Responses to questions regarding a potential scandal in the Penang Chief Minister's office were not immediately forthcoming.
KUALA LUMPUR: Bloggers have been buzzing about Kota Laksamana State Assemblyman Betty Chew Gek Cheng’s response – or lack thereof – to questions about a woman purportedly linked to her husband, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
The issue became a hot topic in the Melaka state assembly on July 2 when Duyong state assemblyman Datuk Gan Tian Loo asked Chew for information about the sudden transfer of a woman who had worked in the Penang Chief Minister’s Office.
“It’s not a secret anymore. The issue of the woman was posted all over cyberspace,” Gan said.
“Could YB please answer my questions related to the former staff of the Penang Chief Minister’s office?” he asked.
Chew declined to comment on the issue and remained tight-lipped about it when interviewed by reporters outside the assembly.
“If you all want to know, ask the MCA representative who raised the issue to elaborate,” she said.
Bloggers were more forthcoming with speculation about the mystery woman’s identity, with several blogs displaying photos of a woman named who they suggested was involved in the scandal.
Blogger Mat Kilau Penang said: “This issue has become a hot topic among those close to Betty Chew in the DAP inner circle.”
“Initially we weren’t interested in whatever Betty Chew’s problem was with that woman. But because it involves a politician, it’s imperative that we find out the truth,” he said.
“Politicians are like celebrities, their privacy belongs to the people because the ones who put them in power are the people.”
The blogger said the determination shown by the “DAP propaganda machine” in this case gives rise to bigger questions.
“There must be something big they’re trying to keep from the eyes of the public,” he wrote.
Blogger Aloq Laloq wrote, “Lim Guan Eng is surely furious with the actions of Duyong Assemblyman Gan Tian Loo.”
“According to YB Gan, it wasn’t him who wanted to know but the residents in Betty’s constituency who asked him to bring the issue to the assembly,” the blogger said.
Another blogger, The Flying Kick, wrote that Chew’s challenge to Gan to elaborate on his questions outside of the state assembly was just another example of a tactic often used by her husband and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders such as Anwar Ibrahim.
Like Mat Kilau Penang, The Flying Kick said Chew’s refusal to respond to Gan only gives rise to more questions about the scandal, and about the way Pakatan Rakyat politicians handle criticism.
“It appears that the transparency practiced by Lim Guan Eng is just never-ending rhetoric,” he said.
Dr MIM wrote in his blog Minda Intelek Melayu that a video of Chew refusing to answer Gan’s questions “must remind folks in Pulau Pinang of another video in which Lim Guan Eng over-reacted to a question about a scandal involving him and that woman”.
“Lim Guan Eng not only failed to respond in a professional manner but also made threats. That poor Chinese reporter!” he said.
Besides linking to the video in question, Dr MIM also posted a photo of Guan Eng and asked, “And what’s the story behind that plaster on his forehead?”
Meanwhile, Utusan reported today that Ng Phaik Kheng, the woman rumoured to be at the centre of the controversy, had said she was shocked to know her name had come up in the Melaka state assembly.
Utusan quoted her as saying, "I don't know about this matter and it's none of my business."
She was also quoted as saying that Betty Chew was the one who should answer questions on the matter, since the questions were directed at Chew in the first place.
Guan Eng has also made a statement regarding the issue, according to Malaysiakini, which quoted him as saying "Let my wife and me prove in court that MCA lied, that Lim Guan Eng is not Dr Chua Soi Lek," referring to the MCA president who was himself involved in a sex scandal in 2008.
According to the portal, Guan Eng also criticised Duyong state assemblyman Gan, saying "Gan has abused the Malacca assembly privilege and immunity by making false allegations of a private moral scandal against me and my wife.”