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Tuesday July 22, 2008

Gerakan puts up road names in Chinese as reminders to state govt

GEORGE TOWN: A group of Gerakan members has put up six road signs in Chinese here to tell the DAP that it has to come up with such road signs since the party is now helming the state.

In what appears to be a tit-for-tat move, former Penang Municipal councillor Dr Thor Teong Ghee, who is a Penang Gerakan Youth committee member, said such road signs were now vital as George Town had been listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

“But now that they are at the helm, I sincerely hope they will keep their word by putting up such road signs,” he said before putting up one of the road signs in Chinese at Beach Street yesterday.

The other roads where the Gerakan members have put up roads signs in Chinese are Burmah Road, Macalister Road, Carnarvon Street, Chulia Street and Jalan C. Y. Choy.

Signing up: Dr Thor (third from right) and other Gerakan members showing the road signs in Chinese during a press conference at Beach Street. The signs were later put up under the original road signs at the six roads.

Interestingly, except for Jalan C.Y. Choy, the road signs are of the Chinese names used by locals to refer to these roads, and take into account trades or features peculiar to the road such as Lam Chan Ah (Muddy Padi Field) for Carnarvon Street which used to be home to padi fields in the early days of Penang.

Beach Street is referred to as Tho Kok Kay (Wholesale Street), Burmah Road (Chia Chooi Lor - Water Carriers Road), Macalister Road (Tiong Lor - Middle Road) and Chulia Street (Gu Kan Tang - Cattle Pen Street).

In June last year, Penang DAP Youth had put up road signs in Chinese at several roads to pressure the previous government to come up with Chinese road signs.

Dr Thor said that the Penang DAP youth wing had said the Chinese road signs could boost tourism, especially in attracting tourists from China.

Penang Municipal Council enforcement officers later took down the signs put up by the DAP members as they were illegally erected.

Dr Thor said although the Gerakan members had also illegally put up their road signs yesterday, he hoped this would serve as a reminder to the present state government.

“At least eight of the DAP members who supported the move for road signs in Chinese to be put up are now state assemblymen and, as such, should aggressively pursue its implementation,” he added.

When contacted, DAP national Socialist Youth (Dapsy) organising secretary Koay Teng Hai, who is also Pulau Tikus assemblyman, said Dapsy was not only proposing road signs in Chinese but in other languages as well.

He said Dapsy was in the midst of drafting a proposal on the matter before submitting it to the municipal council and state Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow for approval.

“Apart from Chinese, we will also have road signs in Tamil and Jawi, depending on the cultural background of the area,” added Koay.

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