Column By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 15.10.2014.
The PR Penang State Government Had Ignored The Protests Of Developers By Deciding On A More People-Centric Approach In Refusing To Give Any Development Orders Where There Are Squatters Still Residing On The Land.
UMNO and BN spinmasters must be lauded for excellent performance that they finally ensnared a Member of Parliament into believing their lies, until the UMNO MP for Padang Besar Zahidi Zainul Abidin used this as fodder to attack PR. Zahidi thought he had exposed a big scandal of PR top leaders, by raising in the august halls of Parliament on Monday, to accuse me directly for using public funds in Penang to purchase a RM2.3 million luxury sports utility armoured vehicle.
This is simply another malicious lie that is circulated widely in pro-UMNO blogs, amongst many other lies aginst me. Clearly Zahidi is a foolish victim of UMNO’s cunning use of the dirty tactic of “repeating a lie 1,000 times until it becomes the truth”. And there will be more lies against PR leaders, because there are many who are as silly as Zahidi, in believing the lies by pro-UMNO blogs.
Whilst many of these lies are malicious, some are downright evil and vicious by even attacking my underaged son, for sexually molesting his female classmate. Even though this attack against my underaged son was proven by the police to be false, no action was taken against the perpretators by the police as promised.
However I am more concerned that even academic and social commentators are also caught in the web of deceit weaved by the UMNO and BN masters of spin. For instance some had questioned the Penang PR state government for its inaction against developers who act or evict residents of communities and even equating this to the state government being pro-developer.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The PR Penang state government had adopted a major policy shift by departing from the previous BN government’s policy of approving development orders to developers even though there are squatters still residing on the land. Armed with the development orders, some developers then moved in ruthlessly and mercilessly to forcibly remove the squatters.
Instead the PR Penang state government had ignored the protests of developers by deciding on a more people-centric approach in refusing to give any development orders where there are squatters still residing on the land. Development orders will only be considered on land that is empty. This has generally facilitated discussions between developers and squatters to find an amicable solution that is fair and reasonable to both parties.
However, confrontation arises when the landowner, usually those with close links to BN, insists on evicting squatters through the court process by relying on their rights as landowners under the National Land Code. These landowners are not bothered that they have no development orders or will not get approval for any construction projects from the state authorities – they just want to exercise their powers in court to remove squatters. The state government is powerless when the landowner, armed with a court order, forcibly evicts squatters because the PR state government is bound to respect and obey the rule of law.
And yet the state government is always blamed despite helping the squatters with legal aid. The state government continues to be blamed even when the eviction of squatters is carried out by federal government agencies or those linked to BN leaders.
This is the best of both worlds to these pro-BN landowners and developers. They succeed in evicting the squatters at no cost to themselves because they can shift the blame to the PR Penang state government for failing to prevent the eviction. The state government will continue to be unfairly targeted for approving projects for developers although we have gone to great lengths to protect the squatters by being transparent and balance the various competing interests involved.
We hope that the people can see through the web of deceit, and that the state government is just a victim as the squatters are, of the laws in the National Land Code, laws which are passed by the Federal government.
LIM GUAN ENG
-- CN Version --