Will Lim Dynasty rule Penang forever?

Jason Chin

In a democratic electoral system, consent of the voters derives authority of an organisation. This means that a leader is chosen based on the majority of support obtained. Looking at the recently concluded Penang DAP state elections, it makes complete sense that Chow Kon Yeow has been reappointed as the Penang state DAP chairman because he powered to the top in the state elections by a significant margin.

What does not make sense is why isn’t Chow the Chief Minister of Penang instead? He is a Penangite who has obtained mandate from 86% of the delegates, and is a member of the Penang State Assembly for Padang Kota. Conversely, Lim Guan Eng is not a Penangite, and he did not even have the guts to compete in the DAP state elections. Was Lim afraid of losing as it happened in Malacca where he was booted out of the Malacca DAP committee?

Although Lim’s appointment is legitimate, in out-right democracy, a leader is selected based on the majority of support from voters. Chow’s appointment as the DAP chairman while Lim wears the throne of Chief Minister makes a very complicated equation. The man with most support from the members will have to march to the tune of an individual from the outside. Why have an election then?

This reminds me of a saying that ‘all modern democracies hold elections, but not all elections are democratic’. Right-wing dictatorships, Marxist regimes, and single-party governments also stage elections to give their rule an aura of legitimacy.

Some may argue that Lim has done a magnificent job in Penang and therefore should continue to govern the state. I do not disagree that Lim did govern the state efficiently. However, that is in the past. Penang was ranked first in state investment ranking back in 2010 and 2011. However, they have now dropped behind Johor, Sarawak, Malacca, and Selangor. Land reclamation in Penang under Lim’s governance has outnumbered Barisan Nasional when they governed Penang.

People are being forced to relocate and historical villages are being destroyed for sky-rise concrete jungles. Malaysia is in the world top-10 ranking for highest number of sex-workers as reported by Live & Invest Overseas News. Wiki Sex Guide, The International Sex Guide, and Trip Advisers demonstrate that Penang is internationally recognised as the Phuket of Malaysia. Are all these positive development for the country? Is culture and moral being ignored to meet the demands of economic growth?

If the situation in Penang DAP is startling, it is baffling in Selangor. Tony Pua gets elected as the chair of the state even though he finishes significantly lower than other members. Not only did Gobind Singh Deo obtain highest mandate from the Selangor DAP delegates, he also has better support than Tony nationally as evidenced in the DAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) election. Yet in the administrative hierarchy of DAP Selangor, Tony sits in a more commanding position than Gobind. DAP’s election system only requires you to make the cut into the state committee. Even if you finish last, you can still be appointed as the head of the committee.

As a general rule in the sane world, democracies do not elect dictators or presidents for life. However in DAP’s version of democracy, a dictator or president can hold onto his position forever. Isn’t it ironic that the Opposition accuses BN of cronyism and nepotism?