KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — Lim Guan Eng denied today that his Penang administration was behind a tourism booklet which Umno claimed has challenged the early existence of the Malays in the island.
The Penang chief minister also demanded that the Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhammad Farid Saad to apologise within a week for blaming the state government had distributed the "My Balik Pulau" booklet.
“To make matter worse, the Pulau Betong assemblyman and Utusan Malaysia through its reports have attacked the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government accusing us of publishing material containing historically misleading facts and insulting the Malays when it was Umno and the federal government that should be made responsible,” said Lim in a statement.
In an Utusan Malaysia’s report on February 1, Farid reportedly accused the Penang state government of twisting historical facts in an attempt to mislead the younger generation.
The Malay daily said that the booklet was published by the Penang Arts Education Society and sponsored by the Penang Education Council, which Utusan Malaysia claimed to be an advisory body for the DAP’s state government.
On February 3, the Umno-owned daily carried another report calling the My Balik Pulau booklet as dangerous.
The report quoted Penang campus of Malaysian teachers institute alumni president Abdul Said Hussain who claimed that the booklet was aimed at convincing the Chinese that their ancestors were the first to settle in Balik Pulau and not the Malays.
Lim (picture) revealed today that among the sponsors for the tourism booklet were Farid’s resource centre and other Balik Pulau Umno leaders.
“However all pro-Umno media and Utusan Malaysia continue to spread lies, accusing the PR state government of discriminating against the Malays,” said Lim.
The DAP secretary-general also vowed to take action against Farid if he refuses to retract his statement and apologise to the state government.
“The state government will not keep quiet and be blamed for others’ mistakes especially the mistakes of the evil Umno,” said Lim.
“The Umno assemblyman for Pulau Betong must retract his statement and apologise publicly for his lies. If he fails to do so next, a stern action will be taken against him,” he added.
Lim also did not rule out the possibility of bringing up the matter to the state legislative for what he claimed to be Farid’s racist game.
“Umno’s politics of racism and hatred to cover their scandal and corrupt practices must be fought against,” he said.
Lim has had numerous run-ins with Umno-owned media especially after capturing the state in Election 2008. He has banned Utusan Malaysia from covering his events, saying the paper had misreported and refused to give him a right of reply.
He has also initiated suits against the Malay daily for what he called lies in their reportage. Critics have said that Utusan’s partisan reporting has resulted in declining circulation and readership over the years.