Susan Loone, Malaysiakini
EXCLUSIVE State PKR chief Mansor Othman is upset that minutes of the party's Penang strategic meeting on preparations for the 13th general election, where he described Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as arrogant, have been leaked.
Mansor, who is deputy chief minister I, said he was aware of the leak and expressed his disappointment that it has been published verbatim in an obscure blog.
However, Mansor (above), who is Penanti assemblyperson, said the contents - detailing questions raised on the coming polls and his responses to them - were "genuine concerns".
"Give me a few days, I am investigating the matter. The contents of the posting on the blog are based on genuine concerns but what I cannot accept is the leakage," he told Malaysiakini during the recent Hari Raya open house in Guar Perahu.
In the blog titled 'Gelagat Anwar', the June 16, 18 and 19 postings listed the attendees and detailed the discussions on seat allocations and problems faced by PKR in Penang.
A check revealed that one of those in the list of attendees - Kebun Bunga assemblyperson Jason Ong Khan Lee - was absent from the meeting.
Those present, other than Mansor, included state PKR deputy chief Law Choo Kiang; Bukit Bendera division deputy chief Felix Ooi; Bayan Baru deputy chief Tan Seng Keat; 2004 candidate for Bayan Baru Raymond Ong; Tanjung Youth chief Ng Chek Siang; Batu Uban chief Cheah Peng Guan and the DCM's assistant John Ooi, who is also a PKR member in Bayan Baru.
Malaysiakini approached several in the list for comment, only to receive the standard reply, "please refer to Mansor".
2008 status quo to remain
During the meeting - which appeared to be very focused on PKR's Chinese candidates - Mansor said that except for Machang Bubok assemblyperson Tan Hock Leong, the other incumbents would defend their seats.
PKR Youth information chief Lee Khai Loon is said to have been proposed to replace Tan - who suffered a stroke recently - as he is from Bukit Mertajam, but the idea was shot down.
Mansor, who is also PKR national vice-chief, added that Chinese candidates would be fielded in five state seats and one parliamentary constituency. This is in keeping with the 2008 formula.
In the general election of 2008 that brought Pakatan Rakyat into power in Penang, PKR contested 16 state seats and won nine.
The party's partners DAP went for 19 state seats and took all, while PAS fought for five seats but took none. Umno captured the remaining 11 seats. PAS the following year won the Permatang Pasir state seat in a by-election.
On the controversy over Pantai Jerejak - a Chinese-majority seat, Mansor said it would probably go to a Chinese, although MPPP councillor Rashid Hasnor's name has been proposed as the candidate.
"We have to look at the winning factors... maybe we have to look for a Chinese with more chances than a Malay in Pantai Jerejak but the decision is still up to the centre," Mansor is quoted as saying in the meeting minutes posted on the blog.
He has named Felix Ooi as the potential candidate for Pantai Jerejak. However, this needs endorsement from the PKR national leadership.
The state leadership will support whatever decision that comes from the top, Mansor said.
He has assigned Seng Keat, who is also MPPP councillor, to "talk" to Rashid about the possibility that he might not be fielded in Pantai Jerejak, currently held by Bayan Baru PKR division chief Sim Tze Tzin.
Bayan Baru is a hot seat for PKR as three of the constituencies under it - Pantai Jerejak, Batu Uban (S Raveentharan) and Batu Maung (Abdul Malik Abul Kassim) - are held by the party.
Speculation is rife that Sim, although he is evasive about it, is set to replace former PKR state chief Zahrain Mohd Hashim, current Bayan Baru MP, who has quit the party.
Chinese candidates a threat
On whether the DAP has requested any seats from PKR, Mansor is quoted as saying he would not budge on that. He said PKR's Chinese candidates are seen as a "threat" to the DAP.
When it was pointed out that DAP and PKR may not be caught in a tussle for seats this time around, Mansor said that was not certain as matters have yet to be finalised.
He remarked that his boss in the state administration, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was not only "arrogant" but that it was undeniable that Penangites thought of him as a "tokong" (a diety).
"He (Guan Eng) is very arrogant, I tell you... cocky and arrogant. It is not easy. Now more arrogant," Mansor says about the DAP secretary-general.
"They (the DAP) are sure of winning 19 (seats) and they want more. Because with two more (seats) they can form their own government and they can take from us (PKR reps) to be on their side and (then) abandon us (PKR)," the minutes quote him as saying.
On the possibility of three-cornered fights if PKR does not accede to DAP's alleged demand for more seats, Mansor said "We will fight", adding another list of 10 Chinese candidates would be prepared for constituencies such as Sungai Pinang and Jawi.
Several problematic seats
Meanwhile, Mansor lamented over several seats that appear to be problematic, for example, Tasek Gelugor, held by Umno, where the division is "asking for money".
The seat might be handed over to PAS, Mansor said, as their partner wants to contest an additional seat, or a total of six.
He complained about the Sungai Acheh division, too, which reportedly issued letters to its members to "boycott a visit by the boss (Opposition Leader and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim)".
"Just because it did not go through the division. Look at the problem we are dealing with. What if the letter (about boycott) fell into Umno's hand? Then we are dead," he decried.
The meeting finally toyed with the possibility of Pakatan taking Putrajaya in the 13th general election, which must be held by the latest in April next year.
Mansor said there would be thousands of jobs but he was not that interested, joking that he preferred to be posted as the "Chinese ambassador".
He told his subordinates in the party to rally together, that the Chinese members must visit the Malay grassroots, to drive home the point of the party's multi-racial status.
"Now, our job is to kick Umno. We have to swallow everything. We must not give an inch to Umno... cannot make mistakes... mistakes like these...".