Teng said if Lim was indeed a chief minister for all races, he should not be reluctant to contest against others in any state seat. The Gerakan secretary-general said his face-off with Lim, should it materialise, would be a battle about policies and a multiracial seat would be the most suitable battleground. "A multiracial seat that reflects the acceptance of the (government's) policy by all Malaysians is needed.
How can you go to a Chinese majority seat and claim that other races also support your policies? "The DAP's political struggle is for all Malaysians, regardless of race. Same as mine and the BN's.
Therefore, Guan Eng, who claims to be a chief minister for all, should not be afraid to contest against me in a multiracial seat." Teng was responding to Lim, who had challenged him on Sunday to face-off in his old seat in Padang Kota.
With Lim declaring that he would only face-off with Teng in Padang Kota and nowhere else, Teng said the chief minister was not like the latter's father, Kit Siang, who waited for his rivals -- former chief ministers the late Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu and Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon -- to pick their seats before naming himself as the opposition candidate to challenge them in the 1986, 1990, 1995 and 1999 general elections.
"He should have his father's boldness. Why is he afraid? He should let me decide (where we will face-off)." Teng added that he would not contest in a state seat dominated by a single race, indicating that Padang Kota, where he was assemblyman for three terms from 1995 to 2008, was out of the picture.
The state seat, one of three in the Tanjong parliamentary constituency, has the fewest registered voters at 15,460, of which 77.6 per cent are Chinese, 15.8 per cent Indians and six per cent Malays. Teng said he also would not consider any Malay-dominated seats like Permatang Pauh and Permatang Pasir because Pakatan Rakyat would then accuse him of "needing to rely on Umno for votes".
When asked which seat he wanted to contest in, Teng said he was studying polls and surveys on the people's feedback, and looking at two options. He said he would make the decision by today and the finalised Penang BN candidates' list would be presented to the coalition's national chairman Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for approval.
Asked about his likely chances, Teng said he was up for the challenge as the fight was not a battle between two individuals. "Teng Chang Yeow is a nobody while Lim Guan Eng is a tokong (deity). I cannot compare myself with him because he is up there and I am just a layman. "As I have said, this is a battle about policies."
Earlier, Teng said he wanted to set the record straight about the face-off and the conditions he had set, explaining that he was not the one who first threw the challenge. He said he told an online news portal in a recent interview that it was "up to him (Guan Eng) to contest against me" and could not be held responsible for the story's headline that read: "Teng willing to face-off with Guan Eng in GE13".
"Lim reacted the next day by saying that he would accept my challenge. Words were put into my mouth. I deemed his reaction as his challenge to me, so I accepted it.
"This will clear the air as to why I imposed conditions for the face-off," he said, referring to the condition that he be the one to pick the battleground and that Lim must give up contesting for a parliamentary seat.