Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 26.1.2016
BN-controlled mainstream media continues to paint a false, negative and distorted picture of the Penang state government’s efforts to protect our hills with sustainable development. It is sad that the comments made by NGOs which are deemed favourable to the state government are not even reported or deliberately slanted against the state government.
Such demonisation of the Penang state government and the Chief Minister by the mainstream media has intensified despite explanations and public dialogues held between the Penang Chief Minister and NGOs. Lately the Chief Minister received an explanation from an NGO, the Penang Forum, rebutting a report from The Star following a fruitful dialogue with the Chief Minister on what they had actually said to the press. Unfortunately Penang Forum’s comments were either not reported or misreported by the mainstream media. Email by Penang Forum as follows:-
Dear Chief Minister,
1. On 14 January 2016, the STAR reported that you were “disappointed that, despite sharing all the information available to us, they still raise the same issue..” This was in reference to the Dialogue you had with the Penang Forum on 11 January 2016.
You further implied, in the same report, that the Penang Forum “do not understand and are confused..”
We understand that you made these remarks on your assumption that the Penang Forum had issued a new Statement after the Dialogue and repeated the same points. Since your views are now in the public domain, we wish to state categorically that no new Statement was issued by the Penang Forum after the Dialogue. What the Press reported were all based on our original Statement and Dato Agatha Foo’s paper on Special Projects which were handed to you and to all those attending the Dialogue.
The Press were present throughout the Dialogue and must have followed your clarifications and the exchanges that took place. If they chose not to report in a comprehensive, balanced manner, surely that is not the doing of the Penang Forum.
2. After the Dialogue, I was asked by reporters what I had thought of the meeting. My answer incorporated the following points:
i. That the Dialogue was excellent, constructive and positive.
ii. That the CM was willing to spend so much time with a CSO on an issue of concern spoke well of the CM and the State Government.
iii. That the CM was willing to involve two of our members to interact and work together with the State Authorities augurs well for the development of Penang.
iv. That the Penang Forum was sincerely grateful to the CM for his willingness to listen to the people and that we looked forward to more such dialogues in the future.
None of the above was reported by the Press.
We trust that this clarification clears the air. May we reiterate our thanks to you again and we hope that we will be able to work together in the interest of Penang.
Dato Dr. Sharom Ahmat
On behalf of the Penang Forum
January 20 2016
—–Mandarin Version —