Dr Tan Chuan Hong says instead of criticising reports, Penang Government should own up to the sharp decline in economic activity over the last six years.
GEORGE TOWN: The unfavourable economic report on the state presented by the Penang Institute was probably why the think tank had to endure a series of “scoldings” from Penang’s leaders, claims state MCA Secretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong.
Tan said the contentious report had “honestly” pointed out that the Penang government had fared poorly under Pakatan Harapan in the past six out of eight years since it took over the administration of the state in 2008.
He said according to the latest report by the think tank, Penang outperformed the national economy while under the administration of Barisan Nasional in 2006.
In that year, the state’s GDP grew 10.8% (5.6% for Malaysia) and 6.5% in 2007 (6.3% for Malaysia).
“However, during DAP’s rule of Penang, the state’s GDP growth from 2009 to 2015 was lower (than the percentage) nationally.
“It even fell more than 10.5% in 2009, compared to the national drop of 1.5% in the same year. This has caused people to worry about the ability of Penang’s state government to govern,” Tan said in a statement today.
He also said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should be held accountable as the DAP leader was chairman of 11 state government-linked companies and statutory bodies, including head of the Penang Development Corporation and its subsidiaries.
“Anyhow, Penang’s economy is still declining year by year and Lim’s ability has been put into question.
“It is learned that hard disk manufacturer Seagate further expanded the scale of job cuts, (and) plans to cut down 6,500 employees.
“Seagate has a major production plant in Penang. Since the Penang plant is facing closure, it would lead to Penangites losing their jobs.
“I would like to ask the Penang government what its strategy is to retain foreign investments in recent years?” Tan said.
Tan also advised Lim not to lose his temper and reprimand think tank members, who are honest scholars, or question their allegiance to the state government.
“Please humbly accept the fact. Primary school pupils also understand that one must own up to one’s mistakes and be responsible for one’s actions.
“Why does the Penang Chief Minister not understand this simple fact?” Tan questioned.
On July 7, Bernama reported Lim “warning” members of the Penang Institute, reminding them to “bear in mind that you are working for an institute that is funded by the state government.”
The national news agency had reported Lim saying: “I may understand when you say that one cannot bite the hand that feeds you. But I think you should allow some barking.” It said the statement was disrespectful.
Lim later retracted the bark and bite similes, lamenting that his speech had been taken out of context and probably misconstrued by those with a limited understanding of English.
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