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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guan Eng "jealous" or Umno trying to stir up Johoreans against Pakatan

Guan Eng "jealous" or Umno trying to stir up Johoreans against Pakatan

Amid accusations he was "jealous" of Johor, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has decided to break his silence over the latest media attacks against him, this time over allegedly disparaging comments over Johor's crime rate.

However, being a favorite target of the BN-controlled press, Guan Eng was cautious in responding to queries if he had made the remarks. The Penang Chief Minister said he was still checking the audio recording aired on Buletin Utama on TV3 that showed him making the critical comments while on a recent visit to Singapore.

"If I had made the statement, let's look at the context in which it was made... it was a private conversation," Guan Eng told a press conference on Thursday.

Jealous!

Deputy Education Minister Puad Zarkashi had a day ago accused Guan Eng of being envious of Singapore's support for the Iskandar economic corridors and may be trying to scare away investors over to Penang.

“In fact, even before the establishment of Iskandar Malaysia, a lot of investors from the neighboring country came to invest in the industrial area of Pasir Gudang, Tebrau, Kualijaya and Senai. This I why Guan Eng is envious and for me it is an act of sabotage and not patriotic, irresponsible and have no attitude for collectivism," said Puad.

“Supposedly as a Chief Minister, he should not act as an Opposition to attract foreign investors to this country because he and Penang are part of Malaysia. Like the Federal government’s implementation of deed, we are always clear and transparent especially in our effort to attract foreign investors unlike the states governed by the Opposition.”

What Singaporeans think

However, few Malaysians and Singaporeans would agree with Puad, the Umno MP for Batu Pahat. Singaporeans have minced no words in criticising what they call "lawlessness" in Johor.

The have been innumerable cases of Singaporean families on day trips to pubs in Johore, who end up murdered after tiffs with the gambling or drug bosses who own these joints.

In December, a Singaporean man was shot several times outside a pub in Johore but survived. In June, a 37-year-old lorry driver from Singapore was found dead in a night club in Johor Baru. His wife and son, who were with him, believed he was killed over a drug dispute. These are just some of the cases recently reported in the media.

"Generally, some Singaporeans like to come to Johor for the cheap shopping and some food, but it is true, we think it is a very dangerous place and not many of the middle class will go there. They consider it as slumming," a Singaporean professional working in the Malaysian branch of a food franchise told Malaysia Chronicle.

"I don't think it is fair to nail Guan Eng. He could be more tactful but if it was a private affair, who says he cannot speak his mind? The streets of Johor are not safe, I can vouch for that. That has been the view for decades, long before Guan Eng made any comment," said a Malaysian who used to work in Singapore and traveled frequently to Johor.

Bullying

Perhaps, Umno which wants to recapture Penang in the 13th general election is trying its best to embarrass the DAP leader. However, the vulture-like way in which they are zooming in on Guan Eng has drawn laughter.

"They are playing the same intellectually bankrupt record. Over and over again. It reflects on the lack of personal freedoms in Malaysia and the hypocrisy of the Najib administration. It also shows up the bullying ways of Umno, and the Singaporeans are now enjoying the comedy put up by Najib and gang," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

Meanwhile, Guan Eng pointed to a legal suit he recently filed against the Umno-owned Utusan newspaper over an article that suggested he wanted to abolish the New Economic Policy (NEP).

"They want to distract me and tire me out. I already have a court case with Umno-linked Malay language daily Utusan Malaysia, and that is already enough and time-consuming. But I will not let them get away... if I do, they will continue to play the game," said the DAP leader.

Never ending

Guan Eng also said his detractors were becoming too much, "jumping from place to place" to criticise him for his comments made overseas, starting with his interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Melbourne recently.

"They started with Australia, they would now be jumping to China, to Hong Kong and Surabaya. We will deal with them one by one, starting with national news agency Bernama. If the news agency does not reply to us, we will direct our lawyers to take the necessary action," said Lim.

According to a Sept 23 Bernama report, Lim “allegedly” said Johor was not a safe state, with kidnappings being common, unlike Penang.

The report caught the attention of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, a Johorean, who slammed Guan Eng for undermining Johor and painting the state as an unsuitable investment destination.

That soon sparked a chain reaction among Umno and BN leaders, who rushed to echo the DPM. Although, it may not create much of a political impact in Penang for the Pakatan Rakyat, the Malay community in Johor might be upset if Umno-BN continued to stir hatred through its accusations against Guan Eng.

However, that is unlikely to stop Guan Eng or other Pakatan leaders from speaking out as it is the BN administrators who should be punished for not managing their states better, rather than expecting others to continuously paint glowing but false reports about the actual situation.

Malaysia Chronicle

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