POH, Nov 18 — The Perak DAP leadership has accepted M.Kulasegaran’s decision to reject its offer to be vice-chairman and will not “force” the leader to change his mind.
State chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham told The Malaysian Insider this evening that the party would respect his former deputy’s decision but still hoped to work closely with him.
“We still wanted him to work with us in the state committee, which was why we invited him onboard.
“However, if he has rejected the offer, we cannot force him to change his mind,” he said when contacted.
Ngeh added that the party still considered Kulasegaran as invaluable to Perak DAP due to his seniority and political experience.
“We still hope to work with him in the future, in his capacity as an experienced and capable politician,” he said.
Ngeh would not field questions on whether Kulasegaran’s decision was a direct snub of his leadership, expressing hope that the issue would not be played up in the media.
“I think it is best we lay it to rest, there is no need to comment on these presumptions. Kulasegaran has the right to make his decision and we respect it,” he said.
In a media statement today, Kulasegaran announced that he would not accept the party’s offer to be vice-chairman, citing the present circumstances in Perak DAP as his primary reason.
“After having weighed all opinions and taking into consideration the present political development and circumstances within Perak DAP, I have decided to decline the cooption offer from the state committee as a state committee member and as state vice chairman,” he said.
The leader had suffered a major defeat during last Sunday’s party polls when his entire team of supporters were wiped out from the state leadership.
Kulasegaran himself, formerly a deputy chairman in Perak DAP, had failed to secure a spot in one of the 15 state committee posts up for grabs.
The polls results were vastly different from the party’s previous elections in 2008 when Kulasegaran emerged top and polled the highest number of votes, above both his archrivals in the party, Ngeh and his cousin Nga Kor Ming.
This Sunday, it was both Ngeh and Nga who polled the top two highest votes and those said to be on their team sailed to an easy victory, snapping up 14 of the 15 state committee posts.
The duo was later reappointed to their original posts with Ngeh as chairman and Nga as the party secretary.
Only one member of Kulasegaran’s team made it into the team – Jalong assemblyman Leong Mee Meng – but even then, she only scraped through at the last 15th spot.
Despite being the former state treasurer, Leong was not given a post in the committee.
Others like incumbent state committee members Thomas Su Keong Siong, Seah Leong Peng, Keong Meng Sing and Cheong Chee Khing, as well as newcomer Frankie Wong, all known Kulasegaran supporters, failed to make the cut.
Despite this, the newly-elected committee agreed unanimously to co-opt Kulasegaran back into the team as vice-chairman, along with former vice-chairman A. Sivanesan and three others.
The party’s constitution provides for the co-option of five state committee members, to be handpicked by the newly elected team.
Tomorrow, Sivanesan, a close ally to both warring factions, will announce his decision in a press conference at 11am on whether to accept the vice-chairman’s post.
Earlier, the Sungkai assemblyman had told The Malaysian Insider that he was uncomfortable with the idea of entering the state committee through the “back door”, pointing out that he had lost in the polls and fully respected the decision of the delegates.
Today, he said that before making his decision, he would take into account several factors including the issue of party unity and feedback from his supporters and party loyalists.
“I have been receiving many SMSes from leaders and supporters so I will take everything into account. But whatever it is, the party’s interest must come first,” he said.
When asked if he would likely accept the post, Sivanesan declined to comment but added, “I will say this much – I will not let down the people and the party.”