Sunday November 28, 2010
Penangites should be proud of Lim’s legacy
I WAS very upset the day Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu lost his Padang Kota seat in the 1990 general election. I was so angry with my fellow Penangites. How could they let Dr Lim down?
Would Penang be what it is today without him striving to develop the state? Many fled to greener pastures in the 1970s, but he stayed on to guide us.
I still remember a real estate agent telling my father in 1975 that all the seaside bungalows would probably be sold off cheaply once the RAAF base closed down, as the Australians were the only ones who could afford to rent them.
But with his foresight, Dr Lim brought in American and Japanese expatriates. Under his leadership, the state saw rapid growth and vibrant industrialisation, and its economy was revived.
Reading in the Reader’s Digest about how hard Dr Lim had to convince the Americans to invest in Malaysia made me admire him even more. The Americans could not find Penang on the map, but he managed to convince them to come.
Penang was unheard of in those days — known only to some British soldiers who had served in Malaya during the war.
Soon professionals, engineers, IT graduates, architects and accountants found work here, contributing to an increase in the standard of living.
Young school dropouts found jobs in factories, working in air-conditioned buildings and attending lavish end-of-year dinners at hotels, unlike the generation before, who had to work as servants or help in the family farm.
Dr Lim did his job the best he could and always cared for the people. My grandmother used to tell me what a great doctor he was, before he became involved in politics.
He was chief minister for 21 years, and while there were some flaws in his administration, we must remember he was only human. It is up to us to weigh his deeds and faults. Dr Lim will surely have a place in heaven as his deeds outweigh his faults.
He was a true Penangite and passed away in the place he loved, just like the brave captain of a ship.