PENANG: May 7, 2008 By PRISCILLA DIELENBERG
It’s now wives against wives in the latest development on the Pertubuhan Bunga Tanjung (PBT) controversy.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's wife Betty Chew, accompanied by the wives of five state executive councillors from Pakatan Rakyat on Wednesday submitted a letter to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) in Komtar to stop an application by former members led by Puan Sri Chui Kah Peng to dissolve PBT.
The letter was handed over to state ROS director Mohd Jamil Mohd Noor, who confirmed that PBT had yet to be dissolved.
Chew criticised the move to dissolve the organisation as unethical and disrespectful to democracy. She added that when the former members decided to dissolve PBT on March 9, they no longer qualified as members because of the outcome of the general election on March 8.
Chui, the wife of former Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, was heading PBT until the Barisan Nasional lost the Penang government.
"We are very shocked at the former members' ultra vires decision (decision beyond their power) to dissolve PBT and to donate RM350,000 to Bakti (the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers)," said Chew in reading out her letter at a press conference.
She added that PBT's constitution did not say that the organisation was meant for wives of Barisan Nasional elected representatives as claimed by Chui.
However, it was clearly stated that PBT's membership was limited to wives of state assemblymen, MPS and senators from Penang except those from the Opposition.
"It is better for Puan Sri to look at the smooth transition of power from Dr Koh to Lim whereby Dr Koh did not take action to dissolve the state.
The five state exco members' wives present were Chow Kon Yeow's wife Tan Lean Kee, Abdul Malik Abul Kasim's wife Noorazlina Mat Kharsa, Lim Hock Seng's wife Ooi Lau Sy alias Lucy, Phee Boon Poh's wife Ooi Suat Cheng, and Wong Hon Wai's wife Lim Saw Peng.
Mohd Jamil said that the ROS was still processing and reviewing the application made by the former members to dissolve PBT.
"We received the application on April 4," he said, adding that the normal procedure to dissolve an organisation would be to submit such an application to the ROS once the members agreed to the dissolution.
Mohd Jamil said that according to the rules and regulations, the application had to be made within 14 days of the members' decision.
He added that he would forward the letter to the ROS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur for consideration and decision.
Asked how much time it would normally take, he said the situation was "something abnormal".
"It does not often happen. We don't have this kind of experience, so it would take a longer time as we have to pay attention to the details."