MALACCA: Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and his assemblywoman wife Betty Chew were dealt a severe blow when they were unexpectedly voted out of the Malacca DAP committee.
While the reasons for the shocking and unprecedented outcome are not very clear, party insiders say it could be the culmination of “years” of rivalry between former state chief Sim Tong Him and Lim whose political differences were open secrets.
One leader said this could also have been a signal of protest from supporters of former DAP secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock, who lost the party’s stronghold of Kota Melaka in the 2004 general election.
Betty Chew and her husband Lim Guan Eng
The purported feud between Kerk and Lim had been partly attributed to the defeat.
“The result only goes to show that Malacca DAP is deeply split and also that the influence of Kerk and Sim is still there,” he said.
He added the result would have an affect on DAP at the national level as Lim’s father, Kit Siang, is a party strongman.
Bandar Hilir state assemblyman Goh Leong San is the new state chairman, taking over from his mentor and Lim’s adversary Sim Tong Him, who stepped down without contesting after holding the post for 15 years.
In the state election yesterday, Goh secured 83 votes, the highest polled by the 17 people vying for one of 15 elected places in the state committee.
Lim and Chew, who is Kota Laksamana assemblywoman, garnered 27 and 33 votes respectively, putting them at the bottom of the lot.
Under the party constitution, Lim, as secretary-general, is automatically included in the state committee.
Chew, who is state Wanita chief, does not qualify for automatic inclusion.
When contacted, Lim said he supported Goh but declined to comment on the results. “Goh is the best person to ask,” he said.
Goh described the election as “simple and straightforward” but declined to comment on Lim’s situation.
Sim said he did not contest so as to make way for younger leaders. He was later appointed to the state committee.
A total of 91 party members attended the DAP state annual general meeting and election yesterday.
When contacted by The Star at around 9.30pm last night, DAP life adviser Dr Chen Man Hin said: “You are the first one to tell me about this. No comments until I see the results.”