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Thursday February 14, 2008
By LIM AI LEE
PENANG: The stage is set for a battle royal in Penang.
For Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon who has announced his intention to move to the federal level, a seat swap is on the cards.
A party insider said a proposal has been submitted to the state Gerakan liaison committee for Dr Koh to swap his Tanjung Bungah seat for the Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat held by Gerakan secretary-general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye.
He dismissed speculation that Dr Koh would contest the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat or a seat in Selangor, adding that the acting party president need not move out of his base as Gerakan had won Bukit Bendera by 10,717 votes in the 2004 general election.
It is also learnt that Guan Eng is likely to contest the Paya Terubong state seat, which the MCA won by 1,392 votes in 2004.
A DAP source said the party would not let Guan Eng be sacrificed in an area where he could lose.
Karpal Singh declined to comment on whether he would seek re-election in Bukit Gelugor but would only say that the seat was “not personal to holder”.
In Bukit Gelugor, Guan Eng will face the MCA's Datuk Koay Kar Huah, a state exco member.
Koay, a three-term assemblyman, will not be re-contesting the Seri Delima state seat, paving the way for a new MCA face, businessman Loh Nam Hooi.
Other “rocketmen” planning to launch their political debut in Penang are blogger Jeff Ooi, who is tipped to stand in Jelutong, political scientist Prof Dr P. Ramasamy in Batu Kawan and party strategist Liew Chin Tong in Bukit Bendera – all parliamentary seats.
The state MCA is fielding seven new faces, including three women.
Among those who have received the green light to seek re-election are Lee Hack Teik (Pengkalan Kota), Datuk Lim Gim Soon (Kampung Kolam), Datuk Lau Chiek Tuan (Berapit), Tan Cheng Liang (Jawi) and Ooi Chuan Aik (Bagan Jermal) who are all noted for their good service records.
The new faces include state Wanita chief Ooi Siew Kim, lawyer Sharon Song and municipal councillor Teh Lay Cheng.
State DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the party was eyeing three more parliamentary seats in addition to retaining its four parliamentary seats. It is also targeting six state seats apart from the Sungai Puyu seat which it won in 2004.
Gerakan holds three parliamentary seats and 13 state seats while the MCA won one parliamentary and nine state seats in Penang four years ago.
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