BN’s Gerakan seems to be confused

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Press Statement by Chris Lee Chun Kit (MBPP Councillor / DAP) on the Gerakan’s so-called “revelations” on the Penang Undersea Tunnel – 5/2/18 in George Town, Penang
 
 
Gerakan is trying to score political points with the election coming by creating an issue which has nothing to do with the Penang State Government. Instead of going for facts, Gerakan is now twisting facts and presenting doubts in an attempt to spread gossip and hopefully change the negative perception that surrounds them.
 
If Gerakan thinks that a company had promoted condominiums before the proper approvals were given, then they should bring the issue up with the company that is doing the promotion or even the consumers’ association for their disagreements with their business ethics. Even the article states that:
 
In response, an official of the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association said developers were allowed to create an early market awareness of their projects.

“But they must first obtain an advertising permit and developer’s licence (APDL) for each specific resi­dential project from the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry before selling properties under construction,” he said.

The official, who declined to be named, said agents could collect expressions of interests from prospects and inform the public about their property plans.

“Until the project has obtained an APDL, they cannot advertise or sell the units,” he said”

– https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/02/04/gerakan-questions-early-promotion-of-property/

 
Therefore, perhaps Gerakan should first check with the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry for further clarifications on what is and what is not allowed. It seems that Gerakan has once again contradicted with the BN federal government which they are a part of. I am beginning to wonder if they actually remember that they are a part of the BN which is currently still the ruling coalition on the federal level.
 
The Penang State Government will just follow the proper procedures on approval and will not give approvals until their requirements are fulfilled. If Gerakan thinks the company jumped the gun and started to promote before the governmental approvals are given, then it is between Gerakan and the company, the government has nothing to do with it so stop wasting time trying to turn this into a political issue.
 
However, Gerakan is desperate for issues and almost anything seems to be an issue now. Maybe next time they will blame the 1MDB scandal on the Penang State Government also.
 
Gerakan should instead be pressuring the BN federal government to fulfill their responsibilities in infrastructure and other facilities. Penangites are one of the highest payers of income tax in the country but is allocated less than 1% of the federal budget. Gerakan could not even demand more for Penang when they were in government in Penang.

 

Chris Lee Chun Kit
MBPP Councillor (DAP)

Gerakan should just stop wasting everyone’s time!

This is a response to the press conference held by Parti Gerakan Rakyat led by their Acting State Youth Chief Jason Loo published by NST on 1/2/18 : https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/02/330989/gerakan-demands-penang-government-makes-public-feasibility-eia-reports

I read with amusement and bewilderment on Gerakan’s Jason Loo’s demands towards the Penang State Government published in the New Straits Times entitled “Gerakan demands Penang government makes public feasibility, EIA report for paired roads project”. It is clear Gerakan as whole is confused about what they are attacking and is now clearly attacking for the sake of scoring political brownie points. Gerakan is all out trying to confuse the public on whether the project will affect forest reserves.

First of all, our environmental record speaks for itself. Penang is the only state in Malaysia that has not lost a single square inch of forest reserve. If Gerakan is interested so much in forest reserves, he should attack Barisan Nasional states where the plundering of forest reserves for personal gain of BN leaders have been ongoing yet mysteriously absent from many of the BN controlled media’s coverage.

Also if any of part of our forest reserve is illegally or accidentally affected by any project for any reason, as a responsible government, we are prepared to quickly mitigate and return the affected area to normal. We are prepared to defend our forest reserve all the way but the same cannot be said for Gerakan as they are part of the BN coalition that has allowed the destruction of forest reserves in many states which they are in power. Gerakan is clearly being hypocritical in their attacks.

Gerakan is also making demands on the EIA which in the same article published by NST themselves (https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/02/330989/gerakan-demands-penang-government-makes-public-feasibility-eia-reports) mentions that it has been approved by the Department of Environment on November 7th last year (2017). Last I checked, the DOE was a federal department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment which the Penang State Government has no control of. If the DOE has approved and Gerakan is questioning the approval process, then Gerakan should do a press conference and call out the DOE, I am sure they can get the answers they want since they are part of the federal government as well.

So to Gerakan, please check your facts before going public about something. Even as an opposition party in Penang, Gerakan is still part of the coalition that forms the federal government and should have access to the DOE if they want. Unless, they are confirming the suspicions of most Malaysians that Gerakan has no say nor access in the UMNO dominated Barisan Nasional government. Gerakan had once provided Penang a Chief Minister for 39 years and is now reduced to nitpicking non-existent issues, pushing fake news and creating boogeymen of pure fantasies. What a shameful evolution Gerakan has been through.

Chris Lee Chun Kit

MBPP Councillor (DAP)

The Fake Third Force

 

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Recently in the last 10 years, Penang has seen an influx of new political parties filled with interesting personalities flooding the political landscape. All of them seem to claim that they are there to “strengthen democracy” but they all seem to be united in one cause, to criticise the Pakatan Harapan Penang State Government while completely ignoring the seemingly “immaculate” Barisan Nasional who last I checked, are still in power on the federal level.

