Ngeh Koo Ham

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Ngeh Koo Ham
Datuk Ngeh KH.jpg
Ngeh in 2006
Speaker of the Perak State Legislative Assembly
In office
2 July 2018 – 12 May 2020
MonarchNazrin Shah
Menteri BesarAhmad Faizal Azumu
DeputyAminuddin Zulkipli
Preceded byS. Thangeswary
Succeeded byMohamad Zahir Abdul Khalid
Exco roles (Perak)
2008–2009Chairman of the Infrastructure, Public Utilities, Energy, Water and Non-Muslim Affairs
Faction represented in Dewan Rakyat
2008–2018Democratic Action Party
2018–Pakatan Harapan
Faction represented in Perak State Legislative Assembly
2004–2018Democratic Action Party
Personal details
Ngeh Koo Ham

(1961-09-29) 29 September 1961 (age 61)
Ayer Tawar, Perak, Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia)
Political partyDemocratic Action Party (Malaysia) (DAP)
Other political
Pakatan Harapan (PH)
Pakatan Rakyat (PR)
Barisan Alternatif (BA)
Gagasan Rakyat (GR)
SpouseCheok Foong Ling (石凤玲)
RelationsNga Kor Ming (cousin)
Alma materUniversiti Malaya
ProfessionAdvocate and solicitor

Dato' Ngeh Koo Ham (simplified Chinese: 倪可汉; traditional Chinese: 倪可漢; pinyin: Ní Kěhàn; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Gê Khó-hàn, Bàng-uâ-cê: Ngà̤ Kō̤-háng; born 29 September 1961), also known as James Ngeh, is a Malaysian politician and lawyer who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Beruas since March 2008. He served as Speaker of the Perak State Legislative Assembly from July 2018 to May 2020 and Member of the assembly (MLA) for Sitiawan from March 2004 to May 2018, Member of the Perak State Executive Council (EXCO) in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration under former Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin from March 2008 to the collapse of the PR administration in February 2009. He is a member of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a component party of presently the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and formerly PR opposition coalitions. He was also Deputy Secretary-General of DAP, member of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of DAP and State Chairman of DAP of Perak.

Personal life[edit]

A native of Ayer Tawar, Perak, Ngeh comes from an old Ayer Tawar Methodist family. Ngeh's parents were rubber tappers in Ayer Tawar. He was christened James by the late Rev. Koh Gie Bing. As a student, he was active in the Methodist Youth Fellowship and later with the Persatuan Kristian Varsiti (PKV, part of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) at Universiti Malaya where he obtained a Bachelor of Laws. He has also served on the Local Church Executive Council (LCEC) of the Ayer Tawar Chinese Methodist Church (ATCMC) and provided legal counsel to the Methodist Church in Malaysia. He is a regular communicant member of ATCMC where he often also provides translation during Sunday worship.

He married Cheok Foong Ling from Setiawan in 1992. They have three children.


Ngeh attended the Methodist English School, Ayer Tawar; Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan (SMJK) Shyr Tien, Ayer Tawar; and the (Methodist) Anglo-Chinese School, Setiawan. He went on to graduate from Universiti Malaya as a Bachelor of Laws.

Professional career[edit]

Ngeh practised as a lawyer with Nga Hock Cheh and Co. (no relation) in Sitiawan before starting his own law firm, Ngeh and Co, which is headquartered in Ayer Tawar, with branches in Ipoh, Perak and Kuala Lumpur.

In one of his more famous cases during his legal career, Ngeh Koo Ham represented Sitiawan businessman Yong Kon Fatt, who was sued by Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) in January 2005 for refusing to pay RM1,074 for sewerage services purportedly provided to his house at Taman Samudera in Lumut. The High Court sitting in Ipoh ruled that 'those who have made payments to IWK but had not received any sewerage services could demand refunds'.[1]

Political career[edit]

In DAP, Ngeh has been the party's chairperson in Perak since 2000 until 2014, when the post changed hands to Nga Kor Ming, his cousin.[2][3]

Ngeh first stood in the 1990 general election against Lim Keng Yaik for the parliamentary seat of Beruas. He nevertheless lost to Lim, president of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan) and a powerful Barisan Nasional (BN) cabinet minister, by a narrow margin.[4] In the 1995 general election, he contested but lost in the Batu Gajah seat. In the 1999 general election, he contested but lost in both the Ipoh Timor parliamentary seat and Pasir Pinji state seat in Perak.

