‘Unseen hands involved in leak’

The leaking of minutes of a private meeting between the Penang deputy chief minister (I) and Chinese representatives was the work of ambitious politicians within the party, claim some PKR insiders.

Athi Shankar, FMT

GEORGE TOWN: The unseen hands of some master plotters are at work again within the Penang PKR. This time the fall guy is Deputy Chief Minister (I) Mansor Othman.

Those out to drive a wedge between DAP and PKR have succeeded to an extent. Minutes of a private meeting between Mansor and several Chinese representatives were published verbatim in a blog, namely Gelagat Anwar, in its June 16, 18 and 19 postings.

Some insiders say the leak was to trap Mansor and expel him from the state PKR. The sabotage and back-stabbing is nothing new within the state PKR.

Since the 2008 general election, there have been two other such cases. Internal politicking has resulted in Mohammad Fairus Khairudin been booted out as Penang deputy chief minister (I) and Penanti assemblyman in April 2009. Then Bayan Baru MP Mohd Zahrain Hashim was removed as state PKR chief in November 2009.

In the latest episode, the leak revealed that Mansor had described Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as “cocky and arrogant”. He had also said that Lim was revered like “tokong” (deity) by Chinese voters in Penang.

Mansor’s depiction of Lim as “cocky and arrogant” is not a surprise as there is no love lost between the two parties.

Local PKR leaders have always felt marginalised under the DAP-helmed Pakatan Rakyat state government.

Although Mansor denied saying “cocky and arrogant” in last Friday’s press conference, the damage was already done.

It’s learnt that Mansor’s colleagues in the state executive council have persuaded him to “eat humble pie” by reading out a prepared text before an army of pressmen.

But if only Mansor had sought a second opinion from other PKR grassroots leaders, he could have avoided the embarrassing situation.

Some party loyalists suggested that Mansor should have instead instructed those who attended the meeting to clear the air at a press conference.

“It would have put the conspirators in an embarrassing situation instead,” said insiders.

Conspiracy to oust Mansor

Mansor aside, the blog disclosed that PKR’s state deputy chief and Batu Kawan division chief Law Choo Kiang, Bukit Bendera division deputy chief and island municipal (MPPP) councillor Felix Ooi Keat Hin, and Bayan Baru division appointed vice-chairman and MPPP councillor Tan Seng Keat attended the meeting

Others at the meeting were PKR’s 2004 general election candidate for Bayan Baru parliamentary and Batu Uban state seats Raymond Ong Ting Cheow; Tanjung Youth chief Ng Chek Siang; Batu Uban branch chief Cheah Peng Guan and Mansor’s assistant John Ooi.

They are representatives of an internal all-Chinese group called “Pasukan Keadilan”.

Party grassroots are now pointing accusing fingers at “Pasukan Keadilan” for the leak.