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IN CONFLICT: DAP chairman stands behind his Johor chief in clash with Jui Meng
JOHOR BARU: THE long simmering rift between DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat in Johor has become a full-blown conflict.
Yesterday, state DAP chairman Dr Boo Cheng Hau issued a strongly worded statement calling for PKR to remove its state chairman Datuk Chua Jui Meng.
In an almost immediate reaction to the statement, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh backed his Johor chief, saying that Dr Boo’s allegations should not be taken lightly and calling for an inquiry into attacks against Johor DAP.
In his statement, written in Chinese, Dr Boo said he wanted either PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or his wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is party president, to take over Chua’s role as the party leader in the state.
Not mincing his words, Dr Boo described Chua as a liability to the opposition coalition’s efforts to take over Johor in the 13th general election.
"Chua has repeatedly announced that PKR will field him to contest the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat although no such decision has been made by high-ranking leaders from the opposition pact.
"He has also rejected many proposals by the Johor DAP and Pas, as though he is the high and mighty one from the opposition pact in Johor. I hereby announce that the Johor DAP can no longer cooperate with Chua, as we do not feel his sincerity at all in cooperating with us. However, this will not affect our ties with PKR and Pas," he said.
Dr Boo and Chua have been at loggerheads for some time, trading barbs in a rather public row as both parties are fighting hard for the right to contest the coveted Gelang Patah parliamentary seat, among others.
The seat had been contested by DAP in the past until it was let go in 1995 to the the now defunct Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM), which later became Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) which eventually merged with Parti Keadilan to become PKR.
The right to contest the seat was returned to DAP after the 1999 general election but later entrusted to PKR in 2004 and 2008 under a rotation system.
During the last general election, BN candidate Tan Ah Eng defeated PKR candidate Dr Zaliha Mustafa by 8,851 votes.
While no consensus has been reached on which party should contest the Gelang Patah seat, Dr Boo tweeted recently that Bukit Bendera member of parliament Liew Chin Tong should be given a chance in Gelang Patah.
Political analysts viewed the posting as a preemptive move to stop Chua from contesting the seat, as Chua, whose base is in Bakri, Muar, will be considered a "parachuted" candidate.
The posting irked Chua, who labelled Dr Boo's statement as "immature".
In his statement yesterday, Dr Boo revealed that cracks have been developing in the opposition pact in Johor in the last two years, and attributed Chua's arrogance as the main reason.
He said the opposition parties in Johor had been working closely in the past, until Chua came into the picture.
He said Chua had even attempted to alter history by claiming that only PKR had contested the seat before.
"He is trying to confuse everyone. I sincerely appeal to him to stop labelling the DAP as arrogant. Speak for himself and reflect on his own arrogance, such as by suggesting that the Bakri parliamentary seat is his 'territory'."
Chua could not be reached for comment.
Karpal, in his statement, said Dr Boo's assertions should be taken into consideration "in the interests of Pakatan Rakyat".
He said the credibility of Chua was suspect, due to his political background and what appeared to be his overzealous enthusiasm to regain a parliamentary seat.
"His long sojourn in the MCA and by extension Barisan Nasional, his unsuccessful attempt in 2004 at the MCA presidency and (subsequently) his obvious overzealous enthusiasm to regain a seat in parliament, certainly exposes a credibility problem which may appear to have consume the better part of his intellect.
"Unlike Chua Jui Meng, Dr Boo is a real McCoy," said the Bukit Gelugor member of parliament.
Karpal also called for an in-depth inquiry be carried out to determine who was behind the attacks against Johor DAP.