These seemingly “independent” political parties along with some disgruntled former members of PH parties claim that they do not represent nor side with either BN or PH and want to be the “third force” in the Malaysian political arena. They claim to be the true voices of the Penang people and will give Penangites an additional option in the coming elections. Strange as prior to 2008, there seemed to be no interest in these groups to form their so called “third force” and only seem to pop out only within the last five years.

Many of them are now proceeding to go all out to either promote a vote for the “third force” or a “spoiled vote”. What many do not actually know, is that they are merely promoting the chances for the BN to recapture Penang in the coming elections. Now I know, many of you reading this would probably think that I am writing this as a DAP member but let us explore this concept of the “third force” first in the Malaysian context.

I am first and foremost, a believer in democracy. It was because of my faith in democracy that I chose to become politically active. Many countries around the world have vibrant democracies with multiple parties contesting for power and the direction of the country. Some like the United States of America have a strong two party system which presents two candidates that have almost equal chances of being elected President. Some like the United Kingdom have moved on beyond the two party system with multiple new parties gaining ground and forcing established parties like the Conservative Party and the Labour Party to often have to form coalition governments with smaller parties in order to have a majority in Parliament.

Malaysia on the other hand, has seen the complete domination of one party in the last 61 years. Some argue that the BN is not one party but a coalition of multiple parties each representing their own interests for a balanced system. This is however inaccurate as each BN party does not have an equal say as the other. It can be argued that in the BN, while their “dacing” symbol claims that their parties are equal, after 61 years, it can be seen that one party is “more equal than others”. Yup, 73 years after it was first published, George Orwell’s Animal Farm book’s political allegories are still very much relevant today especially in Malaysia.

Anyway, back to my point. The ruling BN has been in federal power for so long that they have comfortably entrenched themselves in every vein and artery of government body giving them absolute unchecked power. This has also led to the BN being able to completely centralise power into the federal government by slowly stripping away power from state governments that were ruled by their own members. This has effectively made Malaysia a unitary state while maintaining the facade of a federation in name only. Real federations are countries that usually strong elected State Governments that control most of the administration and law makings of those individual states while having a weaker federal governments to control matters like joint security, foreign relations and defence.

Unitary States are countries that have strong central governments while having weak to almost non-existent state or provincial governments. Last I checked, Malaysia was a federation as we are officially known as the Federation of Malaysia but in practice, unchecked 61 years of one party rule has led to the complete amalgamation of party and government.

Malaysia is still a federally dominated country and has not achieved the two party system that we all want. Yet, these so called independent groups are calling for a “third force” already. With the “first past the post system” election system based on party symbols that the country has practiced since independence, voting this so called “third force” can only achieve one thing, the complete electoral victory of the BN in the coming elections. The reason is rather simple; Malaysia is too used to voting either for or against the BN. Hence the votes are either for or against establishment without regards to the different political parties out there. Add that to the earlier fact that the BN is in complete control of the government’s machinery and use it to their full advantage, it is easy to say that the path to victory for the PH is indeed an uphill battle.

So when the votes that are against the establishment are split between different rival political parties, the victory will be handed to the BN automatically as their establishment votes will be able to have a majority over the split anti-establishment votes. The BN knows this and hence encourages financially, the establishment of as many political parties and individual personalities to contest to coming elections in an attempt to confuse and split the voters. The BN does not care if they truly have the mandate of the people to govern, it is a “win at all cost” to recapture Penang. BN and in particular Gerakan and MCA knows that they have to impress their UMNO bosses as much as possible or they will lose all their privileged perks. UMNO themselves want to destroy any possible formation of a two party system or their entire gravy train will be permanently derailed.

So let us really ponder upon the realities. A vote for the so called “third force”, abstaining from voting or spoiling your vote will only achieve one thing, the return of the BN with a supermajority and the permanent elimination of a possible two party system. We have to stay the course and establish that two party system first before talking about a possible multiparty system. The so-called third, fourth, fifth, sixth or whatever forces that are present today are just BN supported parties and individuals that the BN is using to ensure their continuous rule and the end to all possible future threats to them.

Chris Lee Chun Kit is a City Councillor at the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) representing the DAP

Finishing off the BN system

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As witnessed at the recently concluded Pakatan Harapan Convention, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has been unanimously agreed upon among all the PH parties to be our Prime Minister designate to take on the current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Barisan Nasional in the fast approaching 14th Malaysian General Elections which is expected to be held in the coming months. Intense debate has followed among Malaysians who are all forming different opinions of the announcement. One thing is certain though, the candidacy of Dr. Mahathir has struck fear into the hearts of the BN leaders who are extremely worried about losing their positions of power that they have invested so much financially to obtain,
 

Let us look at the bigger picture and explore what is at stake in this coming GE. On one hand we have the BN that has been in power uninterruptedly for the past 61 years. This means the ruling coalition has never tasted defeat in a GE and has never had to be in the opposition. Those many years of uninterrupted rule has made the BN very established in the government and most Malaysians today have never seen neither have they experienced a Malaysia without the BN in power. This has made BN so comfortable in power that every single level of the individual parties of the BN are now only functioning because the BN is in power. BN leaders who seek higher positions or office now have to climb the ladder in the only established way: money!

