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Feb 20, 2008


Tan demands Taiping be returned to Gerakan

PETALING JAYA (Feb 20, 2008): Gerakan Wanita chief and incumbent Batu Gantang MP Datuk Tan Lian Hoe today demanded that People's Progressive Party (PPP) president Datuk M.Kayveas steps down and return the Taiping parliamentary seat to Gerakan.

Although Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said that seat allocations for Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties would remain the same, Tan said Umno appears to be taking back its Batu Gantang seat.

"Batu Gantang was given to us (Gerakan) by Umno in the last general election so that Kayveas gets to contest Taiping, which we loaned to PPP. It's time to return to status quo," she added.

In a related development, Sin Chew reported yesterday that Taiping Gerakan Youth had early this week launched a 10,000-signature campaign to support Tan as the candidate for Taiping.

The report also said youth wing members have also openly said they did not welcome Kayveas in Taiping and that they might resort to "something out of the expectation" if Tan is not picked as the candidate.

On this, Tan said: "I am quite confident of winning in Taiping because this is the wish of the local people. They are very clear that they want Gerakan to re-claim the seat.

"People got a wrong impression that to get back the Taiping seat is actually a demand by party members. It is not ... it is what the voters really want," she said in a phone interview today.

Asked whether it is possible she may be fielded elsewhere, she said: "At the moment, we should not rock the boat elsewhere."

Asked whether the tussle between her and Kayveas would actually benefit the opposition, Tan said: "It depends on the candidate. If the people do not get what they want, a swing to the opposition can happen."

Kayveas said Tan is behaving selfishly and against the spirit of BN.

"The BN leadership has assured me that there will be no change in my seat and that it is the most important. I spent three days a week in Taiping and the people have seen my work," he said, adding that he had built up Taiping since he became the MP in 2004.

Kayveas suggested that Tan should just contest in the Jalong state seat (its incumbent assemblyman Perak Gerakan chairman Datuk Chang Ko Youn) and lobby for a state executive councillors' post. (Chang is moving to federal politics to contest in Beruas, the seat vacated by former party chief Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik.)

"That will guarantee her a brighter future as she is unlikely to be made a parliamentary secretary or deputy minister ," he added.

Kayveas said if Tan wanted to put up an individual fight against him, she should contest against him as an independent candidate.

He added that PPP will concentrate its full force in Taiping and that the party had set up four operations rooms.

Kayveas defeated DAP’s Ong Chee Keng and Parti Keadilan Rakyat's P. Annah Dorai in the last general election with a majority of 2,172 votes. - theSun


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