Penang BN 'smarter' than Soi Lek, urges Najib to drop port privatization deal

Penang BN 'smarter' than Soi Lek, urges Najib to drop port privatization deal
Smelling a dead rat ahead, Penang BN has decided to go against the plan to privatize the Penang port to Umno-linked tycoon Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary as proposed by Prime Minister Najib Razak and MCA president Chua Soi Lek.
Unlike the Johor-based Soi Lek, who is also the Penang Port Commission chief, Penang BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow was quick to distance himself from the plan that has angered Penangites, who mostly see it as a slap in the face as well as a further example of the ruling coalition's notorious corruption.
Teng urged Najib to review the deal, which has not been inked yet.
"We will send a delegation to the prime minister to express our views collected from the people," Teng told reporters.
However, he stopped short at joining DAP's "Return the Port to Penang" campaign launched by the Pakatan Rakyat on Sunday. And when asked whether there had been any open tender for the privatisation of the port and if that was good practice, Teng replied he did not want to discuss "technicalities".
"I don't know how it works, I am not in the federal government," said Teng.
Politically more savvy than Soi Lek but as mousy as Tsu Koon?
Recently appointed the Penang BN chairman to replace the timid Koh Tsu Koon, it looks like Teng will also be written off by Penang voters soon if he does not make a clear stand against perceived corruption or publicly call out for transparency even for deals that may have been directly brokered by Najib and other BN colleagues.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his state executive council had last week rejected the federal government's decision to privatize the port to Mokhtar's Johor-based Seaport Terminal. They reiterated their request for the federal government to dredge the port instead of using the excuse that the privatization was to enable the dredging to be done by the tycoon's firm.
Several Pakatan Rakyat leaders had also slammed Soi Lek for trying to sideline Penang port's growth so as to boost the ports in his own Johor home-state.
"Dr Chua, you have sold out the rights of the people of Penang. Of course, they can go ahead and carry out the port operations without consulting the state but do not forget — some of the pieces of land there are owned and belong to the state government," Guan Eng said on Friday.
Soi Lek has however stuck to his guns, warning that to resist the deal was to "sabotage" Penang's own growth.
“The privatisation is not to sabotage but to improve the efficiency of the port. They can fight the federal government or try to derail it but if they refuse to cooperate they will be sabotaging themselves,” said the MCA president.
Malaysia Chronicle

No comments: