Sdr Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (President from 2007 - 2013)

Born in Penang in 1949, Dr Koh Tsu Koon attended Phor Tay Primary School, Chung Ling High School and Methodist Boys School. He graduated from Princeton University in 1970 with a degree in physics, and obtained his Ph.D from the University of Chicago in 1977 in economics and sociology of education. Dr Koh taught in Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang from 1975 and was promoted to Deputy Dean of Education in 1978. He was a Fulbright scholar at Stanford University from 1980 to 1981.

 

 

Dr Koh joined Gerakan and won the Tanjung parliamentary seat in the 1982 general election (GE). In the following year, he became the first Gerakan Youth Chief, a post he held till 1990. After his defeat by Lim Kit Siang in the 1986 GE, Koh served as political secretary to the second Chief Minister of Penang, Dr Lim Chong Eu from 1986 to 1990.

 

 

After Dr Lim was defeated by Lim Kit Siang in his state seat which he held for six (6) terms in the 1990 GE, Dr Koh, who was a first-term state assemblyman from Tanjung Bungah, was selected to be Penangs third chief minister to lead the Barisan Nasional (BN) state government in Penang. Dr Koh became a vicepresident of Gerakan in 1991. In the 1995 GE, Dr Koh defeated Lim Kit Siang who came to fight the Tanjung Bungah seat in a bid to take over Penang. He went on to lead the BN to landslide victories in the next two (2) GEs in the 1999 and 2004.

 

 

During his four-term tenure as CM for 18 years, he built on the foundation laid by Dr Lim to push Penangs electronics industry towards hi-tech and high valueadd, diversify into automation and robotics, medical devices, bio-pharmaceuticals, etc. He also supported and promoted the development of higher education (Penang Medical College, Wawasan Open University, etc), sports (especially squash, badminton and football) and culture, having laid the ground work for George Town’s eventual successful UNESCO World Heritage Listing.

 

 

This period also saw the completion of major infrastructures in Penang, namely the North-South Highway, Butterworth-Kulim Highway, Butterworth Outer Ring Road, the Jelutong and Bayan Lepas Expressway (renamed after Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu), expansion of the airport and container terminal, the Swettenham Pier Cruise Centre, Telok Bahang Reservoir Dam, Bukit Gelugor Power Plant, George Town and Bayan Lepas Sewerage Plants, Penang International Sports Arena (PISA), Batu Kawan Stadium, Balik Pulau Stadium, Caring Society Complex, etc.Also approved and launched were the Penang Bridge widening, Penang Second Bridge, Mengkuang Reservoir Dam expansion, etc.

 

 

Riding on the property market boom starting in the early 90s, Dr Kohs administration initiated and insisted on a new policy to encourage private developers to contribute directly in the provision of affordable housing for the people of Penang, delivering over 100,000 low-cost (LC) and low-medium cost (LMC) units, while the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and federal agencies such as UDA and PERDA also contributed some 50,000 LC and LMC units. This is evidenced by the changed skyline of Penang with many high-rise buildings.

 

 

In the 2008 General Election, Dr Koh decided not to continue as Chief Minister, but to return to federal politics. He contested the parliamentary seat of Batu Kawan, but lost in the midst of an anti-establishment political tsunami which swept Peninsular Malaysia. Overall, the party only won two (2) out of 12 MP seats and four (4) out of 31 state seats.

 

 

In November 2008, after serving as an acting president since 8 April 2007 following the retirement of long-serving party president Dr Lim Keng Yaik, Dr Koh was formally elected as Gerakans fourth president. Hence, Dr Koh and his team took over the partys helm at its most difficult period. However, they remained undaunted and steadfast, fully determined to revive the party, by launching the 11388 strategy in May 2008. He went around to recruit new members, including four (4) independent state assemblymen (three in Sabah and one in Pahang) to join the party. He actively engaged issues and even participated in a televised public debate with the new chief minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng.

 

 

Dr Koh returned to public office in April 2009, when he was appointed as a Senator in the Dewan Negara and as a minister in the Prime Ministers Department in DatoSri Najib Tun Razaks inaugural Cabinet in charge of national unity and performance management. He was put in charge of Najibs Government Transformation Programme (GTP), which addresses and monitors the performance of the ministriesnational key result areas (NKRAs) through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). GTP provides the basis for the countrys Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) to achieve high income economy in a sustainable and inclusive manner. He also handles issues related to inter-ethnic relations and inter-religious harmony, in the spirit of 1Malaysia.

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