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Raymond Tan shunned by Sabah BN! - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Sabah MCA chief Chau Tet Onn, a veteran since his Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) days from 1985, will oppose any move by Barisan Nasional to admit a proposed new political party planned by partyless Deputy Chief Minister Raymond Tan.


His statement struck a chord with the PBS Youth wing, which has expressed similar sentiments.

The veteran politician was commenting on Tan's statement in recent days that, except for one, he has met with all state BN component party leaders on his plans.

According to Tan, he "has not received any negative response so far". However, he declined to reveal the name of the BN component party leader whom he has not met.

chau tet on mca sabah 121208Chau (left) is particularly disturbed by the "credible news" that Tan wants two parliamentary seats and four state seats to be allocated to him so that he can establish his new party as soon as possible.

"Even if such a request (for seats) is granted, does he (Tan) really think that he can get past (Sapp chief) Yong Teck Lee," fumed Chau. "Such a position reflects Tan's arrogance. It seems that he wants to replace Sapp in BN with a new (pro-BN) Sapp led by him."

"His move may even cause the complete defeat of BN's Chinese candidates in the next general elections in another three years' time which may witness another political tsunami."

Yong led Sapp out of BN on Sept 17 citing a host of unresolved grievances and expressing a loss of confidence in the federal leadership, in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in particular.

'Not having the guts'

Chau, who castigated Tan "for not having the guts to stay on with Sapp" and "endless procrastination over his position" also described the continued retention of Tan in the state cabinet and government as “unprecedented and being insensitive to the feelings of other BN component members”.

2008 election results for sabah 160608He echoed a growing consensus among state BN component parties that "Tan's continued retention smacked of double standards since former Kuala Penyu state assemblyperson John Ghani and former Sandakan MP Chong Hon Min were both quickly shown the door by BN", although under somewhat different circumstances.

"Tan's holding of a senior position in the state cabinet despite being partyless has caused a great deal of dissatisfaction among the state BN component parties, the people at large and especially the Chinese community," said PBS Youth vice-chief Shui Ping Chung.

Privately, the consensus among leaders of the various BN component parties in Sabah is that there are already too many members in the state BN coalition and that they would have great difficulties in supporting the admission of a new political party.

Members of the state BN at present include Umno, MIC, MCA, Gerakan, PPP, LDP, PBS, UPKO and PBRS.

Admission to the BN is by consensus and expulsion by a majority. Should even one BN component party refuse to support the admission of Tan’s proposed new party, his political career would hang in the balance.

raymond tan shu kiahBesides being DCM, Tan (right) is also minister of infrastructure development and state assemblyperson for Tanjung Papat.

Tan is one of the three former members of Sapp supreme council still with the state government.

The others are Jimmy Wong, a political secretary to the chief minister Musa Aman, and Elopura state assemblyperson Au Kam Wah.

Already, it is said that BN component parties are eyeing the Tanjung Papat and Elopura seats and also the government position held by Tan, Wong and Au.

MCA has openly staked a claim to the DCM's post.

Given precedence elsewhere, should his bid to form a new political party within BN be met with continued silence from coalition leaders, Tan would have to join one of the existing BN component parties if he wants to be fielded in the Tanjung Papat state seat.

There's no guarantee, however, that his new "home" with one of the existing BN component parties would be obliged to recommend him for a post in the state cabinet "given the tumultuous history of his relationship with them."

'Clutching at straws'

Meanwhile, Sapp information chief Chong Pit Fah thinks that BN is "clutching at straws" by retaining Tan in the state cabinet.

chong pit fah sapp info chief 121208"They hope he will be able to convince the urban voters (Chinese) to remain with BN. They underestimate the intelligence of voters especially given the present economic climate where prices in the street have gone through the roof.

"Business is down more than 50 percent while costs and prices have risen 100 percent or more. The government has mismanaged the recent series of fuel oil price hikes and disrupted the functioning of the economy," he said.

Chong, who is in the engineering works business, is convinced that "BN will not be able to steer the economy out of trouble in the short and medium term by which time they would be long gone. The poor business climate is a sore point with Sabahans," he added.

Chong expressed confidence that if the opposition came to power in Sabah after the next state elections, Tan would not hesitate to ditch BN and rejoin Sapp or another party in the opposition alliance.

"We should reject this type of so-called politicians. We will reveal all during the next elections campaign – who is scratching whose back and why. It's all money talk and nothing to do with the welfare of the people. Tan will become a political doormat in the next elections," he lashed out.

Chong also pooh-poohed Tan's "non-announcement" over the weekend that his "new political party for Sapp members who want to still remain with BN may come as early as next month."

"It's the season for parties," Chong quipped. "The only party that Tan will be announcing soon is his Christmas party, followed by the New Year’s and Chinese New Year party."

Tan is unfazed

Meanwhile, Tan remains unfazed of being at the receiving end of Sapp’s wrath for going against the decision of the supreme council to pull out from BN and the growing unease among state BN component parties including Umno over his continued retention in the state cabinet.

He claims that he has explained to almost all BN component leaders that joining any of them would not be a difficult decision for him personally.

However, he draws a line at deciding for "the other Sapp members who may be wearing party shirts but deep down are still with BN."

The thrust of his meetings with the BN leaders is his intention to set up a new political party for Sapp members who want to continue to be with BN but not through any existing parties.

"I think that the response from most of them (party presidents) has been quite encouraging. During my communication with them, they have not rejected me in the face," said Tan.

"I want them to be comfortable and I want them to know what is happening and what I am doing. In fact, I am waiting for the leaders (party presidents) to come back to me and tell me to formalise everything to form the new political party which would be not just for myself but all Sapp members who support BN.

"I did tell them that I am in no political hurry (to form the new party) because I want to go around to see BN supporters from Sapp myself," he added.

The line that Tan is pursuing is that it would be wrong to ignore Sapp members who are strong BN supporters and want a new political party to cater to their needs.

He also does not think that he is becoming more of a liability than an asset to BN and cites Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman’s continued confidence in him – by way of his continued retention in the state cabinet and government - as proof of the "important role" he can play in BN against a Sapp-led opposition onslaught in the next general election -