GEORGE TOWN: Zairil Khir Johari said he is ready to face state Barisan Nasional chief Teng Chang Yeow for the Tanjung Bungah state seat in the upcoming polls.
The state DAP vice-chairman thanked his party for the trust placed in him to retain the seat which the party has won over the past elections.
“I recognise it is a big challenge but I am not new in Tanjung Bungah, having served there for the past five years as Bukit Bendera MP.
“So, I am ready to face Teng. There is no need to change my plans. I will go all out to fight for every single vote,” he said, referring to the state Gerakan chairman.
Zairil was not chosen to defend his one-term Bukit Bendera federal seat and instead given the Tanjung Bungah state seat to contest.
He replaces DAP incumbent Teh Yee Cheu, who quit the party earlier this month, who declared he will be contesting as a PSM candidate in Sungei Pinang instead.
After Teh fell out of favour with the state DAP leadership last year, Zairil had been running the DAP service centre in Tanjung Bungah to help the constituents.
Koh Tsu Koon
This would not be the first time a state BN chief would be contesting in Tanjung Bungah.
In 2008, Teh had defeated then Penang chief minister and four-term state assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah, Koh Tsu Koon.
Zairil, who is DAP national spokesman on education, science and technology matters, said he is also counting on the voters in Tanjung Bungah to know more about his work for the state.
“I do not take any opponent lightly, and I am confident that the savvy and discerning voters of Penang will pick me, based on my performance and policy making over the years,” he said at Komtar today.
On the issues raised by civil society groups pertaining to rampant development in Tanjung Bungah, Zairil said he had already held talks with these groups.
“I have engaged all these groups. I was at a forum hosted by activists and answered all questions posed. We are not afraid to take questions, whatever they might be.”
The press conference today was also attended by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who said Zairil did not ask for any help in facing Teng.
“Zairil is not asking for any assistance from me or state DAP chief Chow Kon Yeow. At least he does not hop from seat to seat like Teng Chang Yeow.
“Teng has famously said: ‘Where you fall down, you must pick yourself up in the same place.’ Looks like he does not practise what he preaches,” Lim said.
Lim was referring to Teng’s strategy of contesting in different seats every general election, first in Padang Kota, then Bukit Tengah and now in Tanjung Bungah.
Teng lost to Chow in the fight for the Padang Kota state seat in the 2008 general election and then lost to PKR’s Ong Chin Wen in the Bukit Tengah state seat in the 2013 general election.
Teng had also stepped down as state BN chief following the party’s dismal performance in the last general election in 2013. He was reinstated to his position after he won the state Gerakan chairmanship later the same year.