Ramasamy: Tan a foe of CAT governance

Written by Regina William, The Edge

Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng, who recently hit out at Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, had never raised the issue of getting yearly constituency allocations for small development projects in his constituency with Lim.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister 2 Prof P Ramasamy said Tan was in fact a foe of the CAT (competency, accountability and transparency) governance in Penang.

In a statement, Ramasamy said the Penang state exco had on its own initiative discussed over the previous 18 months the issue of the state government giving allocations to Penang Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs for small development projects.

“However this proposal was opposed by the previous State financial officer and state secretary. The state legal advisor had also expressed similar sentiments. There were also concerns expressed that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission would use this issue to harass the PR state government and its representatives.

“Finally to accommodate the objections, the exco decided to channel the allocations to the respective state assemblymen.

“For instance, the Balik Pulau parliamentary constituency, the development funds in the state constituencies are handled by Penang State Speaker Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain.

“So far no DAP or PKR MPs had asked for yearly constituency allocation from the Penang state government, including Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng.

“In fact Lim had expressed his discomfort that Tan met him to discuss about matters that do not conform with the Penang PR core governing principles of CAT.

“To date, Tan has still not responded to MP Jeff Ooi and state assemblyman Ng Wei Aik’s challenge to come clean on his (Tan’s) attempted intervention in the rental of a Penang Development Corporation (PDC) shophouse in Chow Thye Road to his uncle,” Ramasamy added.

He added that the state government was also aware that Tan was unhappy with the constituency allocations in Nibong Tebal because of his inability to get along with the two assemblymen in his area, Sungai Bakap’s Maktar Shapee who is also the PKR Nibong Tebal division chief and DAP’s Jawi state assemblyman Tan Beng Huat.

He said Tan Tee Beng had several times publicly criticised both Maktar and Tan Beng Huat in the media.

“The real problem is Tan Tee Beng’s pettiness that has damaged his relationship with the two assemblymen. Furthermore, if Tan Tee Beng had got what he wanted from the Penang Chief Minister, would he have openly criticised him?” Ramasamy asked.

He said the CAT governance has won praise for Penang from Transparency International and allowed the state government to turn a projected budget deficit of RM35 million in 2008 to a record surplus of RM88 million.

“The chief minister has said that he is willing to lose friends and risk them becoming foes if this is the price to pay to enforce CAT governance in Penang. Unfortunately, Tan Tee Beng has become one of the many foes not only of Penang chief minister but also of CAT governance”.

Meanwhile, Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi and state exco Chow Kon Yeow have both refuted allegations that even DAP leaders in Penang were unhappy with Lim.

At a press conference, Ooi said he would never be a “yes” man to anyone.

“I have always expressed my views, argued and even criticised when I disagreed with the chief minister but never see that as a rift or begrudge anyone as I raise them up for the sake of Penangites.

“At the end of the day, when decisions are made, we abide by them as we all have a much more important task ahead, to reform and enhance Penang’s economy.

“Only stupid politicians will say such disagreements during brainstorming sessions are rifts,” Ooi said.

At a separate press conference, Chow, the Penang DAP chairman denied that veteran DAP leaders were sidelined by Lim as alleged by former DAP municipal councillor Tham Weng Fatt who joined Parti Cinta Malaysia.

“I am a veteran and I am an exco, so are Lim Hock Seng (Bagan Jermal) and Phee Boon Poh (Sg Puyu).

“Only those who do not understand the party principles would leave the party and make such statements,” Chow added.