Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu(林苍祐)

Tun Dato' Seri Dr. Lim Chong Eu (林苍祐) is a Malaysian politician who served as the second Chief Minister of Penang for a record 21 years. He was also the founding president of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, a member of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.

Dr Lim was born in 1919 in Penang. He attended school at the Penang Free School, where he was the King's Scholar in 1937. He later obtained a degree in medical and surgery from the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, in 1944.

In 1951, he was appointed to the Penang Local Council and in 1955, he was appointed a member of the Federal Legislature.

In the March 1958 party elections, he challenged Tun Tan Cheng Lock and won the presidency with a majority of 22 votes.

After the victory, he called an extraordinary general meeting to amend the Constitution consolidate the power of the Central Committee. This was met with strong resistance by Tun Tan Siew Sin and his supporters.

Although the proposal was passed with a single-vote majority, the move left the Party split. At the same time, the MCA under Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu also had severe political differences with the then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

The crisis worsened especially on the eve of the 1959 general elections when Tun Dr Lim demanded 40 parliamentary seats and also wanted to make Chinese an official language.

The Tunku increased the seats allocated to MCA from 28 to 31 but this was rejected and their relationship worsened.

During the one-year period when the MCA was under Tun Dr Lim, the party was under tremendous pressure from within and outside. In December 1960, Tun Dr Lim left the MCA and in 1962, he formed the United Democratic Party. Dr Cheah Toon Lock became the Acting President with the resignation of Tun Dr Lim.

He was one of the founder members of the Opposition Party Gerakan before the 1969 General Election. The formation of Gerakan has thrown the Chinese into a dilemma, weakened their political strength and above all, eroded the political representation of the MCA as the only party for the Chinese community. Gerakan joined the ruling Barisan Nasional after winning the Penang State Government in 1969.

Dr Lim served as Chief Minister of Penang from 1969 to 1990. In the Malaysian General Elections of October 1990, a crisis occurred as the incumbent Chief Minister Lim Chong Eu lost his state seat and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan) had less seats than UMNO in the Penang State Assembly. A crisis was averted when Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, the then president of Gerakan, was able to convince the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad to allow a Chinese to continue being the Chief Minister.

Dr Lim has since retired from politics and concentrates on business. He is currently the chairman and advisor for several large corporations. In 2007, Dr Lim was named founding chancellor of Wawasan Open University.

(source: wikipedia)

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