Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan responding yesterday to recent accusations by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng
GEORGE TOWN: May 14, 2008 By Audrey Dermawan
A former state executive councillor has branded Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng an ignorant and naive person and accused him of playing politics on the proposed Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) project issue.
Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan, who is Gerakan vice-president and the former state local government committee chairman, also said Lim was unfit to be chief minister.
"To me, he has not even started his functions as the chief minister and I am not going to refer to him as one yet. I will just refer to him as Lim Guan Eng for now," he said at the state Gerakan headquarters yesterday.
The press conference was held in response to repeated calls from the media for him to comment following Lim's accusation that the former state government had misled the prime minister about the project.
Dr Teng said Lim was merely playing to the gallery and putting up a show.
He said any allegation hurled by Lim against him and former chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon on the PGCC project was baseless and a result of Lim's ignorance.
He added that there was no need for Lim to make queries about the project in public when he could easily obtain the answers from his officers and other sources.
Dr Teng answered point-by-point and at length the questions raised by Lim about the PGCC on Sunday.
To Lim's assertion that the former state government should apologise to the prime minister for misleading him and inviting him to the launch when the project had not even been approved, Dr Teng said the invitation was from the developer Equine Capital Bhd and not the then state government.
He stressed that even state government officials were at the launch as invited guests and played no part in organising the event.
"The prime minister was merely launching the conceptual plan and he was aware that no approval was given yet.
"The prime minister himself requested, during the launch, that the state government facilitate and assist in the approval of the project," he said, adding that this was similar to other projects in the Northern Corridor Economic Region development plan.
As such, Dr Teng said the question of misleading the prime minister did not arise.
To another question as to why the state government allowed the developer to sell and promote the project despite the fact that no approval had been given, Dr Teng said: "If the developer wants to do a conceptual launch or promote the project, we cannot stop them. Also, we were not aware what the developer was promoting."
On the move to rezone the Turf Club land from recreational/open space to new development in the state structural plan, Dr Teng said it was done so that the land could be developed in the future.
"As far as I am concerned, any development can take place on the land and it is not confined to the PGCC project.
"You must understand that this is a private land which belongs to a private club and since there was an application to develop it, we figured that it was best to include it into the structural plan.
"After all, the structural plan charts the long-term development needs of the state."
Meanwhile, in an immediate response, Lim Guan Eng said he had no plans to resort to a personal attack. Lim said all the state government wanted were answers based on facts.
"I will not resort to a personal attack, let's see what Dr Teng has to say in the newspapers tomorrow before I answer him," he said yesterday.