GEORGE TOWN (June 16, 2008): By Himanshu Bhatt
Former Gerakan and MCA strongman Lim Boo Chang has moved to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), citing the emergence of a two-party system in Malaysian politics as a persuading factor to join the federal Opposition party.
PKR adviser and de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced Lim’s membership during his visit to Penang yesterday.
Lim, who led 351 of his supporters to join PKR, said the decision was made "after careful evaluation of the present political scenario of our country and a deeper understanding of the political objectives of PKR".
There was a minor stir in the City Stadium when Lim showed up smiling at the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leadership's meet-the-people session last night.
Lim had resigned from MCA on April 4.
Lim stunned the Penang political scene in late 1999 when he and Lim Chien Aun, son of former Chief Minister and Gerakan founding-member Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, crossed over from Gerakan to MCA just days after the Barisan Nasional (BN) won the general election.
It led to Gerakan having fewer seats than MCA in the state assembly, resulting in a heated wrangling between the two parties as Gerakan members got concerned about MCA's bid to take over the chief minister’s post.
Lim, also the son of another Gerakan founding-member, the late Datuk Lim Ee Heong, was also part of the team that lent its weight behind tycoon Datuk Joseph Chong's "famous" bid to topple then Gerakan president Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Lim Keng Yaik in the 1996 party elections.
Chong, who lost the election, later revealed that it was then deputy prime minister Anwar who encouraged him to challenge Keng Yaik.
In a statement issued yesterday, Lim said: "We felt that a two-party system has emerged after March 8t 12the General Election, and it is healthy for Malaysia not to be dominated by any single party as before if our aim is to achieve a true parliamentary democracy and free society."
He stressed that PKR was "truly multi-racial" in its set-up and steadfastly and consistently against racism, chauvinism and religious extremism.
"Secondly, it practises politics of moderation, accountability and transparency and has declared war on corruption, cronyism and nepotism."
"Thirdly, its stance for social justice made it more relevant to the middle and lower strata of our society which cut across race while it is pro-business and progress."
He also expressed admiration for the party's fight for democracy, justice and freedom, such as through the exposure of the Lingam video clip, as a factor that has contributed to healthier growth of the judiciary system.
"Fifthly, it is very important to strengthen PKR and hence PR to assist them in their administration of the five states under their charge," he added.
He stressed that PR should be strengthened to always be a viable and credible alternative government to the BN.