KUALA LUMPUR: Aug 21, 2008 By SIM LEOI LEOI
Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei has clearly been "manipulated" by the Barisan Nasional when he agreed to receive his RM300,000 cheque in Permatang Pauh.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said there was no need to send Lee back to Permatang Pauh using an airplane provided by the Defence Ministry and landing at an airforce base for the purpose of the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign.
"In fact, I understand that he's back here today. Why can't the cheque presentation take place in Kuala Lumpur?
"It's quite clear that he's been manipulated and Barisan is using the ceremony to their advantage for the campaign.
"Similarly, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has also been using the ministry's facilities in his campaign by flying to Penang.
"The use of the Defence Ministry's facilities for the by-election is improper, a form of abuse and a waste of public funds," he told reporters Thursday at the Parliament lobby here.
Lim said on the contrary, neither he nor any other DAP members use their official state cars when they go campaigning.
"We drive our own private cars. This should be the way. Clearly, Barisan has not learnt its lesson from the March 8 general election," he said.
The badminton player received the cheque from Najib in a ceremony in Butterworth on Wednesday night.
He also received RM3,000 being the pension reward the Government had promised for the feat. The payments which begin next month are for life.
Lim said Najib should differentiate between private political interest and his government posts.
Asked about the conferment by Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas of the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN) award on Lee on Aug 30, which carries the title "Datuk", Lim said the ceremony would take place after the polling date in Permatang Pauh.
"This is because we don't want to be seen as taking advantage of him," he said.
On the clash between Chong Eng (DAP - Bukit Mertajam) and Zulkifli Nordin (PKR - Kulim-Bandar Baru) in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday, Lim said it was up to PKR to discipline the latter.
In the disagreement between Chong and Zulkifli on the Bar Council "Conversion to Islam" forum, the latter had called Chong "racist" and "anti-Islam".
Lim said he knew for a fact that Chong was not racist as her husband is an Indian and she is extremely popular with Malay voters in her constituency.
"I am disappointed with Zulkifli. I would expect such a statement to come from Umno and not from him - a PKR member," he said.