Blood is thicker than politics

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 01 Apr 2004


KUALA LUMPUR: It was their first meeting after the general election for the Teng brothers – elected representatives from opposing sides – and the meeting point was an unusual one. 

Selangor DAP assemblyman Teng Chang Khim and Penang Gerakan assemblyman Teng Chang Yeow were in Batu Pahat last weekend for Qing Ming.  

They were at the Guang Tong cemetery in Jalan Kluang to pay respects to their grandparents, an aunt and their grandfather's friend. 

Chang Khim said this had been a family tradition for 20 years.  

Chang Yeow (second from left) and Chang Khim (fourth from left) posing for photographs at the Guang Tong cemetery in Batu Pahat, Johor with other member of the family.

With them were their 66-year-old father, Teng Boon Ngap, a card-carrying MCA member in Johor, the bastion of the Barisan Nasional and their uncle, Tebrau MCA MP Teng Boon Soon. 

Despite different political ideologies, politics has never stopped them from being close.  

“We are very close even though we only meet during special occasions like Qing Ming and Chinese New Year. We often talk over the phone about family matters,” Chang Khim said. 

Chang Khim is the Sungai Pinang DAP assemblyman while Chang Yeow, the younger brother, is Padang Kota assemblyman. He is also a Penang state executive councillor. 

Chang Khim said he and his brother were very clear of their roles as politicians and as siblings, and when they met they would only talk in general about politics, education and other national issues. 

Chang Yeow said they respected each other's stand but would avoid any discussion about their parties.  

“We do not want to bring politics home because we think that is sensitive,” he said. But he admitted he was happy of his brother's victory because “he worked hard”.  

Asked how he felt when his brother won in the general election, Chang Khim said: “It was a mixed feeling. I'm happy for my brother because it is proof of his capability and personal integrity but, at the same time, I'm sad for my counterpart Chow Kon Yeow.”  

Chang Khim said although he was in the opposition, his father was proud of his and his brother's achievements.  

However, he said, his father who was active in politics during 1970s and 1980s had never influenced him or his political ideology directly. 

“In fact, it was his active participation and the way he enjoyed his involvement in politics that got me interested,” he said. His mother has always supported them. However, she has never revealed her political choice. 

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