Penang CM: Get your facts right; ministry supervising PDC, not taking over

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Development Corporation (PDC) has not been taken over by the Economic Affairs Ministry (MEA) despite the claims made by Gerakan deputy president Oh Tong Keong (pic), says Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

“The MEA did not say that it would ‘take over’ 32 government agencies, one of which is the PDC,” he said.

A statement by the ministry on Jan 17 stated that the MEA “has been given the task of supervising the 32 agencies, particularly agencies that are directly involved in the wealth distribution agenda to reduce long-standing disparities and inequalities”, and also those “related to the development of certain sectors, industries and infrastructure”, and “to further enhance policy formulation”.

Chow added that even though the official statement said “task of supervising”, it did not say that the ministry would “take over”. However, Oh chose not to use “supervising”.

Instead, he took it to mean that the ministry would “take over” these agencies, including PDC.

“The statement did not say ‘take over’, the statement said ‘put under the supervision of the Economic Affairs Ministry’,” Chow told a press conference in Komtar on Wednesday.

He was responding to Oh’s statement on Jan 19, where the latter criticised the Penang government for “being powerless by allowing the federal government to take over PDC”.

Chow said as a party deputy president, Oh should be responsible in making his statements.

“He has the right to say what he wants, but they must have basis. He is no longer a branch or parliamentary leader, but is now the second highest leader of Gerakan.

“Despite this, we still respect whatever that is said by the opposition as long as it is based on facts,” he added.

Chow also advised Oh to refer to the enactment before claiming that PDC had been taken over by the federal government.

“PDC, like other agencies, was formed according to the respective state enactment. In Penang, the enactment to form PDC was given the name Penang Development Corporation Enactment 1971, which came into force on Nov 17, 1969, the day that PDC was formed.

“So if you look at the enactment, even from that time in 1971, there are provisions about the role of the state and the role of the federal ministry.

“We want to state that PDC was not taken over, unless Oh has proof that PDC has already been taken over,” he said.