GEORGE TOWN, Feb 28 – No political party was invited to the annual Jade Emperor’s birthday celebration held in Weld Quay here, said Chew Jetty chairman Chew Hock Ean. He explained that he only assumed the chairmanship in April last year and was still not very familiar with the procedures to organise the event.
“We did not invite any political party this year. The reason (Penang MCA chairman) Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun was invited was because her surname is Chew and (Penang Barisan Nasional chief) Teng Chang Yeow was invited because he is my good friend,” he said here yesterday.
Hock Ean was commenting on a Facebook posting by Tanjong DAP MP Ng Wei Aik that he was disappointed at not being invited to the event on Thursday. Ng wrote in a Facebook posting on Thursday: “I would definitely attend such a grand celebration which is in my constituency. But I did not receive any invitation. Now, not only the clan jetty does not want the state government’s money, even the Chief Minister and the MP elected by them are not wanted now.”
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who had attended the celebration with several state executive councillors from 2009 to 2014, said no invitations were extended to him or the state government for the event this year. “There was also no application for any allocation for the festival. We’ve always allocated funds to the organising committee every year.
“Maybe the arrangements were sufficient for this year,” he told reporters after offering prayers to the Jade Emperor at the Thnee Kong Tnua (Jade Emperor’s Pavilion) in Air Itam on Thursday night. Asked if he was disappointed, Lim said he was not. Teng lauded the Chew Jetty in promoting and safeguarding Chinese cultural heritage.
He said he would help get allocations for the festival again next year. Teng said he was approached by the Chew Jetty chairman this year and managed to get RM25,000 for them from MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and another RM25,000 from Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong. “The expenditure for the celebration next year is expected to reach RM103,000, and I hope to get the same amount for them as I did this year,” he added.