The working environment at InvestPenang was not conducive, says Gerakan.
GEORGE TOWN: Politics may have had a lot to do with the resignation of Lee Kah Choon as chairman of the InvestPenang executive committee, at least according to detractors of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Senior Penang Gerakan leader Lai Chew Hock said many believed that Lee was stepping down because the “working environment” did not suit him.
“The working environment now in Penang is bad,” Lai said. “It is due to an overzealous Lim, who has a tendency to politicise everything and everybody. In Penang, it is now all politics and no real work.”
Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng said he believed that Lim was preparing to announce some achievement by InvestPenang, but would not be able to enjoy the limelight with Lee in the chairman’s seat because the latter has never joined DAP despite quitting Gerakan.
Tan, who won the Nibong Tebal seat on the PKR ticket but is now an independent MP, also said foreign investments in Penang might have dropped due to uncertainties in the global economy.
Lee’s own vague responses to queries about his resignation have added fuel to speculation that he has fallen out with Lim.
However, DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong has dismissed these as rumours. He described Lee as a “great team player” and a “quiet executor”, but added that he had wanted to relinquish the InvestPenang chairman’s job for a long time.
“He is still very much part of our team, as evident in his roles in various bodies,” Liew said. “But he just doesn’t want to continue on a full-time basis.”
InvestPenang was set up before 2008 to spearhead the state’s efforts to lure “quality investments” – that is, those that would include transfers of technology, skills and capital. The chairman’s seat was occupied by the then chief minister, Koh Tsu Koon.
After the 2008 election and the takeover of the state government by Pakatan Rakyat, Lim managed to entice Lee, who was then a Gerakan member, to serve the DAP-led administration.
A lawyer by education, Lee was considered a rising star in Gerakan and had served as its deputy secretary-general. Lim’s success in bringing him into the new administration was considered quite a coup.
Lee’s decision to accept the InvestPenang appointment symbolised the downfall of Gerakan in Penang.
However, out of the blue last Wednesday, the state government announced that Lee was stepping down from the post, but would remain as a board member of the special vehicle company.
One Gerakan member, who asked not to be named, said Lim had used Lee to further his political cause in Penang.
“It has now reached a point where Lee is no longer needed,” he added.