Free port’s new twist: It’s now Najib vs Chang Yeow

Media conference statement by Penang DAP State Chairman Chow Kon Yeow, State Committee Members, Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen on 15th June 2012 in George Town, Penang

Free port’s new twist: It’s now Najib vs Chang Yeow

The newly appointed Penang Barisan Nasional Chairman Teng Chang Yeow started his term with a big bang proposal – “To  reinstate free port status for Penang Island”.

Chang Yeow told the media on 14th May 2012 , at the first state Barisan Nasional meeting chaired by him that “the state BN had sent the proposal to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the latter was looking at it ‘positively’.”

He said, “Now it is up to the people to decide. We will gather the public’s response and their support for the proposal. We will announce details of the mechanism after that.”

Asked by the press how quickly the status could be restored, he quipped: “Once we are the government.”

That big bang is coming to an embarassing end for Chang Yeow. Apparently, the Prime Minister did not see it “positively”.

On Wednesday 13th June 2012, Prime Minister cum Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said “the concept of free port no longer exists” when replying DAP MP for Bukit Bendera Liew Chin Tong in Parliament.

” 1. Untuk makluman Yang Berhormat, konsep pelabuhan bebas tidak lagi wujud. Namun begitu, kini telah terdapat 5 buah Zon Bebas di Pulau  Pinang.

2. Memandangkan Pulau Pinang kini telah pun mempunyai beberapa zon bebas seperti tersebut di atas dan konsep pelabuhan bebas tidak lagi wujud, isu memberi status pelabuhan bebas kepada Pulau Pinang tidak lagi berbangkit.”

We are stunned by the clarity in the parliamentary reply. In no uncertain term, the Prime Minister cum Finance Minister is saying that the concept of free port no longer exists, and hence the question of reinstating free port status for Penang does not arise at all.

The parliamentary reply proves that the whole idea of free port was a fantasy of Teng Chang Yeow, which was already torpedoed by Penang BN Team B led by Teng Hock Nam and Hilmi Yahya earlier?

It is really a case of “One Malaysia, two Penang BNs and three sets of proposals for the Port.”

But the more important question is whether did Chang Yeow lie to Penangites when he said the Prime Minister viewed the free port proposal ‘positively’?

Can we still trust Teng Chang Yeow for his words?

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