Knives are out for Chow...and his colleagues could be behind it. (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: The long overdue appointment of Gerakan secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow to lead the Penang Barisan Nasional's charge in the coming general elections has stirred much interest among political circles on the island.
After all, his appointment to replace Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon could not have come at a more appropriate and critical time for Penang BN.
As it is, rumblings about how DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng is running the island like a personal fiefdom are growing louder by the day.
However, even so, Penang BN has been struggling to regain its feet although four years have passed since the coalition was dealt a crushing and humiliating defeat in the 2008 general elections.
Koh is widely seen as a failed leader who has been unable to rejuvenate his own party leadership let alone bring together the other component members like Umno, MIC, MCA and PPP in an attempt to recapture Penang in the coming elections.
The Gerakan president has been given ample time and chances to buck up and strengthen the Penang BN leadership but he has just been unable to do so.
Koh just has too much political baggage and the fact of the matter is he just cannot show face in Penang anymore let alone lead the cavalry in the coming elections.
Perhaps that is why news of Koh being replaced by Teng has created a bigger buzz in the DAP camp compared to the state BN itself.
While the Penang BN leadership had anticipated and even expected Koh to be replaced by Teng, the leadership change seems to have ruffled the DAP.
The DAP has lost its favourite whipping boy and is now confronted with a much more aggressive leader who is not fearful of taking on Lim, who has been struggling to maintain his popularity not only among the electorate but also within his own party.
It has become an open secret that long serving DAP leaders in Penang are beginning to question Lim's dictatorial way of doing things and this has spooked him.
He is afraid that history may be repeating itself and is scared silly of events which happened in Malacca in 2005 returning to haunt him in Penang.
Back then Lim suffered a shock defeat in his campaign for re-election to the Melaka DAP committee when he and his wife were literally booted out from the state when they came in last and second-last respectively.
Talk in town is Lim is now viewing Teng's entry as an opportune moment to get rid of state DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow - his closest rival for the Chief Minister's seat.
That is why Ng Wei Aik, who is Lim’s political secretary and widely seen as his running dog, has been going to town urging Teng to contest against Chow in the Padang Kota state seat.
Ng (read Lim) has been so desperate to make the contest become a reality that an online poll was organised to determine whether Teng should take on Chow.
The survey conducted from April 14 to May 1 revealed that 75 percent (or 152 respondents) wanted Teng back in the seat, which is currently held by Chow - who is also state DAP chief.
Teng, who is Gerakan secretary-general, held Padang Kota from 1995 to 2008.
"Only 25 percent or 51 respondents do not support Teng in recontesting the seat. So far, 203 people responded to the online survey," Ng was reported to have said recently.
However, from the look of things the survey seems to have backfired with Lim's critics now asking if he would also walk the talk and prove that he is accepted by all races in Penang by leaving the safe Chinese majority seats and contest in Malays areas like Batu Uban as ADUN and Bayan Baru as MP.
Besides Ng and his online survey, other Lim mouthpieces have also tried to force the issue by fabricating stories on how Chow had decided to give up the Tanjung Parliamentary seat to concentrate on just his state seat.
The story, which was written by Terence Netto and carried by Malaysiakini, drew a sharp rebuke from Chow who made it clear that the writer had never contacted him and he had never made such a decision.
It looks like the knives are out for Chow and from the way things are unfolding he had better watch out as the person out for him could be none other than his boss.
Chow would do well to remember how another long-serving and dedicated DAP leader, the former party secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock, was sabotaged leading to his untimely political demise.
"All Chow has to do is look back into history and find out who killed off Kerk's career. If he does that, it might just prepare him for what could be his untimely end," a DAP insider said.
Hush Hush is our Mole in Penang.