PENANG: Gerakan is not prepared to “marry” the People's Progressive Party (PPP) because both parties have yet to “court” each other.
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 each other” first.
“Gerakan has not decided on anything as the matter was never brought up officially to the central committee,” he told a press conference during the state assembly sitting.
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 steps 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 most 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 started off on the wrong footing,” Dr Koh said, adding that there was also no official proposal for a merger between the two parties.
He stressed that the Gerakan was not closing its door to the proposal but it was better that the matter not be discussed openly at this juncture.
Kayveas made the proposal in his speech at a Penang PPP convention last month.
He had said that discussions on the merger could start in April once Dr Koh takes 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 for non-Muslims be referred to the Municipal Building Committee.
“The president can also discuss the matter with representatives of other relevant committees.
“They will gather information and check the background of the cases. The matter will be looked into from all angles before a decision is 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 local government.
He said this in response to a recent incident where the Seberang Prai Municipal Council partly demolished the Tau Boo Kong temple in Bukit Mertajam that was built without approval.
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