PENANG – April 19, 2018: Despite facing some controversies, the DAP-led Penang government appears to remain popular with the people here, especially the Chinese on the island.
Among those who think so are Gerakan deputy Youth chief Andy Yong and DAP’s Tanjong member of parliament Ng Wei Aik, with both believing that the pro-DAP sentiment was exceptionally prevalent within the community and would probably result in another win for the opposition.
They also appeared sure yesterday that support for DAP in Penang will not be much affected by the corruption trial against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng involving the purchase of a bungalow and other issues related to the proposed undersea tunnel project.
“So far the people of Penang are still supportive of us since the testimony against Guan Eng in court so far is favourable,” said Ng.
“The moment LGE was prosecuted we wanted to call a snap election…. the people of Penang were angry as to why our chief minister should be charged and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib is not?” he asked.
Yong said the reaction of many Penangites to the issues faced by Lim was of two types.
“First, there are some who think that the allegation against Lim was just another ploy by Barisan Nasional to make him look bad,” said Yong.
“Then there are others who say it’s still okay even if Lim is proven guilty because his indiscretion is not too big.”
Yong, who will be contesting in the Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat in the general elections, said when he first went to the area last October, Barisan Nasional (BN) had only 25 per cent support.
“Many loathed BN that they shove me away even before I could speak. Some even called me a dog the instant they saw me approaching,” he recalled.
During the last elections, the Bukit Bendera parliament seat was won by Penang DAP vice-chairman Zairil Khir Johari who defeated Gerakan’s Teh Leong Meng with a majority of 32,778.
Admitting that it will be an uphill battle this time, Yong nevertheless said he took on the task simply because he wanted to help the underprivileged.
Since he set-up his service centre in October, Yong realised that the low income group living on the island have two major grouses, namely access to affordable housing and healthcare.
“A lot of the people (the lower income) in Padang Tembak live in a so called house with only one room. Those with families are often forced to leave the island and live on the mainland where accommodation is cheaper.
“Secondly it’s health care. Not everyone can afford to go to private hospital or clinics but on the island there is only one subsidised hospital, which is the Penang Hospital. That is not enough to cater for everyone,” said Yong.
If he wins Bukit Bendera, Yong will make the two issues his focus.
Where Yong’s view pivots more towards welfare, Ng is more concerned about getting Penang to be recognised as an international city.
“For that to happen, you must first solve the traffic congestion. This is why we need the undersea tunnel,” said Ng.
Ng also said that if Malaysians elect Pakatan Harapan to lead the country, one of Penang DAP’s biggest plans is to buy over the first Penang bridge.
“We can resort to crowdfund if the government does not have enough money. It’s a feasible idea. We always believe we can unite Penangites even if we ask them to buy over the bridge,” said Ng.