Penang deputy CM blames ‘troublemakers’ for solar factory protest

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy with the top management of the solar factory, from whom he had sought an explanation for the protest attended by some 200 people last night.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy today blamed “troublemakers” for a riot outside a factory in Perai yesterday that saw 200 people gather over an internal WhatsApp message calling a worker “rubbish”.

Speaking to FMT, Ramasamy said he had met with the top management of the solar panel manufacturing factory who explained that the remark was directed at an operator who was found to be sleeping on the job.

“Unfortunately, this internal chat got spun off in Penang Kini’s Facebook page which made it look like the company was calling a Malay worker ‘sampah’.

“As a result of the spin by some irresponsible parties, the issue took on a racial tone so as to portray a Chinese calling a Malay worker ‘sampah’.”

Ramasamy, who is assemblyman for Perai, said the supervisor who made the remark had been suspended pending an internal inquiry. He said the factory’s management had also given its assurance that things are back to normal.

Yesterday, Central Seberang Perai police chief Nik Ros Azhan Nik Abdul Hamid said the protest was caused by an alleged video clip of the supervisor calling a worker “rubbish”.

The video was initially uploaded to Facebook but has since been removed.

Nik Ros said the supervisor had met with the protesters and made a public apology for his remark.

He said the factory’s management had also agreed to review the workers’ salaries and adjust their working hours to make them more flexible.

The protesters dispersed after two hours at about 10.30pm. No injuries were reported.