GEORGE TOWN, Oct 18 — Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said civil society groups or individuals may hand over memorandums to state government leaders regardless of venue as the administration has a policy of competency, accountability and transparency (CAT).
He said this has been the case for 11 years, which he held to mean that the Penang government was open and transparent.
“They can submit the memorandum to anyone; in the past, every Friday has been a memorandum day when groups would submit memorandums to the state government,” he said in a press conference at his office today.
He dismissed former councillor Joshua Woo’s claim that a non-governmental group’s actions in handing a protest memorandum to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin during the Asia Pacific Urban Forum (APUF7) had “embarrassed Penang.”
“It is not an embarrassment for us. The forum is for people to articulate issues; there is nothing to be embarrassed about,” he said.
He said there was no problem as long as those involved behaved civilly.
Woo condemned the Penang Forum group for protesting the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project at APUF7.
The group also delivered a memorandum to Zuraida during one of the discussions at the forum yesterday.
The APUF7 was hosted by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and co-organised by UN Habitat, UN ESCAP and Urbanice Malaysia.
MBPP Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said there were over 100 forum discussions with 600 international speakers and almost 10,000 delegates during the three-day event.
“We practise an open concept to allow grassroots communities to have their say,” he said.
“We respect their right to voice their concerns as long as they don’t cause any disruptions,” he added.