KUALA LUMPUR: The conditions are ripe for Penang to swing back to the Barisan Nasional in the upcoming 14th General Election (GE14).
This assessment from Gerakan Secretary-General Datuk Liang Teck Meng comes about as he believes people in the state are angry with the DAP led state government over a number of issues.
Chief among them was the floods which wrecked Penang in November and caused the deaths of seven people, displacement of many others and the flood damages to the tune of millions of ringgit.
“This may still be early but I foresee a swing and a return of the Chinese vote. There are long drawn out issues related to development projects, such as the approvals of high rise luxury structures despite the disproportionate land use for affordable housing, problems related to flats as well as illegal factories,” he said.
Liang said the state’s integrity was also on the balance with issues related to the Penang Undersea Tunnel as well as its related road projects and the allegations against Chief Minister Lim Guang Eng for buying a bungalow from a developer with vested interests.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating Penang’s RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three paired road projects.
Lim had in 2016 pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption in relation to the conversion of land from agricultural to residential and the purchase of a plot of land and bungalow at below-market value.
The case against Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon will be heard at the Penang High Court between March 26 and May 25.
“The DAP led state government’s credibility and accountability is questionable. (So) Just let the people judge for themselves,” said Liang responding to questions on whether Gerakan would make a comeback in the state.
Liang further added that in the 39-years that Gerakan had administered Penang, its state administration had never been tarnished with the allegations of corruption.
He said the Penang people needed no convincing on Gerakan’s clean image until today, as there was no corruption allegation faced by the leaders of the Barisan Nasional (BN) component party.
“There were no complaints against two of our Chief Ministers - Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and (Tun) Dr Lim Chong Eu.”
“There were also no complaints against our leaders in general and in Penang especially. I can vouch for that,” he said, referring to Lim’s threats to expose Gerakan leaders alleged misdeeds.
Liang also said tongue-in-cheek that none of Gerkan’s state leaders went down in history for using their influence to buy a bungalow
“No one put a gun to his head to do this,” he quipped.
Meanwhile, Liang said Gerakan is eyeing to contest state and parliamentary seats in four states and raised the party’s request with BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the coalition’s component party meeting last month.