GEORGE TOWN, Feb 14 -An attempt on K-pop sensation Psy's life forced organisers to call off plans to have the singer participate in a "yee sang" tossing ceremony with Barisan Nasional (BN) dignitaries during the coalition's recent Chinese New Year open house here.
State BN chief Teng Chang Yeow said today that they were told to ensure the police were on high alert due to the death threats the superstar received before he came here.
He denied speculation that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak left the stage after Psy did not come up when invited to toss "yee sang" with BN leaders.
Teng said the delay in Psy making his appearance was due to security measures to prevent an attempt on his life.
"There was an attempt on Psy's life so the police had to act to secure the area since his tent was a distance to the stage, that's why we ask the prime minister to come down from the stage," he said.
He said Psy had received death threats if he came to Penang to perform.
He denied that the Korean pop star had refused to "low sang" (tossing yee sang) with the BN leaders, saying it was not part of Psy's programme.
"He was only here to perform, this (tossing yee sang) is not part of the programme," he said.
He said Psy did not know what is "low sang" and since it was not in his programme, his team had to explain it to him.
"By the time they explained to him, it is all over," he said.
He said the emcee did not follow her cue which had resulted in the yee sang "misunderstanding".
Teng added that bringing Psy to Penang was his way of telling the people that he delivers on his promises.
"All I wanted was just to tell the people of Penang that what I promise, I will deliver," he said.
He said if the people have confidence in him, next year he would bring another superstar to Penang and it did not necessarily have to be during Chinese New Year.
Teng said he had friends in the industry who had offered to bring the Korean superstar over and the performance was also fully sponsored by a private sponsor.
"It was sponsored by private sponsors who preferred to remain anonymous as they are afraid of being ‘victimised' if their identities were revealed," he said.
Speculation has been rife on social networking sites and websites that BN had used taxpayers' money to fund the massive event on Monday where more than 60,000 people turned up for the event.
"I was given a choice of between Psy or Justin Bieber but since I don't know who Justin Bieber is, I decided to bring Psy over," Teng said at a press conference at the Jelutong Gerakan Chinese New Year open house.
"I can even bring Elton John to perform in Penang if the DAP state government can convince PAS to allow Elton John to come here," he said jokingly.
On the much talked about negative reaction to the Prime Minister's question of "are you ready for BN?", Teng likened it to a guest attending someone's open house while bringing a broom, which is a no-no in Chinese customs.
"A Chinese New Year Open House is an auspicious occasion where the guests would come with auspicious words and not bearing brooms which is bad luck according to Chinese customs," he said.
He said if people attended the BN Chinese New Year open house by bringing ‘brooms', it shows a lack of manners.
"I regret that there are those who come to our open house and acted "un-auspiciously" but still, I would like to thank all those who came from near and far for coming," he said.
The Chinese New Year open house, held on Han Chiang field, was considered a successful event and despite the negativity that arose, Teng felt that the event was not political suicide.
"It was just a Chinese New Year celebration and for the people of Penang to enjoy performance by Psy," he said.
Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-Sang, is well-known for his single "Oppa Gangnam Style" that became viral online.
He performed for about 10 minutes to an excited crowd during the event.
In a separate function, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said it is obvious that Psy was brought to Penang because BN was desperate to win back the state.
"They didn't bring him to Johor, Malacca or Pahang where BN is perceived to be "safe" but they brought him here because this is a Pakatan Rakyat state and they want to win back Penang," he said.
He said this is why Malaysians should now vote for a change because it is only when BN had lost that it started dishing out goodies to the people.
"All other states should emulate Penangites by voting for a change, then perhaps BN will start showering them with handouts and goodies like what they are doing here to win back the state," he said.
The polls are expected to be called soon as the current federal government's mandate expires in June.