PENANG: May 7, 2008 By ONG YEE TING
The public spat between Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Puan Sri Chui Kah Peng over the dissolution of Pertubuhan Bunga Tanjung (PBT) has taken a new twist, with Penang Gerakan Wanita accusing Lim of practising gender bias.
State Gerakan Wanita chief Ng Siew Lai wants Lim to apologise for uttering the words “leave the poor lady alone” and “Chui is a lady and does not understand the (PBT) constitution”, claiming the remarks were insulting to women.
“He is a public figure and a leader, he should have been more responsible over his choice of words,” she said.
Lim however told a press conference yesterday that the phrases used were merely a figure of speech.
“There’s definitely nothing derogatory about my words,” Lim said, adding that he made the remarks when some newsmen asked if the state would take legal action against Chui for dissolving PBT.
“What I meant was for the media to give Chui a break. I think it’s unfair for us to keep putting pressure on her because she might not be very clear about the constitution and could have been wrongly advised,” he said.
He said Chui, the wife of his predecessor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon should understand that the phrases were merely an expression and not create an issue of it.
Earlier, Lim also announced that the state government would set up the new Penang Tourism Council in two weeks.
“It will be a coordinating and implementing body for the state and will cooperate with the federal bodies to bring Penang back to the tourism map,” he said after holding a meeting with the tourism industry players.
Lim said Penang’s tourism industry had been stagnant for the past 10 years and there were many major areas that could not be solved overnight.
He said the formation of the council showed the state’s commitment towards developing tourism, which is the state’s second-largest revenue earner after manufacturing.