Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 27.1.2014.
Penang State Government Will Neither Bow Down Nor Provoke Retaliatory Acts Against Religious Extremists And Racial Bigots Now Laying Siege To Penang But Unite All To Defeat Their Violence And Hatred With The Weapons Of Social Justice And Sustainable Development.
In this critical hour with shadowy extremist and racist forces conducting sustained aggression to destabilise the Penang state government, 1.6 million Penangites must reaffirm commitment for the past 200 years to protect, preseve and promote respect for cultural diversity, racial and religious harmony by rejecting both violence and hatred.
Over the last 1 week, Malaysians witnessed ugly scenes of racial hatred and violence manifested in these incidents attended by top UMNO leaders, elected representatives, members and supporters in Penang.
• A rally in Seberang Jaya on January 18th protesting against the ‘I Love Kangkung’ flash mob organised by PKR Machang Bubuk assemblyperson Lee Khai Loon. Despite this being organized by PKR, DAP was blamed with Lim Kit Siang and myself targeted and threats of May 13 riots issued. Lies and a seditious banner was displayed ‘Because of DAP leaders’ mouths, May 13 happened...want some more?’;
• A second rally in Taman Alma, Bukit Mertajam on January 19 where the picture of myself, Lim Kit Siang and Khai Loon’s effigy was burnt whilst a motorist was assaulted, beaten up and his motorcycle stolen;
• For the first time in Malaysian history a senior Malay government officer Senior Assistant District Officer Abu Hassan Osman was openly assaulted on January 21 in front of 35 policemen supposed to be protecting him in Teluk Bahang. Even though Abu Hassan’s shirt was torn after the attack, the assailants were not immediately arrested but only after I had contacted the Penang Chief Police Officer. Abu Hassan was leading an enforcement team to demolish 14 empty, abandoned or new structures(NOT illegal stalls already operating for years) after receiving complaints from local Malay residents;
• A memorandum submitted by a Muslim NGO and supported by UMNO Youth Tanjung Division Vice-Chairman demanding a ban on open selling of pork in areas like Lebuh Chulia, Jalan Kuantan and Jalan C.Y. Choy. Such open selling of pork and hanging the meat in stalls have been practiced ever since British colonial days and even when BN was in power. Why should this be an issue now and when these areas are 95% non-Muslim residential areas?
All these incidents are clearly directed to distract attention from the price hikes in sugar, petrol, TNB power tariffs and highway road tolls. The Penang state government will maintain no price increase in state government services such as quit rent, assessment, water tarrifs and business licenses and continue with our successful poverty eradication programme.
For Umno liaison committee chairperson Zainal Abidin Osman to state that UMNO did not ask for the ban of open selling of pork because the Tanjung UMNO Youth leader was attending in his personal capacity is an act that deceives no one except himself. Zain even claimed that these rallies released the feelings and grievances of those who carried the banner as all these years they have felt oppressed, insulted, not defended or treated well by the elected PR government.
Claims that only Malay illegal stalls were targeted are false and dangerous lies intended to create hatred by racialising a common issue that occurs throughout Malaysia. If these feelings are genuine and widespread how come the Penang UMNO State Chairman lost by a bigger majority to PR in the Nibong Tebal parliamentary seat during the 2013 general elections? In this constituency where Malays form the biggest bloc with 45% of the voters, Zainal had lost by 3,087 votes during the 2008 general elections, but lost by a bigger margin of 8,598 votes in the 2013 general elections.
Finally, the attack on the Church of the Assumption in Lebuh Farquhar early this morning by 2 unknown men, when 2 Molotov cocktails were hurled where one exploded whilst the other fell on the grass. This follows the hanging of 3 inflammatory banners with the word “Allah” outside churches in Penang, including the Church of Assumption which was attacked, to stoke religious animosity and hatred between Muslims and Christians.
These inflammatory banners were not put up by the churches and the churches have lodged police reports. The Penang Chief Police Officer Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi have also confirmed that these banners have nothing to do with the churches and are intended to heighten Muslim anger. He described the actions by unknown groups as extreme and police are investigating under the Sedition Act.
The Penang state government will continue to work with all parties and the police to main public order and security. All Penangites are urged to remain calm and stand united against these racist and extremist groups so as to maintain peace and harmony. The Penang state government will neither bow down nor provoke retaliatory acts against religious extremists and racial bigots now laying siege to Penang but unite all to defeat their violence and hatred with the weapons of social justice and sustainable development.
LIM GUAN ENG
-- CN Version --