Phantoms and ghosts in state seat debate

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003

NG SU-ANN and OPALYN MOK at the Penang State Assembly on Monday

IN the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, phantom voters and ghouls became the topics of the day during a debate to pass an amendment to the state constitution to increase the state seats from 33 to 40. 

Citing a Chinese adage, Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the opposition liked to “look for bones in an egg,” and that was to create issues out of nothing. 

“The opposition shouldn’t look for ghosts everywhere. Perhaps only ghosts can see other ghosts,” he said in his winding-up speech.  

Opposition leader Abdul Rahman Abdul Kadir (Keadilan – Penanti) interjected, claiming he, too, knew of a Chinese saying and uttered the Hainanese saying: “Nang bo dee nang, kui bo dee kui “ which means one was neither a human nor a ghost.  

Dr Koh, who is also Tanjung Bunga assemblyman, continued by saying that the opposition was constantly criticising the state government’s policies by making an issue out of nothing and holding demonstrations. 

“When they do this, neither people nor ghosts will help them,” he said. 

He questioned the opposition for its lack of faith in the Election Commission when its components had successfully captured several state seats in Kedah, Perlis, Terengganu, Kelantan and Sabah. 

Earlier, Law Heng Kiang (DAP – Batu Lancang) said the DAP had long been raising the issue of phantom voters but the commission had yet to solve this problem.  

“Of late, we have heard Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Hilmi Yahya himself complaining of phantom voters in his constituency in Teluk Bahang. 

“Also, it can’t be denied that in the Tanjung Bunga constituency, it was found that several voters were 'residing' on an open field,” he added. 

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