Saturday, March 15, 2008

Guan Eng: Penang Umno leaders cutting their nose to spite their face

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Guan Eng: Penang Umno leaders cutting their nose to spite their face
By: Opalyn Mok (Fri, 14 Mar 2008)

PENANG (March 14, 2008): Penang Umno leaders' proposal to the federal government to withdraw funding for all mega-projects in Penang is tantamount to cutting their nose to spite their face, said Penang Chief Minister (CM) Lim Guan Eng.

Lim said it is obvious their proposal is an act of revenge and that they have not seriously thought it out before making such proposals.

"They should respect the people's decision. If they do not respect the people's decision, I feel that it does not fulfill our democratic aspirations anymore and they also do not respect the constitution which clearly stated that the people's decision must be respected," he said.

He said the Umno leaders' proposal is an immediate knee-jerk reaction which is not appropriate and could lead to the downfall of Penang and ultimately the country.
"These (type of) Umno leaders ... I don't know what to say. Everyone can make suggestions but have they thought it out before making such proposals?"

"If this is the way to seek revenge, then I suppose the state government could also do the same towards those who do not support the state government but we will not do such things because we want to be fair to all," he said.
However, Lim feels that Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will not take such irresponsible steps.

Even though the state has fallen out of the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s hands, he said the Prime Minister is still the Prime Minister for all Malaysians, including Penangites.
"Furthermore, he is a Penangite himself and this is his home state," he said.

Lim added that the BN still received 51% percent of the votes in Malaysia and he posed a question asking the Prime Minister if he wanted to only represent the 51% in Malaysia or 100%.
"It just does not make sense if he only wants to be a PM for the 51%. Then who will be the PM for the remaining 49% Malaysians? Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim?" he asked.

Gerakan also does not agree with Umno's proposal as the party's acting president and former CM Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon issued a statement saying that the mega projects are crucial for the future economy and quality of life for Penang and its neighbouring states.
"Major infrastructure projects for Penang such as the second Penang bridge, the Penang Outer Ring Road, Monorail and public transport system, expansion of airport and port as promised by the federal government under the BN should continue for the benefit of the people," he said in the statement.

Koh said the successful implementation of those projects will ensure that Penang will continue to grow as the hub for the Northern Corridor Economic Region and Indonesia-Malaysia- Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).
"Gerakan appeals to the federal government to continue and to expedite the implementation of these projects," he said.

At the same time, Koh also adviced the DAP leaders of the state government to avoid engaging in political rhetorics.
"They should adopt a constructive and positive approach to sustain inter-ethnic harmony and social stability," he said.

He urged them to take steps to provide a conducive environment to ensure the smooth implementation of all projects for continued economic development for Penang.

Lim and Koh were both responding to a statement by the state Opposition leaders, namely Umno, led by Datuk Azhar Ibrahim yesterday evening who had called for the funding of the projects to be withdrawn.

Azhar had also called for RapidPenang bus services to be stopped and "given" to other states that needed it.

"The BN government has promised all these to the people but the people had rejected the BN government by voting for the DAP and PKR. So, we won't give them all these mega-projects. Let them see what DAP and PKR can do for them," he had reportedly said.

Guan Eng: We will listen
PENANG (March 14, 2008): The Penang government is always open and will listen to any views by any dissenting groups but if they insist on holding demonstrations, it is their right to do so as long as it is held peacefully, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

"We believe in the freedom of speech and assembly as long as it is peaceful. Anybody who wants to protest, we have no qualms about it but please do it based on facts and not based on certain interests or to try and test the state government," he said.

Speaking in a press conference after a meeting with 21 Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in his office in Komtar, Lim said the state government is a united front that should not be tested on their commitment to represent all Penangites.

"Don't test us on our commitment towards establishing integrity and accountability and don't test us on our commitment to listen to all the voices of Penangites," he said.

"If they want to come and give their views, we are willing to listen but if they want to demonstrate, that is their right. I hope they won't provoke sentiments that are not true," he added.

He was commenting on a plan by certain groups to stage a protest in Komtar against the state government's stand in not using the New Economic Policy (NEP) but an open tender system instead.

"We will not back down on the open tender system because the NEP is associated with corruption, cronyism and inefficiency, " Lim reiterated.

"We want an open tender system but they raised so much hue and cry. If they want to test us, they can go ahead and test us. We have the full exco support on this and we won't back down on that," he said.

Earlier, on his meeting with the 21 Muslim organisations, Lim again reiterated that the state government has no intention of sidelining any group or races.

"We are a state government for all and we listen to the voices of the people and we want to represent everyone in Penang," he said.

He reassured Muslims that the state government emphasised on integrity and the status of Islam in the state will never be disputed.

"Please do not listen to any rumours about the state government wanting to tone down Azan (the call for prayers) or anything like that. In fact, this is the first time I've heard about such things," he said.
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Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."

(Muttafaq 'alaih)

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