GEORGE TOWN: Penang is prepared to assume full responsibility for the Penang National Park provided it is also allowed to take over its advisory council.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said this following accusations that the state was to be blamed for the Penang nude sports games event that was held at the park’s Teluk Kampi beach.
Lim said in a statement it was unfair to blame the state government over the incident because it did not have the final say over the national park.
Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow criticised Lim for trying to “wash his hands” over the nudist camp uproar at the Penang National Park.
The National Parks Act, said Teng, gave the state government a big say over the running and control of the park.
In retaliation, Lim said he was surprised over Teng’s ignorance about the basics of governance as he was a former state exco member.
Lim said the chairman of the park’s advisory council was the secretary-general of the Natural Resources and Environment Minis-try.
The majority of its council members were appointed by the Federal Government.
“It is unacceptable to say that the minority state government representatives can control the majority of the Federal Government representatives in the council,” Lim said.
The Penang National Park received a lot of attention in recent days after the Penang Nude Sports Games, which took place on May 31, went viral.
Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh said Teng should understand that the advisory council did not have jurisdiction in enforcement.
“He even had the cheek to say that when he was the state Tourism Development and Environment Committee chairman in 2004, his suggestion to allow a state executive councillor to head the National Park Committee was shot down by the ministry.
“This clearly explains who’s calling the shots.”
Balik Pulau OCPD Supt Lai Fah Hin said they were still looking for the female organiser Chew Tok Hwa, who police believe could help shed more light on the holding of the illegal event.
An initial probe revealed that Chew, 57, a retired teacher, had arranged the lodging and transportation for the foreign participants.