Tuesday 2 August 2011

Gerakan backs youths getting contracts 'on merit'

Penang Gerakan has expressed its support for youths to be given the opportunity to excel in their respective field based on merit, whether in business or professional positions.

State party youth leader Oh Tong Keong said encouraging and providing opportunities to youths based on merit is good for the development of the nation and the people.

NONEHowever, Oh (right) said the selection criteria in approving applicants for any youth development programmes or awarding of projects should be “transparent and accountable”, and should not be based on the individual's ethnicity.

“If a youngster is successful, let the public know about his success, tell the story so that others can emulate his example,” Oh added.

He was responding to the alleged RM1 million project awarded to a 19-year-old Malay part-time college student by the Penang government reported in the The Star today.

In the report, MCA Wanita deputy secretary-general Tan Cheng Liang claimed that the student was awarded the project to construct a double-storey religious school in Batu Maung, which has since been completed.

She added that the student was also awarded a cleaning contract by the Seberang Prai Municipal Council.

Tan claimed that the project was among 968 worth RM125 million awarded by the state government since 2008 under the open tender system.

She questioned the state government's transparency in awarding the contracts.

When contacted, Penang exco member and Batu Maung assemblyperson Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said he would provide more details of the matter soon.

“We are looking into the details and will provide more information soon,” he told Malaysiakini.

'Penang not ignoring any community's needs'

Meanwhile, Penang exco member Chow Kon Yeow expressed concern that there appears to be a concerted effort to paint the state as “unfair, uncaring, and insensitive to the needs of the Malay community”.

NONEContrary to reports in the mainstream media, Chow (left) stressed that the Penang government is not ignoring the needs of any specific ethnic community.

“Indeed, if one were to give media reports the context they lack, it would be easy to point out inconsistencies in the criticisms made by Barisan Nasional component parties,” said the DAP state chairperson.

“One day, we would be accused of marginalising Malays but on the very next day MCA will say we are sidelining Chinese interests,” added the Padang Kota assemblyperson.

“It is regrettable media reports have often produced such comments isolated of one another, seldom providing background or basis to these reckless and comments,” he stressed.

Chow said as far as the mainstream media was concerned, it seems easier to attack the local administration than to investigate more serious forms of abuse of power and corruption in BN-led states.

Regarding awarding contracts to a particular ethnic group, Chow said the state had responded to such allegations in the past.

He added that the state had provided statistics with ethnic breakdown to disprove claims of favouritism over any community.

The Tanjong MP reiterated the call for all parties, including Barisan Nasional and its media allies, to stop fuelling racial discontent.

“I do not want to play the blame game we've been accused of doing, but instead I would like to urge those of the view that Penang's supposed problems began with Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 to be fairer in their comments,” he said.

“Provoking racial sentiments for the sake of political expedience comes at the expense of genuine problem solving,” he added.

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