by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Monday, January 31, 1994:
Tan Gim Hwa should hold a dialogue with the 250 Midlands residents who have expressed their opposition to the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ Project.
The MPPP President, Datuk Tan Gim Hwa should hold a dialogue with the 250 Midlands residents who have expressed their opposition to the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ project by putting their signature to a petition initiated by the Taman Midlands Action Committee.
Alternatively, Tan Gim Hwa should attend a meeting which the Taman Midlands Action Committee is organising for the affected residents to hear their views on the project – after the meeting they had wanted to hold at Balai Rakyat Pulau Tikus on Saturday night had been sabotaged by the MPPP by locking out the affected residents although the MPPP had accepted payment and issued receipt for the booking of the Balai Rakyat.
Tan Gim Hwa should come to a meeting with all the affected residents and explain why the MPPP full Council had decided to close off Lorong Reutens at its meeting of 9th December 1993, without any consultation or notice to the affected residents.
This is a most undemocratic decision by the MPPP, showing that it operates in a highly secretive fashion without any regard to the democratic principles of accountability and transparency.
The developer of Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ project, Pangkal Permata (M) Sdn. Bhd. , submitted its application for planning approval for the project on November 1, and the MPPP Infrastructure and Works Committee met on 24th November to endorse its proposal to close Lorong Reutens. The MPPP full Council approved the closing of Lorong Reutens at its meeting of 9th December 1993.
This is an unheard-of speed in the functioning of the the MPPP and its various committees! The question is why the MPPP does not operate with similar speed and efficiency in all other cases of planning applications?
Can Tan Gim Hwa explain why the MPPP had not made any announcement that the MPPP had decided at its full council meeting of December 9 to close off Lorong Reutens.
I want to make it very clear that I did not receive this information either from Australian spies or the foreign media – but I challenge Tan Gim Hwa to deny that the MPPP Full Council had decided on December 9, 1993 to close Lorong Reutens at the request of Pangkal Permata (M) Sdn. Bhd. !
Nobody knows what has happened to the three-man Inquiry Committee – which I have described as ‘an inquiry for Tan Gim Hwa to investigate into Tan Gim Hwa’ which had been announced by the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to investigate into the Taman Midlands scandal.
Dr. Koh Tsu Koon was unable to give any satisfactory answer to the queries raised by the DAP in the budget meeting of the Penang State Assembly last month over the Taman Midlands scandal, and the only thing he could do was to announce a three-man committee ‘for Tan Gim Hwa to investigate into Tan Gim Hwa’ – comprising Tan Gim Hwa, the State Secretary and the State Legal Adviser.
Nobody has any expectation or confidence in this three-man inquiry committee set up by the State Government over the Taman Midlands scandal, and this is why nobody is really interested to find out whether it had been established only to ‘die’ immediately.
In any event, is Dr. Koh Tsu Koon able to tell the people what has happened to this ‘three-man inquiry committee’, whether it has ‘closed shop’ even before it started work?
Dr. Teng Hock Nan and the other committee should react positively to the invitation to attend the meeting being called by Taman Midlands Action Committee to establish the consensus of the residents on the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ Project.
I fully support the decision of the Taman Midlands Action Committee to call another meeting of the affected residents of the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ Project after the the meeting to be held at Balai Rakyat Balai Tikus on Saturday night was sabotaged by the MPPP which ‘locked out’ the residents after accepting receipt and booking for the hall.
The Chairman of Taman Midlands Action Committee, Mr. Ong Ewe Teong, had announced yesterday that the next meeting is meant to establish the consensus of the affected Midlands residents on the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ Project as there is now another committee of the affected Midlands residents.
I understand that the meeting which formed the other committee and elected Dr. Teng Hock Nan, the Assemblyman for Kebun Bunga, as Chairman was attended by some 14 people, while some 250 affected residents had expressed support to the Taman Midlands Action Committee in opposing the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ Project.
Mr. Ong’s conciliatory and reasonable attitude should be commended, for he suggests that at the next meeting of the affected Midlands residents which is being called by the Taman Midlands Action Committee, everyone affected by the project should attend including Dr. Teng Hock Nan and the members of the other committee.
I hope Dr. Teng Hock Nan and the members of the other committee would attend such a meeting of the affected Midlands residents so as to establish a consensus for the affected Midlands residents on the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ Project. I also hope the MPPP would not sabotage the meeting of the Taman Midlands Action Committee and ‘lock-out’ the residents from the Balai Rakyat Pulau Tikus a second time.