Penang Gerakan Secretary Oh Tong Keong:
Penang’s political arena has heated up even as 2016 is ushered in. At coffee shops and eateries, Penangites are talking about who is the assemblyman who owes a Datuk-businessman money?
Another hot topic is the state government’s head-on clash with the people to pray to Thni Kong (Jade Emperor God) annually for good health and prosperity during his birthday celebrations on the 8th day (night time) and moving on to 9th day of the Chinese New Year this coming February.
For so many years the Chew Jetty residents have had organised successfully this mammoth prayer at the Jetty in Weld Quay, which has attracted thousands of devotees, especially the Hokkiens, not only from Penang but also from other states. The event has also earned a reputation as a good tourist product for international and domestic tourists. However, this year, due to some reasons known to them, the state government is organizing a similar ceremony at the same venue, day and time.
DAP’s Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Lau Keng Ee, at a press conference, admitted that he had made a police report, but not getting any loan from the businessman, known as Jackie. He also denied a news item which linked him to collecting RM200,000, purportedly in exchange for a project in the constituency.
Anyhow, Jackie, the 37 year-old Datuk-business man mentioned by Lau, responded in an interview by saying that the true facts would be revealed soon. North East District OCPD ACP Mior Faridalathrash Wahid has also confirmed in the newspapers that the said businessman had lodged a police report that he was owed RM200,000.
If Lau is being accused, I think he should prove himself by either asking MACC to investigate, or sue the businessman for defamation. If he is not doing so, it will be difficult for people to clear their doubts.
If Lau is innocent, he should not be worried for MACC to step in and investigate. In fact, to prove his innocence, he should have requested MACC to investigate.
Apart from the RM200,000 fiasco allegation, the DAP-led Penang State Government wanted to go on a head-on clash with people by organizing their own Jade Emperor’s prayer on the same day at Chew Jetty. People are suspicious that it could be a vengeful act because Pakatan Harapan leaders were unhappy because Chew Jetty residents did not invite them to the annual prayer last year.
The world renowned annual event has been organised by Chew Jetty for the past 109 years. Politicians are always welcomed to this open public event. The state government should have viewed this with open heart and open mind. I believe Pakatan Harapan leaders including the Chief Minister will be welcomed at the event.
Unfortunately, at a press conference, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had arrogantly used unpleasant words against Chew Jetty adviser, Chew Teng Hooi.
Lim should know that Chew Jetty belongs to the jetty residents as well as to Penang people, it doesn’t belong to Lim Guan Eng or Lim Kit Siang. The residents certainly have rights to organize the traditional prayers at Chew Jetty.
I hope that all the Chinese clans and NGOs will stand together and support Chew Jetty residents’ prayer ceremony. It is not only Chew Jetty’s tradition, but also the cultural heritage of the whole people of Penang. People should strive to defend it, and not let the DAP-led government to sabotage the event.
We can see how “no class” DAP is, by seeing how their assemblyman is accused of owing money to the Datuk-businessman, or Lim using unpleasant words against Chew, who is a Penangite.
People do not want “no-class assemblyman”, or worse, a no-class state government. This kind of government will only waste time on war of words with people, instead of bringing development.