Penang Forum is extremely disappointed by the recent personal attacks against civil society city councillor Dr Lim Mah Hui with the highly disparaging press statement from Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng on March 12, 2016.
On February 29, the chief minister invited Penang Forum representatives for a dialogue which was fruitful and ended amicably.
There was a discussion on the issue of illegal parking and the towing of cars.The difference with regard to the number of cars towed by the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) arose because the MBPP and the press did not take into account his full explanation (instead, they focused on only one part of his explanation) as clarified by Dr Lim in his press statement of March 21, 2016. Unfortunately, it has been brought to the level of press conferences following the public vilification of Dr Lim, with the use of terms like “hero with lies.”
Penang Forum has the highest regard for Dr Lim’s professionalism. He is a professor who has taught in universities in Malaysia and the United States. As an international banker, he worked, among others, in Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan Chase) in New York, Credit Suisse First Boston in Singapore and Asian Development Bank in Manila.
He is an international speaker and his works have been published internationally. He has also authored a book on the present global financial crisis and its impact on Asia.
Dr Lim, a Penangite, shares his vast knowledge and experience with corporations, governments, universities, think-tanks, and civil society groups. He is currently focussed on serving the community and civil society groups in Penang and has contributed greatly to the work of Penang Forum.
On returning to Penang, Dr Lim sacrificed his time serving the state as a city councillor for the last five years. Known for his unswerving integrity and straight talking, Dr Lim has little patience for intrigues and scheming. He speaks his mind, rights the things that he sees are wrong and laments the wrongs that he cannot change. This is a man unlikely to misinterpret figures and reports and with too much integrity to ‘lie’. He has nothing to gain and nothing to prove.
Penang Forum was truly shocked by this frenzy and uproar over a complaint of ‘lack of enforcement’, a constant daily problem in our urban lives. Is a councillor not supposed to highlight these issues? Should he be belittled and abused for doing so based on figures presented to him? Isn’t transparency what is advocated by the state government?
Dr Lim is the epitome of the kind of Penangite that the government wishes to encourage to return and serve the state. The belittling of Dr Lim in public is unbecoming of a government that advocates competency, accountability and transparency. Penang Forum hopes this will be the last episode of this sort.
Moving forward, Penang Forum hopes that honest and open engagement with the state government and council will continue in the spirit of working for the betterment of Penang.
The Penang Forum is a loose coalition of progressive public-interest civil society groups based in Penang, Malaysia.