CM’s position.
But the PMs - Tun Razak, Hussein Oon , Mahathir and even AAB - knew/know that push comes to shove for the Chinese, they would band up in one single Chinese party if UMNO aggravation becomes so seriously intolerable that those normally avaricious self-serving Chinese pollies would forego individual party interests. Remember, Gerakan was once an opposition party.
That has been why the PMs had/have allow the CM's post to stay with Gerakan, which is more malleable than the MCA.
Penangites normally won’t vote opposition parties into State seats (Federal, yes!), but I believe if UMNO Youth keeps pushing and pushing to satisfy their insatiable greed, and in that bullying process pisses off the Chinese Penangites to the extreme, the DAP may even achieve the unthinkable, with Lim Kit Siang (or Lim Guan Eng) becoming CM.
The other opposition party PKR may even have a chance to exploit the unhappiness of the Penangites if they collaborate and coordinate with DAP. 2009 is probably the best opportunity for both DAP and PKR in Penang.