Monday, 5 March 2012

Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) seeking love from Penangites

Seeking love from Penangites 

One Man's Meat By PHILIP GOLINGAI

Malaysia’s ‘love party’ hopes Penangites will give it a chance and send at least three of its members to Parliament and the state assembly.

THE Thaksin Shinawatra of Batu Kawan hobbled from table to table at a school hall in Seberang Prai, Penang, shaking hands with dinner guests before reaching the VIP table.

The 50-year-old politician was on crutches. He had broken his right ankle at his home in Penang on New Year’s Day.

During the dinner, organised by the Benevolent House of Charity, volunteers sold Chinese newspapers to collect funds to build a Chinese school.

The total collected was RM1,950 and, true to his moniker, Huan Cheng Guan topped up the amount to RM5,000 by donating RM3,050. He also donated RM1,000 to Benevolent House of Charity.
Strong support: Huan, on crutches, being greeted by guests at the Benevolent House of Charity dinner at SJK (C) Keng Koon hall in Bukit Mertajam.

“The money comes from my personal savings. It is for a noble cause,” he said.

It was a typical Sunday night for the vice-president of Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM).

He had earlier spent 20 minutes at a Chinese wedding in Dewan SJK (C) Kampung Valdor, a few kilometres from SJK (C) Keng Koon where the charity dinner was held.

“As a politician, you need to go to the ground to meet the people. You need to have the personal touch,” he said.

Ninety minutes into the dinner, Huan left for nearby Restoran Long House to meet PCM members and supporters for a seafood dinner.

“This is not an election dinner. The election is still a long time away,” he told about two dozen guests, mostly Indians, seated at three tables.

While his guests waited for curry prawn and fried rice to be served, I interviewed Huan.

“Why are you called the Thaksin of Batu Kawan?” I asked. I was told he is as generous as the former Thai prime minister.

“Who said that? I’m not the Thaksin of Batu Kawan,” replied Huan, who describes himself as “blunt and rough”.

“Maybe I am called that because even though I am no longer their MP, I seldom reject associations and people seeking my help as long as they are for a good cause.

“Maybe it is because I am not stingy for if I have RM100, I don’t mind donating RM90 as I can’t take my money along with me when I die.”

Huan is the only recognisable face in the Penang-based party born on Aug 2, 2009.

“Many people know me as I’ve been an MP and a Gerakan vice-president,” said the politician who “sacked himself” from Gerakan in 2009 after it suspended him for three years for openly attacking the party and its leadership.

Huan was elected Batu Kawan MP in 2004. In 2008, he was dropped so that Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon could contest the constituency, only to lose.

Huan contested in the Bukit Tambun state seat (in the Batu Kawan parliamentary constituency) and lost.

The president of PCM is 41-year-old businessman Tang Weng Chew who, according to Huan, is very busy as he has business overseas. And the secretary-general is 35-year-old accountant Loo Kien Seang, who is equally busy.

“I asked Loo to contest (in the coming polls) but he said: ‘if you want me to contest, I will resign (from PCM)’,” he said.

PCM was formed as a third force to be an alternative to Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. Many naysayers predicted the party would not last more than one or two years.

“But we are still alive and kicking. We don’t have any internal problems. In our party, position is not important,” he said.

On allegations that his party was pro-Barisan, the vice-president said: “PCM has limited resources so we are focusing on Penang.”

In the coming polls, PCM will contest in two parliamentary and eight state seats in Penang.

“As a small party we have to be realistic and we target to win one parliament and two state seats,” said Huan, who is eyeing the Batu Kawan parliamentry seat and the Machang Bubok state seat.

He hopes Penangites will give PCM a chance to voice out their issues.

“Pakatan has too much power and when they have too much power, they become very arrogant,” he said.

The “love party” is expecting some love from Penangites.

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Malaysia's 13th General Election Tell-tale signs, by June or next year?

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