At a press conference following the nomination of election candidates yesterday, Penang Barisan Nasional Chairman and Tanjong Bunga candidate Teng Chang Yeow described me as a “blue-eyed boy” of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. He then questioned whether I dare to voice out the concerns of the people of Tanjong Bunga.
Teng may call me whatever he wants, but I can categorically state that I have no problems voicing out the concerns of the people as I have been doing precisely that for the last five years as the Member of Parliament for Bukit Bendera.
I have not only spoken up on issues relating to my parliamentary portfolio of education, but I have also expressed strong views on various other issues including opposing PAS President Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill (RUU355). Even though I was vilified for it and even had posters labelling me as “anti-Islam” put up all over Penang, I stood my ground.
Can Teng stand up to Najib?
However, I would like to ask Teng whether he really dares to voice the concerns of the people to his own boss, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak.
Chief among the people’s concerns is the issue of GST. Ever since the implementation of the consumption tax, Malaysians have been suffering due to inflation and spiralling cost of living. According to Mydin, hypermarket sales dropped by four to five per cent in the last one year. As hypermarkets make up half of the total grocery market in Malaysia, this means that the purchasing power of Malaysian households has been severely affected.
In fact, during my walkabouts yesterday, I met a Tanjong Bunga resident who lamented that he was unable to have more children because he simply could not afford it despite now working two jobs. He then added that he would gladly have more children if Pakatan Harapan manages to win power and abolish GST.
Another big issue of concern to Tanjong Bunga residents as well as all Malaysians is the 1MDB financial scandal that has left the country with massive debts. As a consequence of 1MDB, the ringgit suffered massive depreciation resulting in higher import costs. On top of that, Malaysia now has the shameful reputation of being a global kleptocracy.
The question is, does Teng dare to stand up to Najib and and voice the biggest concerns of millions of Malaysians, including Tanjong Bunga residents, who reject GST and 1MDB?
Zairil Khir Johari
DAP Penang Vice-Chairman
Pakatan Harapan Candidate for Tanjong Bunga
NB: This press statement was released on 29 April 2018.