End  Barisan Nasional’s "Gostan" policies: first decisions of  new Federal Cabinet after the election to formally restore and recognise  Georgetown as  the first city in Malaysia since January 1, 1957

Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang,  Sunday): I said yesterday that the RM8 million monstrosity of the Autopont flyover at  Jalan Masjid Negara is a monstrosity of an idea and structure, a symbol that the MPPP under Dr. Teng Hock Nan has become a monstrosity of a municipal government.

When asked what would happen in the event of an accident on the one-lane Autopont flyover, Dr. Teng said: "The flyover is not too long, the motorist can just reverse his car down the flyover".

I am sure Penangites shudder at the thought of  a bumper-to-bumper jam on the one-lane Autopont flyover grinding to a halt because of an accident at  its centre, and everyone having to "gostan" down the Autopont!

I want today to repeat the challenge I made at the kick-off the DAP Bukit Bendera/Kebun Bunga election ceramah at Bangkok Lane last night ,to Dr. Teng Hock Nan, the Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the other 13 Barisan Nasional state assembly candidates and five Barisan Nasional Parliamentary candidates on the island to drive  20 cars up to Autopont, reach the centre, and to all "gostan" - and let the people of Penang see whether this is a practical proposition!

I do not believe that the 20 Barisan Nasional parliamentary and state assembly candidates on the Penang island are such good "gostan" drivers that they would not be causing multiple accidents among themselves, knocking each other while "gostanning" down the short Autopont.

Or is the MPPP going to conduct special courses for Penang motorists  to transform them into the best "gostan" drivers in the world so that the Autopont  would not ending up strangling and suffocating the Greenlane and Jelutong traffic?

The Autopont  is  indeed the best  symbol of the   Barisan Nasional state and municipal governments’ "gostan" policies  which are taking the people of Penang backwards towards a lower quality of life than five years ago, and the Penang voters should make clear their rejection of such Autopont "gostan" governance.

One such Barisan "gostan" policy is the 1997 decision to by-pass Penang and build the Northern Region International Airport on a reclaimed island on Kedah - and at that time, the Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon did not dare to object - arguing that the new Northern Region International Airport in Kedah could be joined to Penang by water-taxis!

Penang was saved from the implementation of this "gostan" policy by the Asian economic crisis which started in July 1997 and the Northern Region International Airport was shelved. The question is whether this is another mega-project which would be revived after another Barisan Nasional landslide victory on November 29!

Another Barisan Nasional "gostan" policy is the loss of the city status of  Georgetown although it was the first city in Malaysia, being officially accorded city status by Queen Elizabeth II on January 1, 1957 by way of a Royal Charter.

However, the Barisan Nasional Housing and Local Government Ministry has refused to recognise Georgetown as a city.  As far as the Barisan Nasional is concerned, there are only six  cities in the country, and Georgetown is not one of them.  The six  cities recognised by the Federal Government are Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Johore Bahru, Kuching Utara, Kuching Selatan and Kota Kinabalu.

It is most ridiculous that Kuching could be recognised as two cities while Georgetown in Penang is not recognised as a city, completely ignoring the Royal Charter conferring city status on Georgetown more than 42 years ago.

The Penang State Government had been boasting that Penang had been honoured by the United Nations as "Lead City" under the new United Nations project called Urban Governance Initiative, that it is  seeking the United Nations recognition  as a World Heritage City, and its selection by Asiaweek last year as the sixth most livable city in Asia.

But all this while, Georgetown had been de-recognised by the Barisan Nasional government as a city, making the Penang Barisan Nasional government party to a grand international deception when claiming that Georgetown is a city.

Let the voters send a clear and loud message to the Barisan Nasional on Nov. 29, 1999 to end such "gostan" policies, and demand that one of the first decisions of the new Federal Cabinet should be to formally restore and recognise Georgetown as a first Malaysian city since January 1, 1957.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP Secretary-General, Parliamentary Candidate for Bukit Bendera and State Assembly candidate for Kebun Bunga