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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

‘Penang neither anti-Malay nor anti-Chinese’

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:29 PM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Penang state exco and state DAP leader Chow Kon Yeow asks BN and its media allies to stop fuelling racial discontent.

PETALING JAYA: Penang state exco Chow Kon Yeow today defended the DAP-led state administration from accusations of racial bias and urged Barisan Nasional to look at bigger problems such as graft.
“As far as the mainstream media are concerned, it is easier to attack Penang than investigate more serious forms of abuse of power and corruption in Barisan Nasional-governed states,” said the state DAP chairman.
The Tanjong MP and Padang Kota state assemblyman cited examples of how little discourse there has been on Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s “rule” in the state.
Likewise, he added, there was also a “blackout” on the subject of defence procurements, especially with regards questionable commissions paid out in the purchase of Scorpene submarines.

“By far, these issues warrant greater scrutiny from the media,” said Chow.
“After reading recent news reports and opinion columns in the mainstream media, one could be forgiven for thinking that sizable segments of the Malay electorate are fast losing confidence in the ability of the Pakatan Rakyat Penang state government to act in their interests,” he said.
Chow charged that there appears to be a “concerted effort” in painting the Penang government as “unfair, uncaring, and insensitive to the needs of the Malay community”. Some had even literally taken it to the streets, spray painting their grouses against the state government on public and private property.
Condemning the mainstream media for playing down such acts of vandalism, Chow said it seemed that even fake bomb threats have become legitimate ways for dissatisfied people to voice discontent with their government, as long the government in power is Pakatan Rakyat and not BN.
Chow said BN’s propaganda was also being inconsistent.
“One day, we would be accused of marginalising Malays but on the very next day MCA will say we are sidelining Chinese interests. It is regrettable media reports have often produced such comments isolated of one another, seldom providing background or basis to these reckless comments,” he said.
Multiracial approach
Chow stressed that the Penang state government is multiracial in its approach be it at the micro level like enforcing compliance with local bylaws or at the macro level like addressing future needs.
“I find it difficult to view any attempt at racialising problems as a genuine concern for the betterment of Penang,” said Chow, adding that such allegations have been responded to again and again.
Chow asked BN and its “media allies” to stop fuelling racial discontent.
MCA has in the past few days been bombarding DAP with anti-Chinese accusations, with the latest being in relation to Penang government’s decision to award only 0.2 per cent of state projects to Chinese contractors.
Penang Wanita MCA chairman Tan Cheng Liang had asked if this meant that the government thought the Chinese was “incompetent”.
Tan had referred to a statement made by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in the Chinese media that,
since 2008, the Penang government has awarded contracts for 968 projects worth RM125 million, of which 99 per cent were awarded to Bumiputera contractors.
Tan said of the total, only two contracts were awarded to non-Bumiputera contractors — a maintenance project for the Penang Hill cable car (2008) worth RM700,004 and the other, awarded in 2009, was worth RM15,000.
Tan had also lodged a similar complaint against Lim over the award of Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) contracts to non-Bumiputera contractors.

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