(The Star) - DAP chairman Karpal Singh has fended off criticisms that Lim Guan Eng should not be the Chief Minister because he is not a Penangite.
He said election laws were clear on this issue, adding that an election candidate only needed to be a resident and a Malaysian citizen to stand in any state.
“To stand as a candidate in any state in Malaysia, one just has to be a resident that is the qualification and, of course, a citizen of the country.
“The Lim family has a residence in Penang. No doubt, (Penang Chief Minister) Lim (Guan Eng) was born in Batu Pahat but his connection with Penang is sufficient for him to be the right choice for the post of Chief Minister,” he said here yesterday.
Karpal was responding to a statement by former DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim that the Penang Chief Minister should be a local instead of Lim, who is from Batu Pahat.
In a recent ceramah, Tunku Abdul Aziz, who quit DAP in May, had called on Penangites to ensure that their Chief Minister come from among the crop of local leaders instead of someone “parachuted” in from other states.
Tunku Abdul Aziz had said that Chow Kon Yeow, who is the state DAP chairman, should have been the Chief Minister, adding that he was a “nice man” and “not arrogant”.
When contacted, Chow said it was up to the people to “choose the party the Chief Minister is from”.
Asked about the meeting between DAP leaders at the Red Rock Hotel after the party took over the state, during which Lim had allegedly nominated himself for the top post, Chow said this was the consensus reached among them.
Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow, who was born in Batu Pahat, said everybody had the freedom to express their views and opinions on the matter.
“Let the voters decide on who they think is right,” said Teng.
Penang Chinese Town Hall chairman Datuk Lam Wu Chong said there was no such rule that the Chief Minister must be a local-born Penangite.
However, a Penang-born engineer, who only wanted to be known as James, said he would prefer to have a local as a Chief Minister.
“It would be better if we are led by a Penangite as the person shares a similar sentiment about the state and can easily meet our expectations,” said the 31-year-old.