Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kula calls off tell-all session

Perak DAP deputy chief M Kulasegaran has called off a tell-all press conference over an apparent crisis in the state party leadership at the eleventh hour.

It is understood that he was persuaded by the top DAP leadership to lay down his arms in a one-week cooling off period.

The press conference was planned today to expose allegations that the 'Ngeh-Nga' cousins have been undermining leaders not aligned to them.

The 'Ngeh-Nga' faction - so-called because of state chairperson Ngeh Khoo Ham and secretary Nga Kor Ming - have been in conflict with many state leaders who are uncomfortable with their allegedly authoritarian style.

This conflict was suppose to be resolved during a high-level mediation talks in Ipoh last night involving top national party leaders, including party advisor Lim Kit Siang.

However, the peace talks fell apart with Kulasegaran's camp claiming that the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction has refused to compromise or keep to their promises.

Kulasegaran 'frustrated'

Contacted today, Kulasegaran said he would be going overseas for a week and will call for a press conference when he returns.

He conceded that he had abruptly left the mediation talks last night after 90 minutes because the stalemate could not be broken.

"I am frustrated that no meaningful solution could be found to resolve the problems with the state leadership," he said.

Kulasegaran confirmed that he and several other leaders are upset over attempts by the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction to tighten their grip over Perak DAP.

"They are desperate to win and stay in power at whatever the cost," he said.

"The principle of the a party united in its political struggle has been overtaken by self-interest and factional fighting."

'Enough is enough'

According to a source close to Kulasegaran, the mediation talks were held last night after the culmination of several events which had caused friction among state leaders.

The 'Ngeh (left) - Nga (right)' faction has been accused of reviving defunct branches while attempting to disqualify those allied to their detractors from voting in the upcoming state party polls on Nov 21.

Another accusation is that the cousins have been badmouthing Kulasegaran and several others state leaders, including elected state legislative assembly and parliament representatives, during statewide tours.

The source said that the cousins also have been busy establishing branches in state or parliament constituencies held by their detractors, such as that of Ipoh Barat and Jalong which are held by Kulasegaran and state treasurer Leong Mee Meng respectively, and running parallel service centres.

“We have been holding our tongue for a long time. But enough is enough,” said the source.

According to the source, the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back was when the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction started a petition among branches, which the majority are in their favour, to disqualify branches allied to their detractors.

“How can you disqualify these branches, such as Tebing Tinggi and Pasir Pedamar? These branches existed long before and were the lynchpin for the party in Perak prior to 2008,” said the source.

Either Ngeh or Nga must step down

During the mediation talks last night, the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction was given a severe reprimand by Lim and other national leaders for being overzealous.

Among others, Lim was said to have drawn analogies from the book 'The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris' by Peter Beinart to warn them that arrogance and overconfidence would lead to one's downfall.

In Greek mythology, Icarus constructed a set of wearable wings made of feathers held by wax. Against his father's instructions, Icarus flew too close to the sun causing the wax to melt and leading to the tragic hero plunging to a watery grave.

The source said Ngeh sidestepped the accusations and went off the tangent several times, thus raising temperatures to an already tense meeting.

It is understood that Kulasegaran and opponents to the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction feel that the only resolution to the 'crisis' is for either Ngeh or Nga to step down from their positions, to break their stranglehold on Perak DAP.

Numerous attempts were made to obtain comments from Ngeh and Nga. At press time, they have yet to respond.

Additional reporting by Humayun Kabir

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