Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Man in the net ‘too busy to worry about politics’ quits politicking

Ex-Gerakan deputy sec-gen ‘too busy to worry about politics’
PENANG: Former Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon is too busy with his new duties at the Penang Development Corporation and InvestPenang to think about politics.
Lee, now an ordinary party member, said he preferred to focus on his new tasks at the two state economic development agencies and leave his political position as it was.
On whether he would quit the party, Lee said he hardly had time to think about anything else these past few days.
“I have started meeting up with investors. There are a lot of things that need to be done. My work can’t stop. I have a heavy responsibility,” he said.
On whether he would join DAP or PKR if the Gerakan central working committee terminated his membership, Lee said he did not have a crystal ball to predict the future.
Earlier at a function in InvestPenang office, Lee said his political affiliation and his decision to accept the appointments were two separate issues.
Asked to comment on Gerakan adviser Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik’s outburst over his appointments, Lee said: “As politicians, we are ready to take all blows from anywhere. Never mind, let him say what he wants.
“In the previous Barisan Nasional state government, there were also Opposition members working here. So, my presence here should not be an issue. From the civil servants’ point of view, they serve the government of the day.”
On Monday, Dr Lim had said it would be difficult for Lee as both Gerakan and DAP would be suspicious of him.
“Gerakan will be wary of him as he will be promoting the agenda of the Pakatan Rakyat state government while DAP would be guarded as he is a Gerakan member,” he said.
Lee said his post in InvestPenang was on a voluntary basis and did not come with a salary.

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Lee quits as Gerakan member (updated)
PENANG: Former Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon has “totally retreated” from party politics by quitting the party.
Lee said since his decision to accept the state appointments as Penang Development Corporation (PDC) director and InvestPenang executive committee chairman was “unacceptable” to the party, he had submitted a letter to the Gerakan leadership to withdraw his membership.
“I believe it is best for me to retreat totally from party politics. This way, I hope we can put the matter to rest and move forward with the serious tasks at hand. I want to reiterate my stand that I will be focusing on serving society as a citizen.
“With the political ghost exorcised, I can now look forward to working with all parties to ensure that Penang leads again,” he said Wednesday.
Commenting on former chief minister and Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon’s statement that he had no direct experience in promoting investment in the industrial sector, Lee described this as “inaccurate”.
“Criticism on my lack of experience is inaccurate. My professional and service track record speaks for itself.
“If anything, the criticism only drives me to achieve more for the state,” he said, adding that his decision to accept the “non-political roles to serve the socio-economic interests of Penang” was motivated by the fact that the state’s interest “cannot be compromised” by any political consideration.
“In the next quarter, the projected global economic slowdown is going to affect our export-orientated economic performance.
“I believe the focus on job creation and measures to ensure sustainable growth is more important than politicking.
“My objective – which is serving the people, is clear and it has remained consistent throughout my political career. Hence, I have decided to answer the Government’s call for me to serve in both state agencies in this trying period,” he said in a press statement.
On Monday night, the party's central working committee decided to send Lee a show-cause letter asking him to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.
Dr Koh questioned Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political motive in appointing Lee, describing the appointment as “improper” as it would jeopardise the state’s industrial sector and efforts and ability to effectively attract investment.

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