Press Conference Statement by Chow Kon Yeow in DAP Penang Headquarters on Saturday, 30th January 2010:
Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim should not allow political frustrations and Lim Guan Eng’s refusal to endorse his decision to award the tender of the management of Bukit Jambul Golf Club to a RM2 company to make baseless personal attacks and attempt to break up Penang Pakatan Rakyat
DAP Penang and all our elected representatives express full and unqualified support for the continued leadership of DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng as Penang Chief Minister against the irresponsible and vicious personal attacks by PKR MP for Bayan Baru Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim. By labelling Lim as “dictator, a chauvinist and communist-minded”, Datuk Seri Zahrian sounds no different from UMNO in its racially extremist lies against DAP leaders.
Zahrain is also wrong when he had questioned why a third of Lim’s speech during the first Pakatan Rakyat National convention on 19 December 2009 was in Mandarin. Clearly Zahrain was absent as Lim had spoken 85% in Bahasa Malaysia with the remainder 15% in English and Mandarin. But even if one third of Lim’s speech had been in Mandarin, is it a crime to speak in one own’s mother tongue? This extremist approach befits a typical Penang UMNO leader and not a PKR or Pakatan Rakyat leader.
Zahrain should not try to provoke sentiments and attempt to break up Pakatan Rakyat in Penang by claiming that PKR has no say in the administration of the PR state government. Lim was attacked by UMNO repeatedly as a puppet of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the issue of appointment of First Deputy Chief Minister following the resignation of Mohamad Fairus last year, which Lim insisted is Datuk Seri Anwar’s choice.
If PKR is not respected, why then were the words “strengthening local government democracy” used instead of “restoring local government elections”? If PKR Penang is not respected, why then was Zahrain conferred in his capacity as Penang PKR State Chairman the high honour and title of Datuk Seri last year? No present DAP elected representative has been accorded such a high honour or even the the lesser Datukship.
There is no doubt that Zahrain is politically frustrated over his removal as Penang PKR Chairman. Further, Lim had informed me of Zahrain frustrations with Lim for refusing to endorse Zahrain’s decision last year as Chairman of Island Golf Properties in awarding a tender for the privatised management of the Bukit Jambul Golf Club to a RM2 company. As Chairman of PDC, Lim had recommended that the Board of Directors over-rule the award of tender and called for a fresh retender.
The Board of Directors of PDC had accepted Lim’s recommendation that to give the tender of running the only golf club in Penang worth tens of millions of ringgit to a RM2 company would not comply with Penang’s CAT governance of Competency, Accountability and Transparency. Giving contracts to a RM 2 company would make a mockery of change that Penangnites voted for in the 2008 elections and make Penang Pakatan Rakyat no different from BN.
By holding firm to CAT, the Penang state government has been able to turn a projected deficit of RM 35 million in 2008 budget to a record surplus of RM 88 million. Penang is proud to be the first state to hold public open tenders of government projects and procurement contracts and also conducting it through the internet(e-tender). By sticking to CAT principles, Penang is the first state or federal government in Malaysia to gain praise from Transparency International.
Zahrain may want to personally burn his bridges with DAP Penang but he should not allow his political frustrations and Lim’s refusal to endorse his award of tender to a RM2 company to attempt to break up Pakatan Rakyat in Penang.
* Chow Kon Yeow, DAP Penang Chairman & MP for Tanjong