Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dr. Lim Keng Yaik's Final Adios?

Parti Gerakan president Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik announced Sunday he will step down from the post early next year to pave the way for his deputy Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon to succeed him. He said the change of the guard will take place at an extraordinary general meeting of the party in the first quarter of next year, expected to be held after the Chinese Lunar New Year.

To empower the party to appoint his successor, the party constitution will be amended at the annual general assembly scheduled on Sept 2. The 67-year-old Dr Lim, who is the Minister of Energy, Water and Communications, has long been known to favour Koh, the 57-year-old Chief Minister of Penang, to succeed him as party president. The way was opened after Koh was elected deputy president unopposed at the Gerakan elections in August last year, taking over from Datuk Seri Kerk Choo Ting who did not defend the post and instead made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency against Dr Lim.

Dr Lim said the party constitution at present did not provide for the posts of president or chairman at state, division or branch levels to be automatically filled by the deputy president or vice chairman if a vacancy occurred. "So we will amend the constitution at the general assembly this year to enable the deputy or vice president to move up should a vacancy occur for whatever reason. "If that is done, then next year I will hand the leadership of the party to my deputy who will become acting president until the next party election," he said.

Dr Lim said his wish to step down was not something new as he had spoken about it as early as 2000 and he had prepared the party's members to accept the change. "I don't think there will be any problem and I don't think anyone wants to maintain me (as president) any more because we have already prepared the ground for the last six years," he said.

Asked whether he would reconsider his plan if called on to stay by the party delegates, Dr Lim said that kind of decision would not be good for the party and he would not consider it. As for his future role in the party after he steps down, he said he would leave the decision to the new leadership whether or not they wished to appoint him as a party advisor.

The Bruas division at its meeting today unanimously returned Dr Lim for another term as its chairman.

Now that all the major component parties of BN have got rid off their Deputies it is time for the senior presidents to exit. The pressure will now be on Dato' Seri Samy Vellu to call it a day. But when has public opinion or anyone else's ever bothered him?


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