GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has proposed an ‘I Love Penang’ campaign to counter a Barisan Nasional suggestion that Penang be made a federal territory.
He said the state government would not be too aggressive nor use hate in the campaign.
“We will use a different approach and I suggest we launch a state-wide campaign ‘I Love Penang’ to let Barisan know that we love Penang and not to touch our state,” Lim said in his speech at the Penang DAP Chinese New Year Open House at SJK (C) Shang Wu in Air Itam here yesterday.
He was commenting on Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s suggestion to expand the federal territories to include parts of Malacca, Langkawi and Penang.
Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, said Malaysia was a federation made up of 13 states, including Penang and “no one could change it.”
He said claims that Malays were ignored in Penang were racist, adding that if Barisan intended on helping people, it should look at the poorer states in the country.
Lim said he would give more details and officially launch the campaign after the state government discussed the matter further for approval.
Tengku Adnan, who is also Barisan Nasional secretary-general, had first announced his desire to expand the federal territories to include Penang, Langkawi and parts of Malacca in an interview with a radio station on Feb 1, in conjunction with Federal Territories Day.
An online news portal later quoted him as saying that the idea to make Penang a federal territory was to ensure equal development in the northern state.
He reportedly claimed that the state government did not care about the Malays. Currently, the federal territories comprise Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.
In a related development, Penang Umno chief Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said state Umno leaders would meet Tengku Adnan as soon as possible to get details of the proposal as what they knew about the matter thus far were based on media reports.
“We are confident that Ku Nan has good intentions. Maybe he wants to help Penangites more effectively.
“After the meeting, we will discuss with Barisan Nasional component parties to explain to them about it,” Zainal told a press conference yesterday after chairing a state Umno meeting in Pinang Tunggal, Kepala Batas.
Commenting on the ‘I Love Penang’ campaign mooted by Lim to counter Tengku Adnan’s proposal, he hoped Penangites will not be influenced by it.
“In my view, Penangites love their state, just like Malaysians love the country. There is no need for Lim who comes from Malacca to teach Penangites how to love Penang. He is just here to work.
“We are born and raised here and we know how to love the state and what’s best for it. The mind should be open as the proposal might bring economic growth,” Zainal said while pointing out that the state’s consent was needed to make Penang a federal territory.
Also present were Penang Umno secretary Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir and Penang Opposition Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid.