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The ugly side of Penang

Can’t Penang set decent moral and ethical standards for the rest to follow, Ravinder Singh wonders

Out-of-touch Malaysian politicians have a penchant for luxury cars - PIXABAY/JAY GEORGE

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If there was a ‘beautiful’ side, it was perhaps the birth of Penang DAP’s competency, accountability and transparency (CAT).

There was so much fanfare about the birth of this CAT when the DAP swept the BN government out on 8 March 2008 and took over the reins of power.

This CAT was supposed to sniff out all the incompetency, non-accountability and opacity entrenched in the previous state government’s system of governance. Of course it made the people of Penang happy that their questions on the three issues would no longer be hitting hard stone.

Unfortunately, this good CAT’s life was very short. It soon became inflicted by the virus of political arrogance and mutated into a monster, Frankenstein CAT, with the character of contemptuousness, arrogance and teasing of the voters, who had elected the owners of CAT into power.

So the rocket-age executive, drunk with newfound power, instead of going up, up, up on the promised healthy CAT trajectory, diverted course and went into a power-drunk, Frankenstein CAT trajectory.

Riding high in this Frankenstein CAT trajectory, the Penang government has become contemptuous of the voters. It speaks with arrogance and teases the voters, as in the recent case of Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow telling Penangites that he did not know about the government’s purchase of the luxury Mercedes-Benz S560e costing RM458,000. Similarly, a previous PM had said he did not know how billions of ringgit became lodged in his bank accounts.

Well, it’s a case of “you help me, I help you” among the state executive councillors. In August 2019, they were each given a Toyota Camry 2.5V, costing RM185,000. So how could they not approve the purchase of the Mercedes-Benz for their boss, the chief minister? Is it farfetched to say that the executive council members had been ‘bribed’ into approving the purchase?

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What kind of leadership is Chow showing by teasing the voters with his ignorance about the purchase? He shows utter contempt for the people whose money he used to buy the car. Doesn’t he feel a bit of shame for appropriating for his use a sum of RM500,000 of public money while the state’s budgets have been in deficit for the past 10 consecutive years?

How power corrupts people to the point they begin to see arrogance and contempt for the taxpayers as a virtue of their political power.

Shame on you, dear chief minister, for the contempt you have for Malaysians who question your spendthrift approach, while hundreds of thousands are struggling to put a meal on the tables of their families. Equal shame on the executive councillors who collaborated on this.

Can’t Penang set decent moral and ethical standards for the rest to follow?

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Note: Chow has since apologised and taken responsibility for the purchase

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