FMT LETTER: From Choo Sing Chye, via e-mail
Okay, okay, I am not that nasty anyway to call you a traitor or anyone else who call for the restoration of the Penang Free Port status. Definitely it’s not my style to affix this “T” label on anyone.
Well, if you don’t believe me, go back and look up the Penang Hansard and leaf through the pages to the state assembly debate on June 9, 1994. The debate was centered particularly on the restoration of the free port status in Penang.
And in this debate, our “ketikaran” friend Azhar Ibrahim (BN assemblyman) labeled all the DAP assemblymen “traitors” for calling for the restoration of the free port status. There you are, Teng, I told you, its not me that use the “T” word.
Anyway, before you promote this idea to reinstate the free port status and solicit Penangites’ votes, you got to kick three butts. First is Azhar’s and the other two are, Koh Tsu Koon’s and Kee Phaik Cheen’s.
You see Teng, you said that it is advantageous and good if the free port status in Penang is restored. But, Koh Tsu Koon’s and Kee Phaik Cheen’s chose to differ 19 years ago when they said that the restoration of free port status was “bad” and “harmful” to Penang.
Koh Tsu Koon in the assembly said that the loss of free port status was a “blessing in disguise” for Penang. He added that the restoration of free port status was “unnecessary” and “out-dated”.
Kee Phaik Cheen, exco member in charge of tourism even went further by saying that the restoration of free port status would “distort the business economy of the tourism industry”. I do not know whether they still hold this position or not, you better check on them before saying anything further on this issue.
When an English daily asked how DAP Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had been going about restoring the state’s free port status, you replied: “If the chief minister wanted it, he should have asked for it four years ago, not now.”
Teng, I do not know why you bluff. In fact, DAP assemblyman, Teoh Teik Huat, moved a motion in the state assembly calling on the federal government to restore the free port status in Penang, 19 years ago.
He added that the free port status will assist greatly Penang’s economic development especially in the field of tourism and making Penang a truly regional service centre of the northern region (similar to what you are saying). But anyway as usual, the BN state government said, “No”
So, when you promise to restore the Penang Free Port Status, it is pertinent for you, to check with Umno fellows before you put this in the state BN’s manifesto.