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Published: Tuesday December 31, 2013 MYT 4:07:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday December 31, 2013 MYT 6:04:13 PM

Penang CM’s new Mercedes: Some say it’s reasonable; some say it’s hypocritical

PETALING JAYA: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng got a new Mercedes-Benz S300L official car and instantly drove into a storm of controversy.

Some said it was reasonable for a chief minister but others slammed him for buying an expensive luxury car after preaching frugality and criticising Barisan Nasional leaders of being spendthrift.

Barisan’s Kota Belud Member of Parliament Datuk Rahman Dahlan accused Lim of being "hypocritical".

"He accuses the federal government of being spendthrift but look at him now. Cakap tak serupa bikin (he doesn't walk the talk)," said Rahman when contacted on Tuesday.

Rahman, who is also the minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, said that Lim had gone against "everything that he was talking about Barisan leaders”.

"He is just satisfying his ego by purchasing the car. This shows that he is a forked tongue leader," he said.

MIC youth chief C. Sivarraajh asked Lim to stop condemning others and practise what he preached.

“There is nothing wrong in him wanting to get a new car but when Pakatan Rakyat has been talking about cost cutting and being frugal, it does not seem right,” he said. 

Earlier Tuesday, Penang financial officer Datuk Mokhtar Jait said that the state paid RM298,263.75 for the Mercedes-Benz which Lim began to use on Monday.

The original price of the car was RM657,218 but the state got a tax exemption and a special discount of RM100,000.

However, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh, said the price was "reasonable".

"There is nothing wrong with the purchase if the price is okay and it is done correctly," he told The Star Online.

He pointed out that former Penang chief minister Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon had been given a Mercedes-Benz that was bought at almost RM300,000 in 1995.

"So, I think the price is reasonable and he (Lim) is entitled to it and it doesn't matter if it's the right time or not," he said.

DAP’s partners, PKR and PAS, had no quarrel with the price but wondered if it was necessary.

“I have no problem if they bought the car at a cheaper price but if the old vehicles can still be used, why the need to change?” asked Datuk Mahfuz Omar, a Pokok Sena MP.

Ampang PKR MP Zuraida Kamaruddin said that although Lim was entitled to the car as a chief minister, it had always been Pakatan’s principle to spend prudently.

“If there’s a need for a new car, then (the price) is reasonable. But is it necessary?” she asked, adding that Lim needed to explain the purchase.

“He needs to clarify, otherwise we will be seen to be behaving like the Barisan people,” she said.

 

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