Gerakan not prepared to ‘marry’ PPP

PENANG: Gerakan is not prepared to “marry” the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) because both parties have yet to “court” one another. 

Calling on PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas to stop open discussion on the proposed merger, Gerakan deputy president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said it was not proper to propose without “knowing one another” first. 

“Gerakan has not decided on anything as the matter was never brought up officially to the central committee,” he told a press conference yesterday. 

He said many Gerakan members felt that Kayveas had shown disrespect to Gerakan president Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik when he said the proposed merger would be discussed after Dr Lim stepped down next year. 

“It is like putting a condition to marry a girl after her father is no longer around,” he said, adding that such a condition was not acceptable as the majority of Gerakan members respected Dr Lim who had served as party president for 25 years. 

“Some PPP leaders told me that Kayveas had good intentions but he had started on a wrong foot- ing,” said Dr Koh, adding that there was also no official proposal for a merger of the two parties. 

He stressed that Gerakan was not closing its door on the proposal but it was better not to discuss the issue openly at this juncture.  

Kayveas made the proposal in his speech at the Penang PPP convention last month. 

He had said that discussions on the merger could start in April after Dr Koh took over the leadership from Dr Lim. 

On another matter, Dr Koh, who is Penang Chief Minister, said the state government had decided that all controversial matters involving places of worship of non-Muslims be referred to the Municipal Build-ing Committee. 

“The president can also discuss the matter with representatives of other relevant committees. 

“They will play the role of gathering information and checking the history and background of the cases. The matter will be looked into from all angles and aspects before decisions are made,” he said. 

Dr Koh said if a solution could not be reached, the matter should be brought to the attention of the Non-Muslim Houses of Worship Coordinating Committee chaired by the state executive councillor in charge of the local government. 

He said this in response to a recent incident where the Tau Boo Kong temple in Bukit Mertajam, built without approval, was partly demolished by the Seberang Prai Municipal Council. 

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