Yesterday, I wrote “Penang boleh!”
I spoke too soon. It should be “Penang” tak boleh! Apparently, any group, publication or event that wants to use “Penang” in its name must now get approval from the state government?
“People should know that ‘Penang’ is not a name that they can simply use,” the Chief Minister is reported as saying in theSun. “The Penang government is the sole authority to decide whether anyone can use the state brand.”
What nonsense is this? Who appointed it the sole authority? The name of a place belongs to its people, not to the state government. Just because of a few abuses, it wants to control the usage of the place-name and claim ownership over it.
And since when has Penang become a “brand”? (Want to copyright and patent it?) Such giveaway words reflect a corporate-business mentality, not a people-centred mind-set.
This is the same kind of corporate developer-friendly mentality that allows a private company to block and close a public road – Jalan Kaki Bukit – just because the firm is carrying out a construction project. (Is this a permanent or temporary closure? Don’t tell me the road has been sold as well – the local government must clarify. If it has been sold, use the Land Acquisition Act to reacquire the road as it is for a public purpose. Where is CAT? It looks as if Penang tak boleh stop a developer from breaking up and blocking a public road.)
The Companies Commission and the Registrar of Societies already have their own requirements on the usage of place names. Is there a need for other “approvals” now? What is the criteria for such “approvals”?
What is the state government’s position on websites such as Penang Story, Penang Media and Penang Watch?
What about the civil society event called Penang Forum, organised by Penang-based NGOs after the general election last year?
What if someone opens a blog or magazine called Penang Char Koay Teow or Kuih-muih Pulau Pinang? Is the state government now saying that such names now require “approval” – because it supposedly owns the Penang “brand”?
Give me a break.