Malaysia Dateline

Penang cancel proposed snap poll

Guan Eng cancels snap polls plan after meeting PKR leaders

After countless statements and open criticisms from both its enemies and allies over plans to hold early state election in Penang, DAP today decided not to go ahead with the proposal.

“Following the disagreement of PKR to a state general election, the DAP will not proceed with proposals for a state general election.

“Even though Amanah had agreed with DAP, we had announced that DAP will not make such a decision unilaterally but through a consensus of all 3 parties within Pakatan Harapan,” said chief minister Lim Guan Eng in a statement today.

Lim said the decision showed DAP respected democracy and practised mutual consultation with its friends.

“Despite being unfairly criticised, we will keep our word and display trustworthiness as a basis towards forging a strong coalition in Pakatan. Unlike BN who are kleptocrats, DAP leaders are democrats who seek to build and reinforce mutual trust,” he added.

Plans for the state election was first made public by Lim, who is facing his day in court over accusations of power abuse.

Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon were arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) last month over the purchase of his Pinhorn Road bungalow from Phang.

He was charged for allegedly abusing his powers to approve a rezoning of land from agricultural to residential, to Magnificent Emblem. The offence carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of at least five times the total gratification.

He also pleaded not guilty to a charge of misusing his position as chief minister when he purchased his bungalow located at no. 25, Jalan Pinhorn for RM2.8mil from Phang, when the actual market value was RM4.27 million.

Umno leaders had said that the plan was to pre-empt the trial, and to help consolidate his top position in the state before a conviction.

The plan also did not sit well with PKR, although Amanah said it would back the move.

But Lim today said the plan was “a pro-active strategy” to let the public decide on the allegations against him as well as to act as a referendum of sorts on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, following the damning allegations of some US$3.5 billion theft of funds linked to the 1MDB scandal.

“It is not wrong to return the mandate back to the people because this is part and parcel of democracy. That we do not fear to return the mandate back to the people to decide on the latest exposes of the 1MDB scandal as well as the authority, credibility and legitimacy of the Penang state government led by me, is the correct strategy when BN opposed the holding of state general election,” said the DAP secretary-general, adding that BN had held separate state polls in the past in Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.

Lim said he understood the fears expressed by top PKR leaders who he met on July 20 to discuss the state polls.

He revealed that PKR, fearing loss of seats if elections were held now, had suggested that DAP gave up “one or two of our existing state seats” before the party could agree for snap polls.

“However, we stated that this was not feasible,” said Lim.

Lim said following today’s decision, the matter would be put to rest and that his administration would focus on the people’s welfare.

“Only then are we confident to face the next elections and not fear losing seats.
“We must win not by default from the failures, abuse of power and corruption by BN, but by the strength of our own hard work of establishing an entrepreneurial and welfare state.”