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Friday February 22, 2008

Two in running for CM’s post in Penang


KUALA LUMPUR: The contenders for the Penang Chief Minister’s post have now been reduced to two – Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan and Datuk Lee Kah Choon.

This follows Gerakan’s decision to field Lee in the Machang Bubok state seat and retain Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye for the Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat.

Dr Teng will defend his Pulau Tikus seat.

Dr Teng, Lee and Chia were earlier seen as possible candidates to succeed Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who will be contesting the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat.

Dr Koh, who is Gerakan acting president, announced the party’s candidates list at its headquarters here yesterday.

Asked whether Lee stood a better chance of taking over as Penang Chief Minister, as widely speculated, Dr Koh said:

“Let these people go through the elections first.”

He said only 25 out of 35 incumbents had been retained in three parliamentary and 22 state constituencies.

Of the 10 not retained, three are incumbent MPs – Ng Lip Yong (Batu), who is also Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister, former party deputy president Kerk Choo Ting (Simpang Renggam) and Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong (Segambut).

Dr Koh said they were dropped because it was time for younger leaders to take over while the three incumbent MPs who were retained still had a lot of potential to serve their constituents.

He said the party would put up fresh faces for five parliamentary seats and six state seats. Among those making their debut are Keng Yaik’s son Si Pin and Kulai Gerakan Youth chief Liang Teck Meng.

Of those moved, Ma Woei Chyi, who lost the Kepong parliamentary seat to DAP’s Dr Tan Seng Giaw in 2004, is now being fielded in Segambut.

In Perak, Datuk Chang Ko Youn will contest the Beruas parliamentary seat vacated by former party president Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik.

Asked why there were no non-Chinese candidates on the list, Dr Koh said:

“We have done our best to look for non-Chinese candidates. When there were suitable candidates, there were no seats and when there were seats, there were no capable personalities.”

“It is a situation of mismatch. This is not the first time. In the 2004 general election, there were no Indian candidates.”

He hoped Indian voters who were supportive of the party’s work would understand and continue to promote leaders of all communities.

Three women candidates have been fielded – assemblymen Ng Siew Lai (Bukit Tengah), Yong Dai Ying (Bukit Lanjan) and Ngo Kim Hua (Bachang).

Dr Koh said the major concerns for voters in the hot seats, particularly in Penang, would be the rising prices of goods, crime and security and inter-ethnic harmony.

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