Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jeff Ooi for Jelutong

From Malaysiakini: The Election Commission today announced that the nation’s 12th general election will be held on March 8, a Saturday coinciding with the school holidays.

And DAP pollie Jeff Ooi has been reported by the Star Online as likely to contest in Jelutong.

Now, I am not quite sure about the electoral boundary between Gelugor and Jelutong (of course I know where Gelugor and Jelutong are – sheesh!) but if my guess isn’t far off, I would have preferred Jeff to be contesting in Gelugor (won by Karpal Singh in 2004) as he is more likely to make an impact among the (at the risk of sounding snobbish) better educated (Westernised) voters.

Apart from his DAP label, by itself very powerful among the Penangites insofar as parliamentary seats go (but alas, not for State seats), Jeff Ooi will be depending upon his high profile blogger fame to gain voters’ support. For that, I believe Gelugor would be the better constituency, But I understand party sec-gen Lim Guan Eng is already earmarked for that seat.

Anyway, for Jeff, Jelutong will still be a better seat than Bukit Bendera. Though Bukit Bendera is winnable, the Gerakan is strongly entrenched there, and to win that seat, the DAP will require a 'Lee Lam Thye' type rather than a blogging ace. DAP party strategist Liew Chin Tong is rumoured to contest in BB - alas, I don't know much about him.

I heard Raja Bodek is standing there, exchanging his Tanjung Bungah (State) seat for Chia Kwang Chye's seat. I hope Raja loses real big, but I suppose that's more wishful thinking than realistic, as the hawkers and traders in the BB parliamentary constituency will be quite pro Gerakan. KNN!
But what I found rather intriquing has been the Star photo showing former State Exco Khor Gark Kim chatting with the current crop of DAP pollies for Penang.
I wonder what's going on?

Khor Gark Kim, 2nd from right - Star photo

You see, my uncle told me that Khor at one time was a Gerakan strongman, next in the line of power only to Dr Lim Chong Eu. Khor was a Bukit Bendera local boy made good. A UM graduate who was known as a hard working (Chinese educated) Science teacher, he rose up in the Gerakan in meteorite fashion.

Everyone expected him to succeed Dr Lim, but he was the CM that Penang was not fated to have. Due to internal party politics, he was ousted from Gerakan's upper echelon. There was bad blood between Khor and some current Gerakan pollies. I wonder whether he's advising the DAP on strategy, as a form of extracting some long overdue retribution.


  1. "the hawkers and traders in the BB parliamentary constituency will be quite pro Gerakan" - Unfortunate but true.

    Bukit Bendera (encompassing much of Air Itam) was once a DAP stronghold. Chia Kwang Chye and the Gerakan folks have worked very hard to win over the working-class Chinese who are traditional opposition supporters.

    I know Chia personally - he and my elder brother go back a Long, Long way. He's originally from Kota Tinggi, Johore and still can't quite speak Penang-style Hokkien right. Shows you how successful he's been to win over the hearts of lowly local Penang folks.

    But I don't like what he's become - likely to be UMNO's best Penang CM ever.
    If anyone can Out-bodek Raja Bodek - there's Your Man.

  2. I knew Gark Kim when he was in the penang EXCO. Nice man. But after he was ousted from Gerakan, I vaguely remember that he even joined the Penang branch of the PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah) ... my God. Parti Bersatu Sabah in Penang ....

  3. KT,

    Agreed with kittykat46 that Bukit Bendera was once DAP stronghold. If I can remember, DAP's Peter Dason took it from MCA's Geh Chong Keat in the 1969 general election, but lost it to Albert Mah in 1974. DAP took it back again in 1978 through Dason, but lost it in 1982. DAP's Gooi Hock Seng won it again in 1986 and successfully defended it in 1990. It was then that Teng Hock Nam brought in a lot of phantom voters or rather outstation Malay and Indian voters and padded Bukit Bendera with them such that some Chinese houses in Pulau Tikus area complained that they had received circulars addressed to several Malay and Indians voters in each house to vote during polling day. Teng Hock Nam resorted to this dirty trick after losing his Kebun Bunga seat to DAP's Peter Huang. Kebun Bunga was part of Bukit Bendera.

    By the time Chia Kwang Chye contested Bukit Bendera in 1995, there had been sufficient Malay and Indian phantoms from outstation to defeat incumbent Gooi Hock Seng when their numbers were added to pro-Gerakan/BN Chinese voters.

    Chia Kwang Chye managed to ward off a determined assault on Bukit Bendera from Kit Siang in 1999, I think by getting the EC to transfer in more non-Chinese "phantoms" from outstation. Of course Gerakan also launched a lot of personal and under the belt tactics against Kit Siang in their desperation to kill him off politically, which they did in 1999 when Chia Kwang Chye won by only 104 votes.

    It is true that CKC has nursed the constituency since taking over, but one can't deny that he had used dirty tricks with the connivance of UMNO to defeat Kit Siang, and this is one thing which makes DAP supporters very angry with him.

    It looks like CKC will be swopping his Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat with the Raja Bodek who will trade in his Tanjong Bungah state seat. DAP is likely to put up young Liew Chin Tong from Selangor, and LCT has everything to gain and nothing to lose in the contest. No one expects LCT to win, but if he can take a sizeable chunk of votes in BB against our Raja Bodek, LCT will be the hero...

    Anyway get ready for the next UMNO sponsored Gerakan CM of Penang, Chia Kwang Chye.....