GEORGETOWN, Nov 23 – Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow today defused criticisms that Seberang Perai, the mainland portion of the state, was being sidelined despite it being larger than the popular island. Chow, a Penang state executive councillor, said Seberang Perai is in fact witnessing a wave of development in areas such as Batu Kawan, near the newly-opened second Penang bridge, where modern and new housing projects are slated.
“Our future plans are focused on Seberang Perai in view of the opportunities the area can bring for sustainable development,” he said at the Penang DAP annual convention today. Chow was responding to delegate, Shamsher Singh Thind who criticised the design of the convention’s backdrop which contained map-like graphics resembling only the Penang island.
“It certainly cannot be denied that Seberang Perai is treated like the step-child of the state,” Shamsher, who is from the DAP’s Chai Leng Park branch on the mainland, said. Pointing to the backdrop which excluded the map of Seberang Perai, he added: “Should we become an independent state then?” Chow apologised for any omission, and said he had reproached those behind the design.
Ironically, the convention was held in Bukit Mertajam, the largest town in Seberang Perai. DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is chief minister, later stood up to say that the state’s plan to build a tunnel between Gurney Drive on the island and Bagan Ajam on the mainland would make it the third physical link between the two sides.
He said the project would help speed up development to the mainland. “This proves that we are giving priority to Seberang Perai,” he said. He added that the Penang State Transport Masterplan includes a proposal for the construction of mass rapid transit (MRT) or light rapid transit (LRT) system across the whole of Penang, including Seberang Perai.
He also pointed to the major road upgrading projects that mainlanders have seen since 2008. On the issue of Lim’s official car being recently photographed parked illegally in front of a building at Jalan Gurdwara, Lim said he had cautioned his driver that he is liable to face the consequences if he did wrong.
“I will ask Chow if MPPP (Penang Island Municipal Council) can issue a summons to him,” Lim said. Lim also criticised the mainstream media for not highlighting his comments on important issues like the multi-billion ringgit debts allegedly incurred by the Federal government’s 1MDB but could use their page on matter related to his official car.