Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today urged Gerakan to retake the Penang government, telling the party's delegates that the recent Penang floods were a sign from God that the state was ripe for the taking.
“It is not impossible. It can be done. God smote those who thumped their chest claiming that Penang is free from floods.
"What happened is a sign from God that this is the best time for us to retake the Penang government,” he said in his opening speech at the 46th Gerakan National Delegates' Conference today.
His speech came just after the deadly floods that hit the state last Saturday as a result of the tropical disturbance.
Meanwhile, Zahid also warned against politicising the aid rendered after the floods, saying that voters would punish such behaviour.
“Did we politicise the issue? Absolutely not. Did we use everything that has happened to take advantage and help flood victims for political reasons? Not all things can be politicised.
“But if anyone politicises everything, just wait. The people will punish (them),” he said.
Meanwhile, in his policy speech, Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong told the DAP-led Penang government to behave like a government rather than blame the previous administration for its problems.
Until the 12th General Election, Penang was led by Gerakan, with former president Koh Tsu Koon serving as chief minister from 1990 to 2008.
Mah pointed out that DAP has already been heading Penang’s administration for nearly 10 years, and has clearly failed in ruling the state responsibly.
“Hey! You are the government, not the opposition. Act like the government, take responsibility. Don’t blame people,” he said.
Mah added that between 2004 and 2008, Koh had approved only four development projects in Tanjung Bungah, the site of a deadly landslide that occurred last month.
Under the DAP, he said, 39 projects had been approved in the area.
“To me, it is very easy to say ‘yes’ to developers; very hard to say no. Koh Tsu Koon is not here today, but I want to say that Koh kept the environment and prevented overdevelopment in Penang Hill.
“Nobody knows Penang better than Gerakan,” he said.
He also vowed that Gerakan would make a comeback in the Penang state legislature to act as a check-and-balance against the current government.
Gerakan, which had led the state administration since 1969, was wiped out from the Penang state assembly in the 2008 General Election.
Mah also noted that Gerakan was the first in BN to identify potential candidates following the 2013 general election and appointed them as coordinators.
The party is even in the process of preparing local manifestos that the party would be contesting, he added.
In contrast, he said federal opposition politicians often change from one seat to another, showing no loyalty to their voters.
As an example, he said DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang had contested in 11 general elections over the span of 50 years, and was a candidate in eight parliamentary seats and seven state seats.