CONTEMPORARY MALAYSIA

con·tem·po·rar·y - Modern times in its generic sense, living, occurring, or existing, at the same time; often also used as a synonym for "modern" Ma·lay·sia - A country of southeast Asia consisting of the southern Malay Peninsula and the northern part of the island of Borneo.

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GEORGE TOWN (April 23, 2008): Datuk Lee Kah Choon has quit Gerakan in reaction to the party's decision to issue him a show-cause letter for accepting the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government's appointment as a director for InvestPenang and Penang Development Corporation (PDC).

Lee, who had quit as party's deputy secretary-general and other posts last month to take responsibility for the party's poor showing in the March 8 polls, termed his decision to withdraw his membership as "exorcising the political ghost".

The former Jelutong MP and health parliamentary secretary had lost in his bid for the Machang Bubok state seat. If he had won and the Barisan Nasional (BN) took Penang, he was among three people considered for the chief minister's post.

"This way, I hope we can put the matter to rest and move forward with some serious tasks at hand," Lee said in a press statement.

He also reiterated his stand of withdrawing from active politics to focus on serving the society as a citizen.

"My objective is clear and it has remained consistent throughout my political career, which is to serve the people. This is the reason I accepted the positions in both state investment agencies.

"I had announced earlier my decision to retire from active politics and to accept a non-political role to serve the socio-economic interest of Penang. My decision is motivated by the fact the Penang's interest cannot be compromised by any political consideration," he said.

He added that since his decision was not accepted by the Gerakan leadership, he felt it is best for him to retreat totally from party politics.

"I believe that due to the projected economic slowdown which may affect the state's export-oriented economic performance, the focus now should be on job creation and measures to ensure sustainable growth instead of continuous politicking," he said.

On acting Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon's criticisms that Lee lacks experience in promoting investment in the manufacturing industry, Lee said the criticism was inaccurate.

"My professional and service record speaks for itself and if any, the criticism drives me to achieve more for Penang."

On Sunday (April 20), Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's announcement of Lee's appointment as a PDC director and InvestPenang executive chairman created a stir with BN leaders lashing out at Lee.

Gerakan adviser Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik had said Lee made a wrong move and "pitied" Lee as he had a difficult job ahead of him while Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Lee should not have accepted the posts as it was not a normal practice for BN to work with the Opposition.