GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s chief of staff Jeff Ooi has become the first DAP leader to openly throw his support behind Tanjong MP Chow Kon Yeow to continue leading the Penang DAP.
Ooi, who is national central committee member, said Chow is the best person to lead Penang DAP as he has the right leadership qualities, especially since the state party election could be the last one before the next general election.
“I hope Chow will be voted in by ordinary delegates and appointed chairperson when the 15 winners meet to deliberate on who would lead Penang,” Ooi said in an interview.
A record number of 88 candidates including 16 out of the party’s 20 state assemblymen in Penang are vying for 15 positions in the state committee lineup.
The state party election will be held on Sunday at Komtar. Chow is the present chairman while his de-puty is veteran Lim Hock Seng. The two vice-chairmen are DAP chairman Karpal Singh’s son Jagdeep Singh Deo and Lim Hui Ying, the sister of Guan Eng.
Party secretary-general Guan Eng, party strategist Liew Chin Tong, Jeff Ooi, state executive councillor Lydia Ong Kok Fooi and Jawi assemblymen Tan Beng Huat have opted not to contest despite being nominated.
Ooi, who is Jelutong MP, said Chow was experienced, had the right temperament and a calm disposition to handle the pressure as Penang DAP chairman.
The Penang DAP election may not be as heated as the ones in Selangor and Perak but nonetheless, it has raised eyebrows given the record number of contestants.
It is understood that some are contesting because they feel a party post may make them more eligible as candidates for the next general election or for coveted positions in the state government.
Since DAP became the dominant party in governing Penang in 2008, the party has recorded a huge growth of branches from 44 to around 80, hence the big number of contestants, higher than in the Perak and Selangor elections.