Wednesday, 19 March 2008

General Elections: Observations 11

Another sharing. I saw this article by Stephen Tan in MySinChew on 17 Mar 2008. It's darn interesting as it gaves some historical background to politics in Penang from the days the Gerakan snatched power from the Malaysian Chinese Association in 1969. Tan is a former journalist who now practises law in Penang:

Gerakan Floored On Last Question

The Opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) is now enjoying the electoral euphoria that the Gerakan experienced on May 10, 1969, but the latter was summarily consigned to political oblivion after a period of slightly less than 39 years.

A succinct difference between the respective Gerakan and DAP victories of 1969 and 2008 may be this: The Gerakan won on a positive vote while the DAP won on a negative vote. To elaborate, the vote for the Gerakan was a vote for the then Dr (now Tun) Lim Chong Eu to be the next Chief Minister. The vote for the DAP was a vote against Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon for what he himself termed as his "intangible" successes.

The 2008 decision was never a vote for the colourful Lim Guan Eng as the successor to the colourless Tsu Koon. Lim, an accountant trained in Australia's prestigious Monash University, showed his formidable character when he gamely took the fall, was imprisoned for 18 months on a legal technicality for championing the cause of a Malay girl who was allegedly raped by a senior politician in Malacca, and was consequently denied electoral participation for the next five years according to Malaysian law after being declared guilty.


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