Ngeh begun to be a state assemblyman for Sitiawan, Perak for three terms continuously following his victories in the 2004, 2008 and 2013 general elections. He also served as the head of the Opposition in the Perak State Legislative Assembly from 2004 to 2008. After 2008 election, with the formation of the Perak new state government by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition of DAP, People's Justice Party (PKR) and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS); which was faced with the problem of the candidate of new Chief Minister. Among the 3 parties, DAP has the most seats, but the Perak state constitution says that the Chief Minister must be a Malay Muslim. Ngeh, being the Chairman of the Perak DAP, is ethnic Chinese and a Christian.[citation needed] They initially agreed that Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin from PAS should be the Chief Minister but in the end try persuading the Sultan, Sultan Azlan Shah, to appoint Ngeh as the non-Malay, non-Muslim Chief Minister. They listed three candidates, the other two being Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and Mohd Radzi from PKR. Finally the Sultan rejected Ngeh and wanted to appoint a Malay who is a professional. All of the Malay state assemblymen in PKR have only Form 5 (Secondary school year 5) qualification. Thus Mohammad Nizar, being an engineer and carrying the highest position in PAS among the Perak PAS state assemblymen, became the new Chief Minister.[5] Ngeh was appointed to the state executive committee as senior state executive councillor, with the portfolios of Infrastructure and Public Amenities; Energy and Water; and Non-Muslim Affairs during the short-lived state government was led by PR from March 2008 to May 2009, which the PR state government had collapsed due to the 2009 Perak political crisis.[6]

In the 2008 and 2013 general elections, Ngeh also contested and won the Beruas parliamentary seat to become the Beruas MP and Sitiawan state assemblyman concurrently. In the 2018 general election (GE14), Ngeh contested just the parliamentary seat and did not contest his state seat which was abolished. After GE14 which saw the Pakatan Harapan (PH) taking over the federal and Perak state governments, Ngeh was appointed the Speaker of the Perak State Legislative Assembly on 3 July 2018 despite not being an assemblyman.[7] He is the first speaker of Chinese descent.[8] Ngeh resigns as the Perak Speaker on 12 May 2020 after the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH)'s state and federal governments in the 2020 political crisis.[9]

Controversies and issues[edit]

Anti-Islam remarks[edit]

In 2012, Ngeh drew flak with remarks over the "Innocence of Muslims" film which insulted Muhammad and Islam. Ngeh had allegedly tweeted: "Khairy wants Muslim protest against Sam Bacile. For Islam or for his political gains? Are Muslims wasting too much time and energy on this?"[10] Ngeh apologised after it received widespread criticisms from Muslims and had the post removed.[11]

Acceptance of Perak state Datukship award and title[edit]

In April 2008, Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak in conjunction with his 80th birthday, had bestowed Ngeh the Darjah Dato Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP) award which carries the title Dato'.[12] He is the first actively serving DAP politician to be conferred (and accepted) a Malaysian chivalrous title. Later in 2012, DAP chairman Karpal Singh had rebuked Ngeh and Teng Chang Khim on their acceptance "Datukship" awards of Perak in 2008 and Selangor in 2010 respectively; which had breached the party's long-standing principal agreed upon since the mid-1990s on DAP elected representatives receiving awards during their active political service.[13] Ngeh had claimed that the party's CEC had discussed and consented to the award that was conferred upon him.[14]

Election results[edit]

