Wikileak: Koh Tsu Koon humiliated by Pak Lah and Umno


Abdullah Ahmad Badawi publicly humiliated Koh Tsu Koon, then Penang chief minister, in 2006 in “an ironic exercise in hypocrisy and political expediency” just before Umno divisional meetings, according to the US Embassy’s political officer, Mark Clark, in a secret diplomatic cable published at Malaysia Today through WikiLeaks.

The cable said Abdullah, then prime minister, “echoed the earlier remarks of his son in law, Khairy Jamaluddin”, and publicly charged Koh Tsu Koon “with systematically marginalising [Penang] Malays and demanded immediate action to address the needs of the marginalised Malay community”, the cable said.

Penang executive councillor Dr Toh Kin Woon, sometimes called the conscience of the Gerakan, later told Mark Clark privately that Abdullah thoroughly humiliated Koh, who was caught unprepared and unable to respond “although Malays in Penang have a higher per capita income than Malays in many other states”.

The irony noted by the cable stemmed from a political controversy sparked by Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew statement that Malaysian Chinese had been systematically marginalised by the ruling coalition, principally by Umno.

Koh Tsu Koon faced further lambasting from Najib Tun Razak, then Abdullah’s deputy, who called on Koh to more equally divide his executive powers with the deputy chief minister (an Umno man), and Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, the education minister then, demanded Koh take unconditional immediate action to address the needs of Penang Malays.

“According to sources who attended the meeting, Koh was dumbfounded and unprepared to respond to the Prime Minister’s accusations,” the cable noted.