Exco: GST song probe could threaten Guan Eng’s political career

Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohd Rashid Hasnon says it is ‘extreme’ to launch a police probe over a sing-along. (Facebook pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang executive council today criticised the criminal investigation against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng over the ABCD-GST song, calling it regrettable and unnecessary.

Deputy Chief Minister I Mohd Rashid Hasnon said with cops probing the issue under internet laws, Lim could be disqualified as an elected representative and chief minister over a “trivial matter”.

Police have launched a probe over Lim’s sing-along of a parody song mocking the goods and services tax (GST) before an audience which included children at an event over the weekend.

This followed three police reports lodged against Lim, claiming he had exploited children through the sing-along.

Police are probing the case under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. The act deals with the improper use of network facilities or network services, and carries a fine not exceeding RM50,000, prison not exceeding one year or both.

Article 48 of the Federal Constitution disqualifies a person from being an MP for five years should the elected representative be convicted and sentenced to more than one year in jail, or fined more than RM2,000.

“It is extreme for a criminal investigation to be held for singing and dancing to a song making fun of the GST,” Rashid said at a press conference in Komtar today.

He said the council was also concerned over double standards as police appeared eager to take a statement from the chief minister but did not do so when reports were lodged against federal ministers and menteris besar.

“It is obvious that the probe was initiated because of the chief minister’s strong stance against the GST.

“The state executive council has decided to support Lim in his stand against the GST and to face any action by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government,” he said.

On March 18, a political party and two NGOs said Lim had brought a compact disc to the tuition class and taught the children to sing a parody of the “ABC” song which allegedly contained lyrics insulting the BN government.

According to Bernama, Penang Front Party chairman Patrick Ooi, Penang Surplus Welfare Association president Sophian Mohd Zain and 1Malaysia People’s Welfare Association president Mohd Ibrahim A Siahoo lodged police reports over the incident.

The video was played on Saturday morning when Lim was officiating a free tuition class organised by the state government, under the Penggerak Komuniti Muda Pulau Pinang (Peka) programme.

During the session, he was seen singing and dancing to the tune of the song, watched by the students.

The “GST song” was also recently sung in the Dewan Rakyat by Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching, who sought to drive home her point that Malaysians were burdened by the consumption tax.

When contacted, Peka chief and Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim defended the use of the song, saying it was a fact that the GST had pushed up prices. Sim said there was a tendency to view BN propaganda as non-partisan, adding that the line between the coalition and government was blurred.

Penang police chief Commissioner A Thaiveegan has yet to respond to FMT’s request for comment.

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