The Star Online; 9 Sept 2008
GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan should leave the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition because it has only created chaos among the component parties, Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail said.
Making the call during a press conference at Menara Umno yesterday, Ahmad said Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon should also be stripped of his post as the state Barisan chairman and the post should be given to the MCA.
He said this was because a few Chinese leaders from the Gerakan party including Dr Koh had deliberately taken advantage of the situation and turned it into a racial issue “to hide their own weaknesses”.
He said Dr Koh’s leadership had also resulted in the state Barisan failing miserably in the March 8 general election.
“He is a leader who is really good at tai chi but I would also like to remind everyone not to forget that the Malays are equally good at silat,” he said.
The press conference was called by leaders and representatives of the 13 Umno divisions here led by state Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah and secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim.
Ahmad said Dr Koh should apologise not only to the Malays and Muslims but also to the Chinese in the country for creating so much tension.
“I want Koh and Gerakan to be responsible in case any untoward incidence takes place in our country.
“I hope we will not be pushed against the wall, ” he said, as supporters thumped tables and shouted “Hidup Melayu”.
Ahmad also said that Dr Koh’s claim that their relationship soured after he (Ahmad) was not re-appointed as a Penang Municipal Councillor in 2006 was untrue and was “another tactic of his to character assassinate me”.
He reiterated that he would not apologise for his remark at a ceramah during the Permatang Pauh by-election on Aug 23, and was prepared to face the consequences.
Ahmad said that he was happy that the Prime Minister was satisfied with his explanation after the latter chaired the state Umno liaison committee meeting on Sept 6.
He urged all quarters including Gerakan to stop issuing statements making demands on Barisan and Umno over the issue.
At the end of the 40-minute press conference, several supporters brought down from the wall a poster of Dr Koh and tore it to pieces.
When contacted later, Ahmad denied any role in the incident.
“There were no such instructions. The other division heads and I were in the hall,” he said, adding that the supporters who brought down the picture were not from the Bukit Bendera division.