A DAP assemblyman has come to the defence of the Penang Forum, saying that there was no need for the state government to criticise the coalition of 20 environmental and civil rights organisations.
Tanjung Bunga assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu said Penang Forum has many professionals and experts.
“They have been sharing information with us. But there are those who are narrow minded and cannot accept criticism.
“We are the ruling coalition and we have to accept suggestions from anyone. It is freedom of speech and part of democracy.
“There is no need to criticise Penang Forum which is just doing its job. We must be friendly with them,” he said when debating the state’s 2018 Budget at the state assembly sitting on Friday.
It was reported that the dialogue, ‘Penang Floods: A Call For Action’, held in George Town on Oct 29 became a heated topic during an earlier sitting.
Two DAP representatives took swipes at the Penang Forum which organised the dialogue.
R.S.N. Rayer (DAP-Seri Delima) said it was a partisan dialogue, with Barisan Nasional and its supporters criticising the state government without any basis.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr P. Ramasamy (DAP-Perai) said the views expressed were aimed at bringing down the state government.
Teh said that before Pakatan Rakyat (now Pakatan Harapan) came into power in 2008, politicians from DAP and PKR used to worked closely with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to protest many controversial projects.
He said among them were the proposed RM25bil Penang Global City Centre mega project in Batu Gantong and the 17km Penang Outer Ring Road.
“Even (DAP adviser Lim) Kit Siang used to work with NGOs to protest a development project on Penang Hill in the 1980s.
“But lately, we have swayed a bit from the path.
“NGOs provide check and balance or function as the watchdogs in the state. It is not wrong for them to speak up.
“We are politicians and once we have secured power and success, we should not be blinded by greed and power given by the people,” he said.