Perak State Legislative Assembly[15][16][17]
Year Constituency Votes Pct Opponent(s) Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
1999 N24 Pasir Pinji Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 7,849 46.11% Chan Kam (MCA) 8,868 52.10% 17,022 1,019 65.95%
2004 N50 Sitiawan Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 9,874 54.92% Ling Mee Lin (MCA) 4,737 26.35% 17,980 5,137 65.81%
2008 Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 12,381 74.38% Ding Siew Chee (MCA) 3,852 23.12% 16,645 8,529 70.43%
2013 Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 17,292 74.75% Ting Tai Fook (MCA) 5,472 23.66% 23,133 11,820 81.00%
Parliament of Malaysia[15][16][17]
Year Constituency Votes Pct Opponent(s) Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
1990 P062 Beruas, Perak Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 13,026 46.99% Lim Keng Yaik (GERAKAN) 13,889 50.11% 27,718 863 71.38%
1995 P063 Batu Gajah, Perak Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 18,576 46.32% Yeong Chee Wah (MCA) 20,155 50.25% 40,110 1,579 68.63%
1999 P061 Ipoh Timor, Perak Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 23,146 45.90% Thong Fah Chong (MCA) 25,273 50.12% 50,422 2,127 64.73%
Mohd Yusoff Omar (MDP) 427 0.85%
2008 P068 Beruas, Perak Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 15,831 51.36% Chang Ko Youn (GERAKAN) 14,003 45.43% 30,821 1,828 71.22%
2013 Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 21,939 56.51% Chang Ko Youn (GERAKAN) 16,882 43.49% 39,586 5,057 80.45%
2018 Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 41,231 68.01% Pang Chok King (GERAKAN) 13,277 21.90% 60,267 27,954 75.98%
Md Nazeer KM Hamid (PAS) 5,759 9.50%
2022 Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) 46,710 64.72% Ding Siew Chee (MCA) 12,724 17.63% 72,173 33,971 66.17%
Ong Kean Sing (GERAKAN) 12,739 17.65%

Honour and award[edit]


  1. ^ Prove, to collect, Property Times, 17 April 2004. Archived 11 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ LOOI, SYLVIA (15 December 2008). "Ngeh retains top post, Kula gets most votes at Perak DAP convention". The Star. Retrieved 16 April 2023.
  3. ^ "Kula's camp routed in Perak DAP polls". Malaysiakini. 14 November 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2023.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "DAP report Malaysia". 12 May 2008. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2008.
  5. ^ "Nizar is new Perak MB". Malaysiakini. 12 March 2008. Archived from the original on 13 March 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2008.
  6. ^ Hah Foong Lian (31 March 2008). "Perak names exco portfolios". The Star Online. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  7. ^ "Dato' Ngeh Koo Ham Appointed Perak State Assembly Speaker: 3 July 2018". Corporate, SUK Perak. Perak State Government. 3 July 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  8. ^ SHAMSUL KAMAL AMARUDIN and ZAHRATULHAYAT MAT ARIF (3 July 2018). "Ngeh Koo Ham new Perak state Speaker". New Straits Times. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  9. ^ Hah Foong Lian (12 May 2020). "Ngeh resigns as Perak Speaker". The Star Online. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Ngeh draws flak with remarks over anti-Islam film". The Star (Malaysia). Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Umno has doubts over Ngeh's apology to Muslims". The Star (Malaysia). Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Chief Justice heads Perak honours list". New Straits Times. 19 April 2008. Archived from the original on 10 June 2008.
  13. ^ "Karpal slams party strongmen Ngeh and Teng for receiving titles". The Star Online. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  14. ^ "CEC consented to my Datukship, says Ngeh". The Star Online. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Keputusan Pilihan Raya Umum Parlimen/Dewan Undangan Negeri" (in Malay). Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 11 July 2010. Percentage figures based on total turnout.
  16. ^ a b "Malaysia General Election". undiinfo Malaysian Election Data. Malaysiakini. Retrieved 4 February 2017. Results only available from the 2004 election.
  17. ^ a b "KEPUTUSAN PILIHAN RAYA UMUM 13". Sistem Pengurusan Maklumat Pilihan Raya Umum (in Malay). Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 5 May 2013. Results only available for the 2013 election.

External links[edit]