Saturday, September 02, 2006

Dr Lim Keng Yaik's Last Hurrah?

After 25 years as Gerakan president, Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik delivered his "farewell" speech at the party's annual general assembly here Saturday, hinting that he may retire earlier than expected.

Dr Lim had previously announced that he would hand over the party's highest post to deputy president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon between February and September next year but judging from his speech, which he regarded as his "last address as president of the party", there is a possibility that he may pass the baton earlier than scheduled.

"Today, this journey is almost coming to a closure as I hope to pass the baton to my successor by early next year," he said in his presidential address at the 35th Gerakan national delegates conference which was telecast live by Radio Television Malaysia (RTM). Dr Lim took more than 40 minutes to deliver his speech, touching mostly on the present situation and providing some feedback on how best the country and party could be navigated in the future.

The Energy, Water and Communications Minister stressed the importance of maintaining the spirit of cooperation in the Barisan Nasional and political leadership which he described as a learning process where the young and the old could mutually learn from one another. In this aspect, Dr Lim said, he was very fortunate to have worked with many great leaders from the Barisan Nasional -- Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad -- who had adopted different leadership styles, focused on different priorities and made different decisions to suit the period and challenges faced by their respective governments. "Their style may be different but the substance remained the same. Fortunately, the country has benefited from their flexibility and capability,"

Similarly, he said, the current prime minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had his own brand of approachable leadership style of "work with me and not for me", where he had shown nerves of steel in the decisions he had made to curb corruption and balance the pursuit of materialism with emphasis on good humanistic and religious values.

Dr Lim also said that with the increasing fuel prices and growing inflationary pressure and rising interest rates, Malaysia must find new niches and new areas of growth quickly and could not merely be satisfied with doing the same thing and using the same approach over again. "The nation must be ready to embrace new approaches and new ideas. In short, we have to think out of the box and be more creative in reinventing our economy to avoid a direct collision with these emerging economies," he added.

Dr Lim also pointed out several weaknesses in the education system which he said must be addressed quickly, saying that there are still schools in the urban or rural areas which are not fully equipped with basic amenities and facilities while many Chinese schools in the urban areas are overcrowded.

He also raised concern over the growing number of unemployable graduates which is a sign of brewing social discontent. The mismatch between university curricula and employer requirements must be addressed immediately as many companies were looking for highly skilled graduates with good technical foundation and communication skills, he said.

Dr Lim also advised the present and future leaders of Gerakan to be willing to make tough decisions and take unpopular actions to adjust to the new political reality and the party to reinvent itself to be proactive and responsive to the needs of a modern Malaysia.

The long-time Gerakan supremo also warned party members and leaders that if they were not careful, opportunism would become a political malaise in the party. "The opportunists are members who are waiting for their self-interests to be served instead of serving the interests of the society. Politics is about serving and giving back to the nation what you took from it. It takes a good leader to identify and differentiate the opportunists from the real members," he said.

Good leadership was being responsible for the welfare of the group and not the welfare of certain individuals, he said, adding that "a good leader is not a crowd pleaser or a populist".

**** How this announcement will affect the political future of Dr Koh Tsu Koon remains uncertain. If he has to be shifted to the federal cabinet to please Umno Penang, then the question of his replacement in the CM's chair will be brought into sharp focus. Political realities dictate that a Gerakan man should fairly take over. But who is there with the clout, credibility and charisma to occupy that hot seat? I personally feel that if things in Penang are not sorted out soon, then Dr Lim Keng Yaik's early retirement plan has to be reviewed. It will not be in Gerakan's interest and even that of Barisan to have such uncertainty hanging over an important component party of the BN. Moreover I don't think that Dr Lim would want part of his legacy to be the crumbling of Gerakan after his retirement.

However to underscore their seriousness, Gerakan Amends Constitution For Smoother Transition Of Power.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harap tak jadi cam mahathir, kacau bilau selepas berundur. Hanya Semi Vellu dan Kak Rafidah yng berdegil-degil.

3:49 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahahah! Everybody is afraid of mahathir after he retire. Let it not make uncle Sam from MIC to stay longer. all those who are nyanyuk must leave.

5:57 PM GMT+8  
Blogger mob1900 said...

Koh-koh Jiao is a 90-pound weakling. Look at how UMNO Penang kick sand on his face and what does he do?

"I'm a CM of all races!"
Please ler, balik Tongsan since he got no ballz.

9:01 PM GMT+8  
Blogger The Malaysian. said...

anonymous 1, I don't think that we have to worry much about Dr Lim coming back to haunt Gerakan afer his retirement.
anonymous 2, Samy Velu is a totally different kettle of fish and it would take an army to dislodge him.(No offence meant to MIC supporters.)
mob, a rather unflattering description of Dr Koh don't you think?

10:26 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kalu tak ada Pulau Pinang habislah Parti Gerakan ni.

2:49 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kalau tak ada Parti Gerakan habis lah Pulau Pinang !!!
macam Selangor developed status heh? alamak...gone to the dogs!
(Just a figure of speech, please, see,dogs have more decency and morals!)

10:54 AM GMT+8  
Blogger shanghaistephen said...

Kalau tak ada Parti Gerakan ..habis lah Pulau Pinang ...alamak macam..Selangor...? aiiah, gone to the dogs!!(Sorry , just a figure of speech, see, dogs have more decency,higher morals and undying gratitude !!)

10:59 AM GMT+8  

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