1,000 join pro-NEP protest in Penang

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pro NEP protest

A friend of mine provides an eye-witness account and pictures of the pro-NEP demonstration around Komtar, Penang, this afternoon. (The Komtar tower houses the offices of the Penang state government offices and the Chief Minister.) The crowd, which included several Umno leaders and reps in the state, were protesting against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s declaration that the new DAP-led state government would discontinue New Economic Policy (NEP) policies.

Here is the eye-witness account:

At about 2.55pm, I was walking through Komtar and out from the third floor at the Maybank entrance. At first, I saw people lining the balcony railing looking down to three FRU trucks being loaded up with personnel. There was a strong police presence (though not intimidating), vehicles and personnel and a curious but not ruffled crowd.

When I asked, I was told the new chief minister was coming. A bit of a heavy welcome, I thought. So I followed the crowd and walked to Jalan Ria where I could both see and hear a large banner-waving crowd.

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As I could not hear what they were chanting and could not decipher their banners, I can only describe what I saw and felt. Firstly, there was, at that time, no sense of tension either from the crowd or the marchers. The marchers at the front were young mainly male and evidently Muslim. Further back, the marchers were a mix of ages and sexes as well as ethnicities, though I would say they were probably all Muslim – Indian and Malay.

All seemed to be peaceful when I left the scene. Although there was a helicopter overhead, there didn’t seem to be any tear gas or water cannon truck lurking in the background, just FRU directing the march and guiding the traffic.

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One thing though – there was a slight awkwardness in the marchers… and unfamiliarity… as if they were not from Penang, at least not from the island. They looked a little out of their familiar territory – just an observation.

———-

Well, thankfully everything ended peacefully. Indeed, the FRU should be commended for acting with restraint in sharp contrast to the way their counterparts in KL handled the Hindraf protests.

Earlier, theSun quoted Chief Minister Guan Eng as saying:

“We believe in the freedom of speech and assembly as long as it is peaceful. Anybody who wants to protest, we have no qualms about it but please do it based on facts and not based on certain interests or to try and test the state government,” he said.

Speaking in a press conference after a meeting with 21 Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in his office in Komtar, Lim said the state government is a united front that should not be tested on their commitment to represent all Penangites.

“Don’t test us on our commitment towards establishing integrity and accountability and don’t test us on our commitment to listen to all the voices of Penangites,” he said.

“If they want to come and give their views, we are willing to listen but if they want to demonstrate, that is their right. I hope they won’t provoke sentiments that are not true,” he added.

He was commenting on a plan by certain groups to stage a protest in Komtar against the state government’s stand in not using the New Economic Policy (NEP) but an open tender system instead.

“We will not back down on the open tender system because the NEP is associated with corruption, cronyism and inefficiency,” Lim reiterated.

“We want an open tender system but they raised so much hue and cry. If they want to test us, they can go ahead and test us. We have the full exco support on this and we won’t back down on that,” he said.

Earlier, on his meeting with the 21 Muslim organisations, Lim again reiterated that the state government has no intention of sidelining any group or races.

“We are a state government for all and we listen to the voices of the people and we want to represent everyone in Penang,” he said.

He reassured Muslims that the state government emphasised on integrity and the status of Islam in the state will never be disputed.

“Please do not listen to any rumours about the state government wanting to tone down Azan (the call for prayers) or anything like that. In fact, this is the first time I’ve heard about such things,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini quotes Zaid Ibrahim, the former Umno MP for Kota Bharu as saying that Guan Eng should not have been too hasty:

“I find it very shocking to see today that DAP is being very arrogant too. First day in office – Lim Guan Eng (Penang chief minister) made this statement about NEP,” he said.

“This is not the time to stir everyone’s feelings. Our race relations are still fragile and those elected should just stop talking and get on with the job.”…

“A good leader should be able to say the good part of NEP, which is to help the marginalised group, should be continued. The NEP which helps selected individuals to enrich themselves will be stopped. That’s all he should have said, not provocative statements,” said Zaid.

“This is something which Guan Eng should be mindful of. TV3, the newspapers and the radio stations must also stop pitting the Malays against the non-Malays. It is so dangerous.

Interestingly enough, Penang Umno leaders have proposed to the federal government to withdraw funding for all mega-projects in Penang. Guan Eng has described the call as akin to cutting their nose to spite their face – and an act of revenge.

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Actually, Umno’s call to end the Penang mega projects such as the Penang Outer Ring Road could be a blessing in disguise. Everyone knows that Penang is already terribly congested. A delay in the mega projects would give civil society groups and the new state government in Penang more time to look into more sustainable alternatives to improve public transport, preserve the environment, reduce traffic and create more green spaces and parks. Guan Eng should explore these alternatives rather than rely on mega projects that earn huge profits for a few privileged corporations.The state government must also implement development projects that truly empower and uplift the lives of marginalised communities – in other words, people-centred, holistic development – rather than put much hope on mega projects.

Here is an article I wrote for Aliran Monthly:

Is the BN’s economic model sustainable?

