GEORGE TOWN: Stop blaming the previous government of Penang for the unsolved issues of illegal structures and hawkers, several state Barisan leaders have told Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
“He should not point fingers at the previous state government when problems arise. All he wants are the praises and not the brickbats,” said Penang MCA chairman Tan Teik Cheng.
He said it was Lim’s duty to solve problems since he was given the mandate by the voters.
State Barisan chairman Teng Chang Yeow said the current state government had the authority to decide whether to demolish or maintain the illegal factories or structures.
“Be it before or after 2008, they have to carry out their mandate. They must decide what is best for the people and not what is best for them politically.
“They have been shirking their responsibilities by pushing it to the previous Barisan administration, which has no power to decide now,” he said in a statement.
At a press conference earlier, Lim said the state government would maintain its policy of not demolishing or closing down illegal structures or businesses that have been in existence before DAP took over the administration in 2008.
“The decision was reached after a state exco meeting today (yesterday),” he said.
“Action will not be taken against owners of illegal places of worship, buildings, structures and factories or illegal hawkers before 2008.”
Lim added that they “inherited” such problems from the previous administration.
“We will not take action unless the structures disrupt traffic flow or cause a public disturbance. We will adopt a win-win situation and find the best solution to help those affected,” he said.
The state government has drawn flak from the Opposition for not taking action against the illegal carbon filter processing factory in Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam.
Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh, factory owner Edmund Gan Eu Leong and his father Gan Buck Hee were arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) after it began a probe into the factory.
All three walked free on Monday after their remand orders were set aside by the High Court. MACC intends to appeal the decision.
Lim said Phee, who is on medical leave until Aug 21, would clarify the issue of the illegal factory when he returned to work.
Penang Gerakan Land and Anti-Corruption Committee spokesman H’ng Khoon Leng said Barisan’s appointed Village Development and Security Committee told the relevant authorities about the illegal factory in May 2007.
He said the party wrote to the Department of Environment (DoE), the then state government and related agencies after learning about the alleged pollution.
“Investigations began and the factory did some remedial works to reduce its impact.
“The problem could not be solved overnight. We were defeated and the Pakatan Harapan government should have followed up on the issue,” he told said at the state Gerakan headquarters in Macalister Road.
A check at the factory found that two lorry drivers were taking turns to monitor the flames in the 31 pits used to make carbon.
Four DoE officers inspected the factory at 1.05pm yesterday.
“We found all the pits still burning. We are unable to ‘seal’ them until the fires are extinguished,” an officer said.