Guan Eng - Said to have made disparaging remarks about Johor which he denied.
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Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has apologised to the Sultan of Johor for his alleged remarks on Johor's deteriorating crime rate. He made the apology at a press conference in Komtar about an hour ago.
From our Mole in Penang: "At the end of his (Lim Guan Eng) press conference reporters asked him to comment on the Johor remarks. He then said he would not answer as TV3 was present. He said the issue could be a legal matter. He then asked TV3 to leave. At the end of the press conference all the reporters present were asked to promise they would not share what was said with TV3."
According to Malaysiakini Lim neither admit nor deny his statement regarding Johor and told the press that the particular remarks about Johor was not made on his prepared speech, but it was only spoken of during a private conversation.
The news portal also reported Lim saying, "If I had made the statement, let's look at the context in which it was made... it was a private conversation."
UPDATE 3 :
The New Straits Times today reported that the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar was offended by the disparaging remarks about the state allegedly made by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng recently but added that as a ruler, he would stay above politics. Read here for full report.
UPDATE ON Sept 26: TV3 during its prime time news Buletin Utama today played an audio recording of the voice purportedly to be of Lim when addressing a luncheon talk with the Foreign Correspondents Association of Singapore. The audio had the speaker who sounded like Lim saying "so you don't have to worry about your safety when you come to Penang. In Johor, if you are a Singaporean, you are likely to get kidnapped"
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has denied disparaging Johor when he was in Australia but he is now alleged to have made those remarks when he was in Singapore.
According to a post by a new blogger, BigCat last Friday, Lim had made a disparaging statement on the public safety situation in Johor while speaking during a luncheon with the Foreign Correspondents Association of Singapore.
BigCat said Lim basically remarked that if you were a Singaporean you were likely to get kidnapped in Johor but not in Penang.
An excerpt from Lim’s speech:
"Iskandar is seen as a very strong competitor ... but if you look in terms of safety and using the crime index, Penang was Number 1 in terms of cutting crimes, so you don't have to worry about your safety when you come to Penang. In Johor, if you are a Singaporean, you are likely to get kidnapped ... you ask any Singaporean they would know but you don't have that problem when you come to Penang. I am sure investors want to deal with an honest government and not to deal with crooks. Lynas the rare earth factory in Pahang ... they don't see this huge premium facility benefitting the people as they pose a serious threat to their health and of course, safety."
When contacted by The Mole, Lim who was in Surabaya declined comment.
Also last Friday International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed wrote in the Business Times that he had been made to understand Lim had criticised Johor while speaking at an event overseas.
Wrote Mustapa: “He claimed that people going to Johor were likely to be kidnapped but not in Penang, which he declared to be the safest state in Malaysia.
“This is rather inaccurate as it doesn't rightly reflect the realities on the ground. The truth is that both states have recorded declining crime trends over the past year, as borne out by the police's latest crime index. Lim's criticisms of Johor are hence harsh and unwarranted.”
A news portal had carried a story about Lim denying smearing Johor during an interview with an Australian radio station, in reaction to a Bernama report which said to the contrary.
He furnished a transcript of the interview to show that it did not contain any discussion or reference to Johor. Lim thus demanded a retraction of the report from Bernama, in addition to an unconditional public apology, failing which he will pursue legal action.