GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia - Penang Barisan Nasional chief Teng Chang Yeow remains adamant that he has the right to choose the state seat in his face-off with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
"As Chief Minister, he (Lim) should be bold enough to face voters from different ethnic groups," said Teng, referring to the Padang Kota seat as a Chinese-majority constituency.
He added that an area with a multi-racial composition would serve well as a good battleground for both parties.
"So far, Lim has only accepted one condition, that is to contest only one state seat, but he has yet to agree to the second condition, which is to allow me to pick the seat."
The former three-term Padang Kota assemblyman also said that the possible contest between them should be based on their proposed policies and not be a fight between individuals.
When asked which seat would be the "battleground" for them, Teng replied that he had ruled out any single-majority state seats.
"Right now, I am considering two options. If Lim accepts my conditions, then I will name the seat," he said.
He also said that he was not the one who issued the challenge to Lim first.
"In my interview with an online news portal, I only said that it is up to Lim if he wants to contest against me. Therefore, I can't be responsible for the article's headline which stated Teng willing to face off with Guan Eng in GE13'," he explained at the state Barisan headquarters in Jalan Datuk Keramat yesterday.
Meanwhile, state Umno Youth chief Dr Shaik Hussein Mydin urged Lim to accept Teng's conditions and prove to Penangites that he was a leader for all races by contesting in a mixed-race seat.
"If he doesn't accept the challenge, it shows that he is a selfish leader," he said.
In a response to Teng's statements, Lim said Teng was trying to run away from the Padang Kota state seat.
"This only shows that he dare not go back to his own seat (which he won for three terms from 1995-2008).
"He is not confident of winning it back," he said, adding that he would give a detailed response after reading Teng's written statement.
Lim had stated earlier that he would slug it out with Teng only for the Padang Kota state seat and if Teng agreed to this, he (Lim) would not contest a parliamentary seat.
Prior to this, Teng was reported as saying that he was willing to have a face-off with Lim in the elections on condition that he (Teng) gets to pick the state seat.
Padang Kota has about 78 per cent Chinese voters, Indians and others (16 per cent) and Malays (almost 6 per cent).
The seat is now held by DAP's Chow Kon Yeow.
Of the 40 state seats in Penang, only a third are mixed-race.
It is speculated that Teng may contest in either the Bukit Tengah or Machang Bubok state seat.