Johor DAP row worsens 

(NST) – REVOLT: Senai rep leads 16 branches in show of defiance of state party chief

JOHOR BARU: THE infighting among opposition leaders in Johor took another twist when state DAP vice-chairman Ong Kow Meng led 16 party branches to throw their vote of no-confidence against  state party chairman Dr Boo Cheng Hau.

Ong, who is also DAP’s Senai assemblyman, had accused Dr Boo of attempting to split the “long-established cohesion among the opposition pact’s component parties”.

This he said was because of Dr Boo’s disclosure of his conflict with Johor PKR chairman Datuk Chua Jui Meng with regard to seat allocations between the two opposition parties last month.

Ong, who revealed this at a press conference yesterday, listed out his dissatisfaction with Dr Boo, and lambasted him for advocating “cronyism” ever since he became the Skudai assemblyman in 2008.

He said Dr Boo arranged for his cronies within the party to assume important positions and duties, and ignored the voice of senior and grassroot leaders.

“Last week, I visited several constituencies in the state, including Batu Pahat, Kluang, Muar, Labis and Johor Baru. Many of the grassroot leaders have told me about their unhappiness with Dr Boo.

“When he found out that I visited the constituencies, he texted me a message, asking me who am I serving?

“When I replied by asking what he meant, he kept quiet.

“My conscience as a Johor party vice-chairman and an elected assemblyman to serve the people is clear. How could he be doubtful about this?” he asked.

Among representatives of party branches who were with Ong at the press conference were those from Johor Baru, Taman Nesa, Kulai, Bukit Indah, Taman Skudai Baru and Kulaijaya.

Ong also criticised Dr Boo as being arrogant for publicly attacking his PKR counterpart, adding that such an act could thwart the opposition pact’s march towards Putrajaya. He said Dr Boo should not be doubtful about Chua’s identity and sincerity.

“Take PKR chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as an example. He was formerly with Umno but is with the opposition pact and our comrade now.”

Sources within Johor DAP had, however, informed the New Straits Times that Ong’s outburst against Dr Boo was caused by a revelation that the state party chairman had not endorsed Ong to be fielded in the next general election.

Meanwhile, DAP Kulai division liaison committee chairman Ng Pack Seong, who was also at the press conference, claimed that it was unbecoming of Dr Boo to appoint his crony to assume important posts.

He said Dr Boo had appointed an “outsider” to lead the election operations room in Kulai, which is where Ong’s Senai constituency is located.

“As a state leader, he should know the will of party members and his duty is to unite the party, and not otherwise,” said Ng.

Dr Boo responded to the criticisms by pointing out that the choice of election candidates was in the hands of the party central selection committee, adding that there was no need to blame him if anyone was not selected as a candidate.

At state-level, he said the choice of candidates was done by a three-member team comprising the state chairman, deputy chairman and secretary.

“Our choice of candidates is based on several criteria, such as quality, discipline, team spirit and language proficiency, among others.

“To prevent any conflict, we have yet to submit the candidates’ list to the headquarters.

“I am sad that there are certain people who do not understand the procedure, and quickly jump to the conclusion that they will not be fielded and level their attack at me.”