Penang BN must honour old promises before making new ones

Media statement by DAP MP for Bukit Bendera, Liew Chin Tong, on 15th May 2012 in George Town, Penang:

Mr Teng Chang Yeow, Penang Barisan Nasional’s new chairman, has made public for the first time several nice-sounding new policy pledges yesterday.

I would like to state my initial responses here pending further policy details from Mr Teng, without which it is difficult to have a meaningful discussion.

First, I welcome Mr Teng’s attempt to move away from noisy racial commotion courtesy of UMNO and its outsourced associates such as PERKASA through promoting discussion on policies.

Second, Mr Teng and Barisan Nasional must commit to the basic principle that pledges made on behalf of the BN Federal Government should be implemented regardless of whether it wins the State Government or not.

The people of Penang pay taxes to the Federal Government and hence are entitled to allocations from the Federal Government.

Third, before making new pledges, Mr Teng and Penang Barisan Nasional must come clean on the status of old pledges and “gifts” made a while ago by the Federal Government, namely;

a) Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced in 2006 that Penang will be given three “gifts” – the Second Bridge, monorail and outer ring road.

We will not enter into the debate about whether monorail or an outer ring road are the best solutions to Penang’s transportation woes, but the people of Penang deserve an answer on the status of those “gifts” in order to be sure that the new pledges would be honoured.

b) In June 2010, when presenting the 10th Malaysia Plan, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak promised to provide 200 new buses to Penang, to increase Rapid Penang’s buses from 350 to 550. Nothing has happened till now. This is the only promise made by the Federal Government to Penang since the general election of 2008 and it does not cost more than RM100 million. Yet even such a small pledge was not honoured. Can BN be trusted for its bigger promises?

Finally, before Mr Teng talks about making Penang Island a free port again, I would like him to state whether he agrees that Penang Port should remain in public hands or to allow it to be privatised to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar.

The latter intends to turn Penang Port into a mere feeder port for his other ports in Johor, which would effectively spell the end of Penang Port.

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