Press Statement By Caretaker Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 17.4.2018.
BN Penang is not only short of ideas by adopting a manifesto that is a copycat of Penang state government policies but is cruel in allowing Penangites to choke to death in traffic congestion. The lack of ideas, ideals and principles in BN was the reason why Penang was in decline when BN was in power under Dr Koh Tsu Koon as Penang Chief Minister.
Even Koh admitted this indirectly when Koh bemoaned the fact that Penang lost a great leader like Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, who could have led Penang to greater heights for 2 more terms as Chief Minister, if only Chong Eu was not defeated by Lim Kit Siang in the 1990 general elections. Koh took over as Penang Chief Minister after Chong Eu lost in the 1990 general elections. Is Koh not clearly conceding that Penang without Chong Eu, suffered a decline under his weak and indecisive leadership?
All the promises made by BN Penang’s manifesto can not be trusted because BN has not delivered, when even the promises by the Prime Minister are not fulfilled. What happened to the three promises by the Prime Minister to build the LRT but never fulfilled? What about the Prime Minister’s promise to build 9,999 units of public and affordable housing in my constituency Air Putih in the 2013 general elections? And yet when the Penang state government wants to build a Light Rail Transit (LRT), that BN refuses to do as promised, BN openly sabotages it.
When the Penang Pakatan state government first launched the RM100 senior citizens appreciation programme in 2010, BN had strongly opposed it. UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Reezal Merican bin Naina Merican even labelled giving RM100 as “haram’ and sinful to senior citizens because gambling money is used, even though gambling licenses are issued not by the state government but by the BN federal government. Now BN Penang has turned copycat by supporting this senior citizens programme.
The Penang Pakatan state government had initiated the institutionalised annual funding of religious and vernacular schools which was never done by the previous BN state government. RM16 million was allocated annually by the Penang Pakatan state government. Now BN has turned copycat with their manifesto promising to give RM15 million, which is even less than the RM16 million that Penang Pakatan state government offers now.
Penang state government has exempted the payment of assessment rates for low-cost, low-medium cost and kampong houses with the other property owners enjoying a 10% discount. BN Penang has also turned copycat by proposing the same exemptions, but not the 10% discount for other properties.
Similarly Pakatan Manifesto has proposed that highway tolls be abolished in phases, especially those highways where the toll collections have exceeded their combined capital investment (construction expenditure, maintenance and operating costs). The First Penang Bridge and the North-South Highway are such examples, where toll should be first abolished for all vehicles. BN Penang has turned copycat again by suggesting that only motorcycle tolls be abolished, but not for all vehicles.
Teng should stop lying about our Pakatan manifesto on abolishing tolls but must explain why has BN not abolished toll collection on the First Penang Bridge? This is a classic case of the “guilty party accusing others of the wrongdoing” or “the thief shouting thief”.
BN turning copycat is not as dangerous to the people’s interests as shamelessly sabotaging efforts by the Penang Pakatan state government to alleviate traffic congestion with a public transport system combining LRT, trams, buses and infrastructure works such as highways and an under-sea tunnel. BN has no shame in openly admitting that the reclamation projects financing the LRT project, the under-sea tunnel and highway projects will be cancelled.
Worse, BN has offered no alternatives to building a public transport system to alleviate traffic congestion except to sabotage our proposed LRT and under-sea tunnel projects. The LRT would connect the island to Seberang Perai in Sebarang Jaya, Butterworth, Bukit Mertajam and Batu Kawan. The LRT should benefit not just residents on the island but also in Seberang Perai because Seberang Perai is also Penang.
Clearly BN wants Penangites to choke to death in traffic congestion. The choice is very clear. Only by replacing the BN Federal government with Pakatan Harapan, can the people of Penang survive and build our own public transport system!
LIM GUAN ENG