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Friday, September 30, 2011

CM Penang apologises over Johor crime remark

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has apologised to the Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor for offending him for a statement allegedly denigrating Johor and its crime rate.

Lim said out of respect to the sultan, he wishes to "fully apologise" to his majesty and his subjects, the people of Johor.

"I have no intention whatsoever to discredit Johor or any other state," said Lim at an emergency press conference in Penang today.

"The sultan has said that politics should be left to politicians and the people should not be dragging rulers into politics. I agree with the sultan," he added.

"I feel that what I said has been misrepresented by the BN-controlled media," he added.

Lim was referring to an interview in the front page of the New Straits Times today, where the sultan had come forward to express his dismay over the controversial comments allegedly uttered by Lim in a recent working visit in Singapore.

Event concludes in only seven minutes

During the brief press event, which concluded in only seven minutes, Lim spoke solemnly and confidently about his decision.

He also read out his statement in Malay, and used court language including 'patik' to express how regretful it was to have earned the ire of His Majesty.

In the report, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar said that he was “offended” by Lim's remarks in Singapore that the state is dangerous and the risk of kidnapping is high.

Yesterday, Lim neither admitted nor apologised for the remark, even when told that there was an audio recording purportedly featuring him making the comment during a luncheon talk with foreign correspondence in the republic.

He added that his speech at the Aug 12 Singapore event was made during a private luncheon.

Lim said he will pursue this matter in court to determine the truth of where he had made the speech, what was actually said, and how and in what context it was made.

He added that to date, except for the purported tape featured on TV3 Bulletin Utama, there was no press report about what he had spoken in Singapore or Australia.

Yesterday, Lim distributed to reporters copies of the prepared speech he made, and its contents did not include the remarks.

“I have access to the tape of my interview with Radio Australia.

“I am still trying to locate the tape of what I had said in Singapore which was made privately in a closed-door session,” he said.

Lim said he had instructed his lawyers to immediately file a suit against the BN controlled media, beginning with Bernama.

He then declined to field any questions on the matter as this was a legal issue.

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