The DAP’s socialist streak (Press Comment by Himanshu Bahtt, The Sun)

Press Comment by theSun’s Penang bureau chief, Himanshu Bhatt on 16 April 2009:

WHEN the Penang government announced late last month that it had eradicated hardcore poverty within its borders, the news raised quite a few eyebrows. It seemed an incredible, if not impossible, task to achieve. On hindsight, however, when one looks at what the Pakatan Rakyat government executed, the solution seems common-sense.

But though it may appear simple, the move was instituted with such impudence and guts it could only come from a political element that is part of the origins and makeup of the DAP – its democratic socialism.

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The Position Of Penang State EXCO And Penang Deputy Chief Minister(DCM)1 Will Remain Vacant

The Position Of Penang State EXCO And Penang Deputy Chief Minister(DCM)1 Will Remain Vacant To Give Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim More Time To Resolve Internal Issues.

PKR leader and Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is unable to accede to my request to make recommendations to fill the empty EXCO seat and appointment of the new DCM1 caused by the resignation of YB Mohamed Fairus on 8.4.2009. Whilst I am disappointed at the delay, I fully understand the various political pressures that Datuk Seri Anwar is facing in recommending appointments to these positions.
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Season greetings to those who celebrate Vaisakhi, Varusha Pirappu and Vishu

Today is indeed a very special day to many Malaysians especially those from the Indian community. On behalf of the state government I would like to wish you all in this beautiful state of Penang a very happy and blessed Vaisakhi, Varusha Pirappu and Vishu.

Today is the day we celebrate with the Sikh community the sacred day of Vaisakhi, the birth of the khalsa where the great Guru Gobind Singh initiated the pure ones who belong to Waheguru, the Supreme God.

Today is the day we celebrate with the Tamil community the New Year’s Day of Varusha Pirappu, and many Hindus on this day also celebrate the auspices day of Lord Brahma began His creation.

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Easter Message

I would like to wish a joyous and blessed Easter to all Malaysians, especially our Christian brothers and sisters who are celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

To Christians, Easter is Jesus Christ’s victory over death, symbolising the eternal life that is offered to those who believe in Him. It is a proof that Jesus is the Son of God who has conquered death once and for all, and therefore gained salvation for all humanity.

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Press Statement on New Cabinet

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak announced his much awaited cabinet today, with 28 ministers and 40 deputy ministers.

In an immediate reaction, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng expressed surprised at the appointment of Ministers and Deputy Ministers from those who were defeated and rejected by the people in the last general election.

However, the Penang State Government congratulates Gerakan President Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon on his elevation as Minister in the Prime Minister Department and hopes that he will work for the interests of Penangites. Tan Sri Dr. Koh should take the opportunity to fulfil what Gerakan has promised in getting back Federal Government projects that were cancelled such as the Monorail project, public transport and road upgrading projects, flood mitigation works, tourism and heritage projects and better security measures, worth billions of Ringgit, which are necessary for the people of Penang.

Lim Guan Eng will give a full statement tomorrow.

Press Statement on DCM I

The Penang State Exco has decided to let me decide on the position of Deputy Chief Minister I. This appointment is the prerogative of the Penang Chief Minister who will consult with all relevant parties.

I will hold a Press Conference at 11.30am tomorrow on this matter. YB Mohammad Fairus resignation as Deputy Chief Minister I takes effect immediately today and is no longer on Exco member. However YB Mohammad Fairus still retains all privileges as Penang PR ADUN.

6 Reform Measures That New Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Must Adopt To Make “1 Malaysia” Work

New Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak must adopt 6 reform measures to make “1 Malaysia, People First & Performance Now” works following the sensational victories by PR with increased majorities in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections. New UMNO Deputy President Datuk Seri Muhyiddin Yassin had said that a post-mortem will be carried out to determine why PR increased its majority in Bukit Gantang from 1,566 votes to 2,789 votes and from 2,362 to 2,403 votes in Bukit Selambau.

The increased majority of 1,223 extra votes obtained by Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin in Bukit Gantang is unexpected when by-elections always favour governing parties, especially when both the Federal and state governments in Perak are BN. This can be seen in Batang Ai by-election where the powers of incumbency enjoyed by the BN state and federal governments allowed BN to double its majority from 806 votes to 1,854 votes, an increased majority of 1,048 votes.

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Najib Should Release All ISA Detainees and Abolish the ISA as Part of His First 100 Days Reform

Today marks the 1st day of the Datuk Seri Najib administration.

Today also marks the 478th day that the former Prime Minister , Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, personally signed the detention letters to put the HINDRAF 5 under the ISA. The reasons given for their detention has never been substantiated or proven.

We call on Datuk Seri Najib to :
1. Immediately release of all the ISA detainees, especially the Hindraf 5, who have been detained without trial
2. Abolish Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) as part of his first 100 days reform plan.

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Pembekuan Operasi Tiga Syarikat Kuari Untuk Membantu Siasatan Bahawa Pembayaran Royalti Dikurang Laporkan Dan Menyebabkan Kehilangan Hasil Kerajaan

Pulau Pinang banyak bergantung kepada pendapatan dalam pelbagai sektor termasuk dalam sektor industri kuari yang mendatangkan hasil kepada Kerajaan Negeri melalui pembayaran royalty RM3 setiap meter cubik tanah merah atau batuan yang digali. Banyak pertikaian telah timbul tentang pembayaran royalti khususnya tentang perkiraan jumlahnya yang selalu didakwa jauh berkurangan dengan apa yang sepatutnya diterima oleh kerajaan negeri.

Mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Tanah Negeri yang diadakan pada 30 Mac 2009 telah memutuskan bahawa 3 buah syarikat kuari di Daerah Seberang Perai Tengah akan dibekukan semua bentuk operasi mereka berkuatkuasa hari ini sehingga siasatan selesaikan dijalankan mengenai isu di bawah deklarasi royalti “Under Declaration Of Royalty” bagi membantu siasatan kerajaan negeri.

Syarikat-syarikat yang diputuskan untuk dibekukan operasi mereka ialah :-
1.Kuad Sdn Bhd
2.Batu Tiga Quarry Sdn Bhd
3.Saw Chong Teok Quarry Sdn Bhd
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The Penang State Government Will Invite New Straits Times (NST) To Cover Us When NST Agrees To Give Us A Right Of Reply To Erroneous And False Reporting

The Penang State government will invite NST to cover state government functions when NST agrees to give us a right of reply to distorted, erroneous and false reporting. This act of self-defense is forced upon the state government as a result of NST’s refusal to give the Penang state government a “right to reply” to correct inaccurate or false reporting.

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Excerpt from speech on Tiger Park Issue

The Penang State Government of Penang is a C.A.T. government – adhering to the principles of Competency, Accountability and Transparency. We believe that a clean government applying CAT principles can provide good governance that generates prosperity that can be shared equitably.

The Penang government is a CAT government. Lions are big cats with a wide reputation for courage. But success is not determined alone by courage but also by another four characteristics of righteousness, effort, ability and with a little luck. These are the five characteristics of success. Whilst the first four are up to the individual, the Penang state government hopes to give everyone a little bit of luck by offering equal opportunities in economics, employment education, social and political.

This can be seen by our Penang wireless initiative where we want to be the first wifi state in Malaysian in two years time – where you can be connected to the internet anytime anyplace anywhere in Penang. And this wifi is offered free to all in Penang bridging the digital divide between the rich and the poor the urban and the kampong areas. Even in Seberang Jaya you can now enjoy free wifi access at Sunway Carnival – a promise of more to come.

We also wish to maximize our natural scenic spots not to do construction projects but to develop sustainable eco tourism. When I see two tigers at Bukit Jambul, reared in captivity under license from Malaysian authorities,locked in a cage, I feel that we should give them more space. That is why the Penang state government is proposing a Tiger Park as tigers are magnificent animals and should not be caged. I have been caged before and I know what it is like to be caged.

First I wish to emphasise that this proposal is still in the conceptual stage based on certain pre-conditions for deliberation.

One, this ia a PPP – public private partnership ie. the state government is only offering land in exchange for the private investor to provide both the operational and infrastructure costs. The state government will not be spending any money but expects to get revenue from this lease and also make more productive use of the present reserved recreational land to prevent illegal land use, especially illegal farming.

Two, the tigers must be obtained legally approved by the relevant national departments and conform to wildlife conservation efforts and benchmarks. The tigers must be given protection Whilst we note the views of those who call for banning of zoos, we are willing to appoint noted conservation groups to advise and monitor these efforts.

Thirdly, the park must be self-contained and safe to ensure that the tigers do not escape and harm human residents.

No doubt a project of such high public interest will have both detractors and advocates as evidenced from the feedback we have received so far. Be assured that the final decision will be in the best interests of Penangites, and the well-being of the tigers!

(Speech during 10th Chartered Anniversary Gala Celebration of Lions Club of Bagan)

Tidak Ada Sebabnya Lapangan Terbang Pulau Pinang Tidak Boleh membina LCCT

Tidak ada sebabnya Lapangan Terbang Pulau Pinang tidak boleh membina LCCT yang dibina di Lapangan Terbang Kota Kinabalu sebanyak RM 200 juta apabila keuntungan operasi di Pulau Pinang adalah 5 kali ganda lebih besar daripada Sabah. Mengikut jawapan bertulis daripada Parlimen saya, di antara tahun 2000-2008, Lapangan Terbang Pulau Pinang mendapat keuntungan RM493.3juta berbanding RM96.1 juta yang diuntung oleh Negeri Sabah.

Sungguhpun perolehan keuntungan Malaysia Airport Bhd (MAHB) di Pulau Pinang adalah lima kali ganda lebih besar daripada Kota Kinabalu, namun tidak ada LCCT di Pulau Pinang. Sebaliknya Kota Kinabalu ada LCCT yang dibina dengan kos RM200 juta sungguhpun jumlah pendapatan hanya RM 96.1 juta. Sungguh luarbiasa yang untung RM493.3 juta diabaikan seakan-akan “membunuh burung angsa yang bertelurkan emas.” Walaupun pembinaan LCCT di Kota Kinabalu tidak dibantah maka ia harus dibina di Pulau Pinang kalau dibandingkan keuntungan yang diperolehi oleh MAHB untuk semua negeri yang dinyatakan di bawah.

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