Monday March 17, 2008
PAS: Guan Eng will look after Malays too
PENANG: Penang PAS Deputy Commissioner Dr Mujahid Rawa said the Islamist party is fully confident that newly-appointed Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng would look after the interests of Penang Malays.
Among Lim’s first moves after being sworn in as Chief Minister on March 11 was to announce that the state would be run free of the New Economic Policy (NEP), which he claimed had bred cronyism, corruption and systemic inefficiency.
“It is time to move forward. Let us make policies that can benefit all the rakyat," he said, adding that all state government projects and contracts would be awarded through an open-tender policy.
That caused an outcry within certain quarters. On March 14, a group comprising mostly Umno members and supporters took to the streets after Friday prayers to protest his statements on the NEP.
Police managed to disperse the crowd peacefully. No arrests were made but two men were taken in for questioning.
A lawyer also lodged a police report against Lim Guan Eng, alleging that his statements over the NEP were "seditious, racist, irresponsible and may endanger public peace and national security.”
Lim later gave his assurance to Penang Malays that they would not be marginalised.
“When I said that I would run the government administration free of the New Economic Policy (NEP), I emphasised on asking the tender process to be made public.
“I do not think Malay contractors object to the open tender system as it is more transparent. I just want to rectify some of the mistakes committed during the previous administration,” he said after witnessing the swearing-in of his 10 state executive councillors on March 14.
Twenty-two Muslim non-governmental organisations also expressed their support for the state government’s call for transparency in implementing NEP, as has the Penang Bumiputra Petty Traders Association.