A response to Azahar’s “unwarranted personal attack”

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Ahmad Chik responds to the Penang Opposition Leader’s accusation that he has sold out his principles because he had not spoken out against the formation of the Penang Hill Corporation.  

 

I would be grateful if you can print this letter as my response to the unwarranted personal attack on me by the Leader of the Opposition in the Penang State Assembly on 11 August.

‘I am dismayed that during the State Assembly debate on Tuesday I was accused of having sold out my principles, because I did not speak out against the formation of the Penang Hill Corporation.

‘The idea of the corporation was first mooted in the mid-1980s when Tun Lim was the CM, but it was never seriously pursued. During the mid-1990s it became a central demand of the NGOs who launched the successful ‘Save Penang Hill’ campaign, and it received a big boost when it was included as one of the major recommendations of the 1996 Bukit Bendera Local Plan. Regrettably nothing more was done, even though many individuals, Friends of Penang Hill and other groups lobbied very hard for its implementation.

‘It was only this year that the State Government decided to act on the recommendation. In the 25 years that I have been associated with Penang Hill, this is one of the best things that has happened and should lead to a renaissance of one of our most precious assets. I congratulate the Government.

‘If I have been silent over this issue, it is because I have been too busy applauding.

‘The criticism was particularly painful because it was made by Dato Azhar, a senior and respected politician, in a public forum in the presence of the media, tarring almost all my NGO associates with the same brush. It is also unwarranted. We spend a great deal of time and energy doing the things that we do for a variety of motives, but personal gain is not one of them.

‘Even though he withdrew his remarks, it has been reported and the damage to my reputation has been done. I have to defend myself vigorously even if it means disclosing information that I was reluctant to make public previously. Would Dato Azhar think less ill of me if I tell him that last year I declined a prestigious state award and that I have not and will not accept any fees or remunerations as a PBA director?

‘Every man has his price, and I am no exception; but mine is a lot more than one or even two directorships’.

Aliran member Ahmad Chik, who lives on Penang Hill, sent this letter to the media but most failed to publish it.

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