Is our current model of economic development sustainable in the long-run, wonders Anil Netto. What will happen when our oil wells dry up? What has been the environmental cost? These are issues that our political parties – both the BN and the Opposition – must address. Full article

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69 Comments on "1,000 join pro-NEP protest in Penang"

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bystander
bystander
When I read the news about Hindraf will go on march again against somebody wron doing I am happy to hear it. As I read along Hindraf using an 8 years girl to submit the pertition that really kills all my mood. Whoever wrong doing in the politics are all sellfish adults. PLEASE leave the young children out. They have no need for children to be there. I am sorry if I offen someone but I am more sorry that these people using children as a gimmick. Sincerly I don’t feel pity to whatever your are protesting when these people… Read more »
student
student

UMNO UMNO…
sudah ludah jilat balik..
demonstrasi plak tak kene tempat..
kalau bersih dulu yang ade tujuan yang jelas pon kene sapu..
ini takde ape2 polis2 sume buat relax je..
bias bias…

halim
halim

hai wakil umno,la ni menjerit 2x pasai melayu,bangsa n agama.masa ada kuasa dulu,semua kontrak gabui kat hampa.sampai bini org pun hampa pun gabui.nak tarik rapid penang,tarik lah.org melayu yg undi hampa jugak yg susah.bodoh punya cadangan.dok kat mana hampa pilih ketua mcm ni.

Ron
Ron

I have yet to see the common peoples protest to the abolishment of the NEP, not those UMNO cronies and their NGO allies.

kema
Hmm, sangat mengecewakan melihat sikap pemimpin UMNO P.Pinang meminta kerajaan pusat menarik balik semua projek.. Mereka hanya memalukan diri sendiri dan menunjukkan betapa bodohnya diri mereka.. Apa yang saya faham, mereka bertindak begitu disebabkan rasa kecewa yang amat sangat sebab mereka x dapat lagi segala projek di P.Pinang .. Golongan yang paling terasa kekalahan bn di penang ialah mereka yang mendapat projek2 selama ini .. Di tempat saya tinggal,saya kenal beberapa orang umno yang berjawatan arkitek selalu mendapat projek2.. mereka memang kaya .. tapi jiran2 termasuk saya hanya golongan pertengahan saja .. Mereka ingat melayu semua sokong UMNO.. Tapi saya… Read more »
ken Lee
ken Lee
HI, Malaysian We, voters in Penang are matured group. We know that we no longer need a government that only harps on issue and make communial preferences. We want a muhibah government that looks into the people of the land. Regardless the race and gender of the group. We know that Malays on the state of Penang is lagging behind the Chinese and Indians are marginalised to some extend. This was the result of our so Called NEP. NEP gives out “Tongkat” to the UMNOputras and expect them to run. The Chinese and Indians are given bicycles and of course,… Read more »
penang girl
penang girl

Few days ago I had read the local news paper and it was reported that they are not going to be like Singapore. The … UMNO people must overview that the developement of our neighbourhood country is much better that ours. Because they evenly distribute the wealth among all races. UMNO stop your dirty politics and if can, help our new CM to develope Penang. Congrates to Mr Lim Guan Eng and people of Penang.

Ram
Ram

Stop using racial issues to take over Malaysians. DEB is a thing for the past. you do not see some new contractor getting government contracts. Only the cronies of UMNOs get them. So what is the point of DEB?

awangkassim
awangkassim

BOTH OPPOSITION AND BN SHOULD BE AWARE EMOTIONS RUNS HIGH ON RACIAL ISSUES, ESPECIALLY IN MALAYSIA.
DON’T PUT THE RAKYAT ON YOUR POLITICAL AGENDA…CARE FOR THEM

awangkassim
awangkassim

LGE should be careful walking on thin line, THINK BEFORE YOU ACT. It was very noble to discard NEP straigth away but you must know Malaysia. LGE would have anticipate this protest and knew it was coming. He should have prepare with some Malay leaders (PKR or PAS) to support him. ACTUALLY WHERE ARE THEY WHEN LGE NEEDS THEM?
I BELEIVE NEP SHOULD BE PROGRESSIVELY HANDLED INTELLIGENTLY BY PHASES UNTIL IT DISAPPEARES.DO IT IN 2 YEARS.
GOOD LUCK BA…..THE RAKYAT IS LOOKING AT YOU

Sapp@Sabah

Is the NEP still exist? The NEP already lapsep upon expiry in the 1990s. The successor of NEP is National Development Policy (NDP). It is unhealty for political leaders of different of different races to be for or againts the NEP purely on racial prejudice.

