GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government is standing by its policy of not demolishing illegal buildings, structures, temple or hawker stalls set up before 2008, as long as it is not blocking traffic or affecting surrounding residents.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he would be discussing the policy with the state executive council on Wednesday and that he would suggest continuing the policy.
"We stand by our policy. We will not start demolishing all illegal structures for now.
"We will wait for the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) to give clarification (on whether it's wrong to issue a demolition deferment letter)," he told reporters when met outside the High Court, here today.
Lim was at the court to show his support to State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh, who was applying for a revision of his five-day remand order.
Phee was arrested by MACC on Friday in connection with the anti-graft agency's probe into an illegal factory in Sungai Lembu.
Phee was detained over a letter he wrote, allegedly ordering the local council to defer demolition action against the factory.
On Thursday, MACC raided the carbon filter processing factory after numerous complaints from residents over the factory fell on deaf ears.
The raid was followed by raids at the Seberang Perai Municipal Council Licensing Department and Phee's office, service centre and two houses.
Lim said the state government wants an amicable solution through discussions and negotiation.
"If this policy is not allowed and we have to demolish all illegal structures, including factories and hawker stalls, don’t blame us as this is all due to Barisan Nasional.
"They are the ones pushing for this.
"However, if we have to demolish all illegal structures, then not only Penang but all other states must follow," he said.
Lim said Phee had merely written a letter to appeal for the factory and was being penalised for it.
"So are all appeal letters sent by elected representatives as their duty, wrong?
"If based on letters can become issue like this, I've asked all assemblymen to be prepared. Be prepared if MACC wants to arrest them due to letters issued by assemblymen.
"If they want to arrest me, I am ready," he said.
Lim said he has not been contacted by MACC to have his statement recorded.
Yesterday, MACC deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Datuk Azam Baki said that Lim and Penanti assemblyman Dr Norlela Ariffin would be called to have their statements recorded.
Keywords: Penang, Lim Guan Eng, illegal structures, demolition, Sungai Lembu, Phee Boon Poh