Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin believes that Penang Malays and Indians are now realising that they are being sidelined and are returning to BN.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said due to increasing public hardships, such as in securing affordable houses, jobs and escalating cost of living, they are now returning to BN fold.
“Their support is increasing by the day,” Muhyiddin told newsmen after addressing a gathering of industrial workers organised by the Human Resources Ministry in Western Digital here today.
However, he did not reveal BN confidence level in recapturing Penang or number of seats in the next general election.
Earlier in his speech, he said the federal government would not sideline Penang from mainstream development merely because it was ruled by Pakatan Rakyat, as regularly claimed by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng government.
He said the federal government knew that the whole country would benefit from a healthy socio-economic development in Penang.
Thus, he said the federal government continued to invest heavily in Penang for instance to build Penang Bridge 2, upgrade the airport, port and to develop large pool of skilled manpower.
He said the federal government also continued to offer incentives and give preferential treatments to lure foreign investments to Penang.
“All these were done by BN government over the years to prosper the people of Penang.
“Don’t forget,” he reminded the workers.
‘More’ to come
He said the federal government’s pro-active steps to subsidise and control prices of essential items, such as chicken, sugar and cooking oil, are part of efforts to reduce cost of living.
“There will be more to come. We will continue to carry out policies to benefit the people.
“We are committed to assisting the people to reap benefits from the current federal transformation programmes,” he said.
The Western Digital programme was part of Muhyiddin’s one day working visit to Penang that included a morning dialogue session with representatives from some 60 Malay non-government organisations in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
He also visited the RM4.2 billion Penang Bridge 2 project site and later addressed a gathering in Butterworth before returning to Kuala Lumpur.
He had told the Malay NGOs in USM that the federal government was looking into reviving the now virtually ‘dead and buried’ Penang Bumiputra Foundation (Yayasan Bumiputra Pulau Pinang).
He said BN wanted to reactivate the foundation to resolve the people woes in housing, employment and escalating cost of living.
He also called on the NGOs to work together to consolidate Penang Malays as an united community to strive forward.
“United we stand, divided we fall,” he told them, before giving out RM10,000 each to all NGOs present.
Malays, Indians are victims
He said the federal government would workout a formula soon to overcome the problem for the people.
The lower income people in Penag, who are overwhelming Malays and Indians, are increasingly facing difficulties to own a home in Penang, especially on the island, due to exorbitant property price boom in past four years under Pakatan rule.
Although they are not expressing their sentiments openly yet, many Malays and Indians are already whispering around that this could be a tacit state policy to flush them out from the island in long run.
Some have already termed the property price boom as “bombing with ringgit” by the rich on the poor.
Muhyiddin announced that the federal government would build 250 units of medium cost houses in Kampung Permatang Tok Subuh, Bukit Minyak to ease the ordinary Malays’ dilemma of not being able to own a house in Penang due to sky-rocketing housing prices.
The project site was earmarked by Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) under the Prime Minister’s Department.
He said ICU would continue to identify more sites in Penang to build affordable homes for the lower income group.