France Resident
France Resident
I grew up calling myself Chinese. I know my nationality as Malaysian, and statehood as Penangite. But I could never bring myself to call myself a Malaysian when people ask me what my race was. The answer is still Chinese. But I sincerely hope one day, that I could answer differently. That I could proudly call myself of Malaysia Race. I love Malaysia. I love the people, the land, and oh yes, the food too. But today, I remain “Chinese”, as long as there are some race which are “more equal” than the other, as long as there are some… Read more »
sam
sam
Why the protester only from BN people only? if really not satisfy should have different people take part on the protest from every party. i think they lost the election so they hope can use protest to WIN back?if like this can then everywhere malaysia can happen any protest to WIN back so why need election?just gain people to protest to WIN la but say the true la since our PM Abdullah in position as PM all the things raise and said need keep raise again who will not affraid….i need a PM can help us not add more burden… Read more »
budak kl
budak kl

ive seen pas is so quiet on this peneng isues, pkr & dap ada berani,

…………………tak caya kat pas

sophocles
sophocles

anil,

if they are going to get upset about losing, might as well dun call for an election…

if everytime during the elections, these people want to pull threats another may 13…threatening this and that…then dun have elections…

the komtar demostrations is a clear cut example of umno’s behaviour.

no wonder racial divide in nthis country will never heal…..

yeap ee khoo
yeap ee khoo
Clearly the losers, UMNO(BN) are stiring up the feelings by bringing in indian muslims from the mainland. If they continue not to uphold democracy and making things so difficult for the barisan rakyat in the 5 states and continue their past to make the UMNO putra richer, at the expense of the common folks we must unite again to throw them out totally in the next elections. Bravo Guan Eng and team, I salute all of you, do a good job and be there for many years to come. Be fair to all and get rid of those bad hats… Read more »
chandra
chandra

Hope the best future begins for us and i believe one day MR.Anwar wil be our leading new PM then the bright future wil shine to of all ppl

chandra
chandra
umno ppl whom lost in polls no idea wat to do n trying plot like this to street demonstrate for making tings goin worst n try bringing up country down. the umno ppl way of thinking not matured still left behind as a primary school kids n worst part is they re ppl nvr use their own brain to think wat is rite n wrong as they could not judge by their ownself but listen to wat this umno idiot manipulate them.If once lost in seat jus get lost or learn up la wats ur own mistakes but stil wanna… Read more »
PenangRakyat
PenangRakyat
I hope the new selected Penang Government will not be as arrogant as BN. It’s truth that being a goverment will not be the same as being opposition.Changes need to be done but it need to be carried out wisely. If it is effective the people of Penang will see it. It would not be necessary for Penang”sCM to made publish annoucement on NEP.It only leading to more coax or giving opportunity for those who wish to create conflict.Peace is foundation for the new government to move on and prove their leadership in Penang.I truly hope the CM take this… Read more »
hamid
hamid

Someone should stop TV3 from airing slanted views and issues that only that potray the DAP-PKR-PAS as the enemy of the state.They show interviews of illegal demonstrators in Penang.Not one but three.They show the wrong side of the picture to create hatred among the people who have voted DAP-PKR-PAS.They are afraid and not willing to show the real story of Malaysians not voting for the Barisan National.There are Malays who do not want the NEP. They should interview these people and see the real picture.
Someone should stop TV3 and RTM.

sarawak kampong boy
sarawak kampong boy
It really sadden me to see such actions taken by the UMNO Looking at it it is the Leader of Penang UMNO who incite racial tension in this issue. No doubt the principle of NEP is good but the BN have used it to benefit themselves rather than the poor malay at the bottom. I pray that all parties concern will give the new state government a chance to prove themselves I believe if the new Barisan Rakyet of Penang prove themselves to be a model Government, it will create a domino effect and I believe this is what the… Read more »
frankie
frankie
The thing about this protest is I see there were lots of dark (complexioned) Malays. Most look like Indian Muslim anyway and they were shouting Hidup Melayu on top of their voices. These Indian Muslim will do anything to become a Malay. And I saw the ex deputy CM of Penang speaks, what a shocking display, can’t even talked properly, wonder how he became the deputy CM. The UMNO leaders were threatening openly about this is not the last demo and it is only the beginning of major big one and it is only going to be bigger. Talk bout… Read more »
Billy
Billy

I was there and I witnessed quite a number of them, especially the Malays, were at a loss as they trooped up Komtar to the 2nd floor. Looks like they are unfamiliar with the surroundings. Ppl from elsewhere – that’s my educated guess….Troublemakers imported by the sore losers, UMNOputras!

malayamuda
malayamuda
if Anwar Ibrahim is a traitor for telling the world that Malaysian leaders were corrupt and racist isnt UMNO Penang a traitor to the Penang people for asking the Federal Government to stop all Mega projects in Penang ? …UMNO Penang is behaving like a sore loser. Just because they cannot (allegedly) “membelot harta rakyat” in the name of Mega projects they want the projects to be cancelled all together. Just a few days ago Prime Minister said that DEB is for all Malaysians irrespective of race so no reason to dismantle the DEB. All the UMNO yes men also… Read more »
Benny
Benny

DEB hanya menguntung besar kepada elite-elite & coloni-coloni Umno saja. Itu sebab ramai kaum Melayu masih hidup sensara & miskin. MAS, Celcom, Maxis, Proton & Produa, Bank-bank, Lembaga-lembaga cukai, air, lektrik, perumahan, & jambatan-jambatan traffic, empangan, kejuruteraan, import-export, hasil-tanah dll…….. semua disebut tu dipegang oleh Melayu tu sendiri, “so” 50 tahun dah. kenapa Kaum Melayu masih miskin? “so where is the money gone???”

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