On the l-word (loyalty)


This is an excerpt from Guan Eng’s clarification on 8 July 2016 regarding his remarks to Penang Institute, which stirred a controversy:

The gist of the text of my speech stresses on the practice of freedom in Penang, the only place where there is freedom before speech and freedom after speech in Malaysia.

I had reminded Penang Institute that whilst such freedom gives them the right to dissent and have opposing views with the state government even publicly, as the principal funders of Penang Institute the state government expects loyalty. In other words, they can not work secretively and surreptitiously with those who openly oppose and wants to bring down the state government.

I had contrasted the Penang state government’s liberal position with the Federal government which would act against and punish those who dare to dissent publicly.

And this is what Najib said about loyalty:

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said today (1 August 2015) that loyalty was a trait harder to find in any individual than intelligence, adding that he values the former more than the latter.

Speaking just days after his shock removal of Mr Muhyiddin Yassin from the federal Cabinet, Mr Najib said that loyalty was more important than “smart people” in order to keep the party and his leadership united.

“I will evaluate people based on their loyalty. There are a lot of smart people around but to find those who are loyal is rare,” the leader said in his speech at the Seremban UMNO division meeting here.

“But by loyalty, I don’t mean blind loyalty. We have to work together in order to make our party strong,” he added.

My own remarks:

Loyalty to what or to whom?

I believe it is more important to be loyal to the truth than to any one individual or group or party – especially if the truth is different from what the group or individual responsible would have us believe. This is especially important for a research institute or university that encourages critical thinking and analyses – which are among the building blocks of research.

The truth or critical views may at times be painful to hear but it is the only thing that will help in the formulation of policies that will help the people and society. The goal is not whether the work will tarnish or burnish the image of the university or funders or party but whether it furthers the cause of genuine research in the pursuit of truth or is in the public interest. This is especially true if the outfit is funded by federal or state funds (our money) – which means those involved have an even greater responsibility to serve the public interest.

What do you think?

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David Loman

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has sent English daily The Star a demand letter over a column today said to be defamatory towards him. “I have instructed my lawyers to send a legal notice of demand for defamation against The Star and its columnist Joceline Tan for its false and misleading report today, ‘Snap election for Penang?’.” Lim said the article said “nothing new” but Tan “clearly crossed the line, and was made in bad faith to smear my reputation and image with fresh and baseless allegations of impropriety”. He said this was not the first time Tan and… Read more »


Loyalty to Umno is the key point in BTN.


Be warned. Ali Tinju’s Red shirt contingent represents UMNO’s provoking agent to cause trouble. (Some suspect they are out) to create chaos in the country …

gk ong

Many are loyal to Agung, another reference to the Ringgit banknotes.


ABC of Australia employs many leftists and in their programs always critise the liberal party Gomen even they are 100% funded by tax payers via the Commonwealth Gomen. They show their true colours they resign and join the aust labour Gomen just before the election and stand as Labour party candidates. to level the playing field, the Gomen cuts funding to be in level with ABC which has to resort to commercial advertisement for funding


Some time ago, a certain leader came up with the “Setia” slogan. He defined it as loyalty “with the people” – whatever that means. Public wealth was spent on millions of badges for this. He went around the country organising vast rallys against unspecified enemies – again at public expense.

David Loman

Lagu patriotik (Patriotic song) – Setia (Loyal)

Salute Malaysia


Penang state election may be called soon. Those who want Gelakan MCA to take over are looking for big feast of buffet with free flow if kopi o not considered arrogance or extravaganza out of rakyat own pockets?


Its over-entitlement of simplicity to say one should only be loyal to the truth.. LKY used to say that he believed in the truth but the problem is what is the truth? There are too many subjective in the “truth”.. Truth is not fact, many people do not even care for the truth, they believe in just their material well being as the only truth that matters. If you are fighting a war, its impossible to be too liberal in principle, you need to focus on core liberal principles that works and not get carried away with upholding every liberalism… Read more »

Johan Khun Pana

Loyalty also means turning a blind eye.
Discourage and discard such master & slave mentality.


I have grown very, very cheesed-off with Guan Eng and his increasingly arrogant and snobbish ways. Being Penang CM since 2008 has made his head far too big for anyone’s good. His “cannot bite the hand that feeds you” put-down of the Penang Institute just raised my disgust to an even higher level – he has spoken jusk like how one of the UMNO mouthpieces Opposition supporters so often get angry at would speak. Worse, when he retracted his statement the next day, he only made matters worse by claiming that those “with limited understanding of the English language” might… Read more »

Keith J Rotation

Fully agree. Just because you fund something or somebody does not make them subservient to you, especially when those funds are public funds.

Guan Eng is getting more and more like UMNO each day.


If your major fund contributor refrain you from publishing something, would it seem betrayal if you insist of reporting as you believe the details must be made known to public?
Conscience vs survival question sometimes can blur the action?