Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has revealed the alleged true character of Penang opposition leaders in their attempt to make him look as if he were anti-Malay by demolishing their homes and villages.
Lim described Umno leaders as 'two-faced' politicians when they appear to be fighting for the rights of the Malay communities but in truth, they were 'devils' masquerading as NGOs.
He explained that it was unknown to many that the very same developer the leaders were supposed to be fighting, were allegedly linked to Umno itself. He referred to the case of Kampung Binjai in Bayan Lepas, where the villagers had recently been issued with eviction notices.
"This is a classic case where Umno leaders raise these issues are devils and NGOs at the same time," he said in a 45- minute exclusive interview with Malaysiakini at his office on Tuesday.
"The developer is linked to Umno, which is behind it, and they are (pretending to be ) the savior (of the soon to be evicted villages themselves)," he added. "This is hypocrisy at its height," he said.
Lim lamented that he was often made to look as if the Malays were angry with him as Umno leaders like to capitalise on the issue of illegal hawker stall demolishment which affected their livelihood.
Only wrongdoers punished claim
"But go and ask them about it, go and talk to them and ask them who are the ones raising complaints about them, it is the Malay politicians themselves," said Lim.
He said the state was 'considerate' when deciding the area of demolishment as there were close to 30,000 illegal stalls in Penang.
"We take action only on those who are flagrant, serious and really encroaching and causing nuisance to others," he clarified.
"But we are made out to look as if we are taking action all the times, especially against the Malays. Only 18 percent of demolishment exercise affects the Malays, the rest are non-Malays," he added.
"And who are the ones who complain against the Malays? It Is the Malays themselves," he stressed.
On the issue of vanishing Malay villagers due to the eviction exercise in Jelutong, Lim acknowledged that they were a part of the state's heritage, and said he would try to resolve their issue soon.
"We have to get some funding for this. We have no federal funds so it has to come from us - we have to squeeze here and there (to help them). Luckily for me, I have some economics background so I am able to maneuver my way (to get some money for this)," he said.
Later, Lim shared letters that he had received from people who were somehow touched by the efforts of the state government to assist them in their woes.
"We have received letters from Malays, saying they have never received a reply from the state government before, but recently, without even writing to the state about their problems, they have received letters of clarification," said Lim.
He related one of his visits to a Malay community recently where a 70- year -old woman publicly expressed her 'affection' for him.
"She was a 70-year -old grandmother who was toothless. When I told her she does not look 70, she was so happy she hit me on the arm," he said.
"Others reproached and told her that she cannot slap a chief minister, but she replied 'I know but I just love him'" he added.
"After that, I just did not know what to say, I guess I was in her good books because she laughed until we could not see only her gums".-Susan Loone
Meanwhile, the DAP has threatened to take legal action against Penang state development officer Nik Ali Mat Yunus for his public criticism of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
"This is not an idle threat, let me assure him," DAP chairperson Karpal Singh said in a statement today. "Federal officers seconded to state governments under Pakatan Rakyat's rule should not take the opportunity to subvert and sabotage the smooth running of these governments," he added.
According to Karpal, Nik Ali had overstepped his boundaries as a civil servant by issuing press statements, which included the use of "uncouth" language, and more so by using an Umno platform to do so.
"The use of the words like biadap (disrespectful) and dayus (coward) against Lim by Nik Ali clearly shows that he is not fit to be the state development officer in Penang. "He has forfeited his right to further retain this office. The cabinet should direct Nik Ali to withdraw the uncouth language he used against Lim and apologise to the chief minister," he said.
Nik Ali broke rules
Karpal said Nik Ali had violated Regulation 19 of the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993 in issuing press statements. "I must make it clear that DAP will not hesitate to take Nik Ali to court for judicial pronouncement on his conduct," he added.
He was commenting on the war of words between Lim and Nik Ali, prompted by the federal government's hand in the controversy over illegal sand mining in Balik Pulau, demolition of decorative arches at the Penang Botanical Gardens and the allegation that no seat was provided for the chief minister during the launch of the Penang Hill Railway. Karpal said that if the allegations about snubbing Lim at the railway launch were true, then Nik Ali had "obviously and maliciously" tried to humiliate Lim.
"I wonder how he rose up the ranks to become a state development officer. A civil servant publicly flexing his muscles at a chief minister, coupled with the use of uncouth language, has been unheard of until the emergence of Nik Ali."