STAKE IN COMPANY: It's against DAP's principle for elected representatives to be involved in business
IPOH: EMBATTLED Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham has been asked by the party's leadership to decide on his directorship in Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd.
Sources told the New Straits Times that Ngeh, who had admitted that he and his cousin Nga Kor Ming have stakes in the company, was given until today to do so.
Sources also said the party leadership had also grilled Ngeh, who is also Beruas member of parliament and Sitiawan state assemblyman, in a meeting on Tuesday on his investment in the company that had been awarded a timber project in Gua Musang, Kelantan.
The meeting, it was learnt, was held following the call by party chairman Karpal Singh for Ngeh to be hauled up to explain his venture with the company which had been reportedly given 4,359ha of land for the project.
A party insider yesterday, confirmed the matter and said Ngeh and Nga's involvement in a business venture went against the grain of the party struggle.
Nga, who is state DAP secretary, is also a director of Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd.
"It is not that we want to be a poor man's party but politics and business just simply do not mix," said the insider.
He said since the revelation of the duo's involvement in the timber project, people had been asking whether the party was now a "towkay party".
"Party members are angry. They are also asking if community leaders are joining DAP to get rich."
Gerakan deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn said Ngeh and Nga had become a political liability to Pakatan Rakyat.
He said DAP leaders, when forming the Penang government in 2008, had promised that their elected representatives would not be involved in businesses.
"But, see what happens now," he said, adding that he wondered how the cousins from Perak could have their hands on the project instead of the Kelantanese.
DAP has been under pressure to act against Ngeh and Nga over their admissions at the sidelines of the state assembly sitting last month that they had invested in the company, allegedly given the project as an appeasement for Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to hold the Perak menteri besar's post, despite DAP's state seat majority after the 12th general election four years ago.
Comments in the social media regarding the cousins were less than flattering, with many of the commentators asking them to decide whether they want to remain in politics or to be involved in business.
Ngeh, however, had said that there was nothing wrong with him and Nga being investors as they had done so according to the law, saying that they had been invited by the company to invest in the project.
He had also said the Inland Revenue Board and the Federal Government were aware of the of the transaction.