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Feb 5, 2008

Malaysiakini Election Debate

The Umno factor in Penang politics
Yeow Boon Kiat

Umno is to be blamed for the present downturn in economy in Penang, charged DAP’s national E-campaign director and popular blogger Jeff Ooi.He added that Umno’s hands were seen in many of the policy initiatives that have to come from the federal level to the state.

Ooi said that although the Penang state government led by Gerakan may have many economic plans to implement, but the foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing into the state was still being filtered by the powerful Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office."Umno has not been very supportive of the Gerakan in terms of allowing more value-added and state of the art companies to come to Penang," he charged during a roundtable discussion organised by Malaysiakini last week.

The discussion, first in a series called Agendakini to be broadcast by Malaysiakini.tv, saw the participation of Ooi, Gerakan’s member of Parliament for Jelutong Lee Kah Choon and independent political analyst Khoo Kay Peng to discuss on the general election.

The discussion was moderated by Malaysiakini’s CEO Premesh Chandran. Elaborating further, Ooi cited several warning signs to show that Penang was being sidelined.He added that the ongoing Visit Malaysia 2007 was not benefiting the state in terms of tourist arrival. He also said that Penang's industry export in 2007 were down by nine percent compared to 2006.

In his final analysis, Ooi, who is expected to contest in Penang’s Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat against Gerakan strongman Chia Kwang Chye, said that if the state wanted to maintain its status as the most progressive state in the country, it was imperative for Umno’s political dominance in the state to be reduced. more...


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