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Friday October 31, 2008

Gerakan hits out at Penang govt’s S. Korea trade visit

GEORGE TOWN: The Pakatan Rakyat state government has come under fire for sending a 52-member trade delegation to South Korea during the global economic crisis.

Gerakan vice-president Huan Cheng Guan questioned the effectiveness of the trip, saying the state government could not even solve the financial crisis faced by the Football Association of Penang or hold a successful cultural expo at the Penang Pesta site.

“The Koreans are now busy rescuing their own companies; do you think they have time for us? (Chief Minister) Lim Guan Eng should take care of his own backyard and ensure that everything is in order before leaving the country,” he added.

Huan pointed out that Lim had yet to reveal the outcome of his trip to South Korea in May.

“Now, he is going there again. Why must he bring his deputy (Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin) along with his wife (Betty Chew) and two DAP MPs (Jeff Ooi and Liew Chin Tong)?” Huan asked, adding that he had never followed former chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon on trade missions when he was the Batu Kawan MP.

Lim is on a trade and investment promotion mission to Seoul until tomorrow.

He is scheduled to have business meetings with several South Korean companies and potential investors in various sectors like electronics, health care, education and travel as well as with the South Korean Deputy Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture.

The delegation includes Penang Development Corporation general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar, investPenang executive committee chairman Datuk Lee Kah Choon and three officials as well as private sector participants.

Penang Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah questioned the need for such a big delegation, saying the largest entourage the previous state administration had ever handled was only 25 people.

“The DAP criticised the previous Barisan Nasional administration for allegedly not doing anything right but now they are keeping quiet when spending taxpayers’ money.

“What has happened to their much talked about Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT) system? Has Guan Eng ever told the people that he travelled Business Class or First Class whenever he goes on official overseas trips?” he asked.

Penang Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said the Pakatan state government should look after the existing investors and provide a conducive environment for them to stay on in light of the current world economic situation instead of wooing new ones.

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