One way of determining how endemic the money culture is within the BN is to simply talk to your friends. If you tell them that you are volunteering in the coming elections for any opposition party, they will probably be fine with it. Tell them that you are volunteering for the BN and they will probably laugh at your face and ask you why aren’t you getting paid for your time? You see, in other countries, any political party that is seeking a mandate from their electorate would have to raise money for their individual campaigns but here, the BN never seem to have to raise any money at all. They have never held a fundraiser neither have they ever set up a websites asking for donations for any of their election campaign. Instead, they offer free food and money to their election workers every time they go into an election. If they never have to raise funds for their campaigns then where are they getting their money from?

The money culture has infected the BN from the very top to the very bottom. Their non-stop reign as the rulers of Malaysia has made them unable to shake money politics out of their system as divisions and branches insist on getting paid for support of any leaders to climb the ladder or for them to remain as party leaders. Any BN leader who seek to reform the BN will be forced to make a choice between reform or losing power. Divisional leaders hold their top leaders ransom in exchange for financial rewards. A BN leader who is in power at the governmental level will then have to find the funds from within the government in order to pay their “downlines” in twisted form of multi-level marketing. Unfair monopolies and super ridiculously priced contracts will then have to be created for money to be channeled out of the government and into the party’s “downlines”.

As BN leaders and grassroot members make themselves rich over their milking of the country’s resources, the country suffers on the overall as the culture has become unbreakable for as long as the BN remains in power. No BN leader today is willing to risk his or her political careers in order to try to break the culture and reform their parties. As far as their wealth is concerned, its “better me rich than jobless”. Thus the BN is unable to reform itself and is now suffering from an internal disease that is eating them from the inside but with their grip on power acting as a steel armour, no one has been able to even put them out of their miseries.

This is why we now have to stay focused and once and for all put the BN out of their misery by breaking their armour of power. Only then will their disease be removed from the government and the country can once again heal. The talk of reform within the BN is over. The BN is beyond saving for as long as they are in power. The system within the BN is too well established after 61 years of uninterrupted power. Their armour of power is stuck with the BN that it has come to a point that BN and power are one and the same.

This elections is no longer about personalities or politicians, it is about destroying the system that is destroying Malaysia. It is about destroying a BN system that will be fighting tooth and nail with every ounce of their governmental powers to stop us from saving the country. Every single party of the BN is suffering from the money plague and as long as they stay in power, it is a matter of time before every single Malaysian gets infected with poverty plague that follows it.

 
The PM has no intentions of reform, rather the comforts of power will make him use any means necessary to win the next elections. We the rakyat, will have to pay his bills as well as the bills of every BN leader as a result.
 

Let us put our differences of opinions aside and stay focused! Bring down the BN system and put them all out of their misery!

Chris Lee Chun Kit is a City Councillor at the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) representing the DAP

Union of Subservience

I read with great interest yesterday on the so called “unity” of MCA and Gerakan in facing the coming General Elections. Although their talk of unity is a national one, their main focus has got to be Penang where the two parties each had had a Chief Minister before in the past . After failing to win a single seat in the 12th and 13th General Elections in Penang, it seems they are now putting their hostility and hatred of one another aside and is vowing to work as a team.

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One may ask about that so-called hostility between them and how did it start in the first place? To understand that, let us go back to history. MCA from the time when it was part of the then three party political coalition known as the Alliance Party together with UMNO and MIC, had always claimed to be the sole voice of the Malaysian Chinese citizens in the government. Due to a falling out between the then MCA President Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu and the Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Dr. Lim left to be part of as well as lead a “non-sectarian” opposition political party known as Gerakan. After Gerakan managed to win the Penang State Government in the 1969 Malaysian General Elections, Tun Dr. Lim ousted Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee and became new Chief Minister of Penang.

All that would have been fine if that had been the permanent political arrangement between those parties especially if Gerakan had remained in the opposition.  If Gerakan had remained in the opposition, then MCA would have had the chance to reclaim the Penang Chief Minister’s post in the following General Elections. However, as we all know by now, Gerakan ended up forming and joining an enlarged Alliance coalition which came to be known as Barisan Nasional. With the presence of Gerakan now holding on the CM position and now being on the same team with MCA, Gerakan was able to negotiate with UMNO that the CM’s post would remain permanently with Gerakan in the event of a BN victory in every subsequent election.

UMNO knew that the presence of Gerakan within the BN would be to its advantage. Gerakan was encouraged to solely concentrate their efforts on only the Chinese community and the Penang CM’s position was kept permanently with Gerakan in subsequent elections. This move effectively took away MCA’s sole chief executive position within Malaysia, which severely weakened the MCA. UMNO also took away the Finance Ministry from the MCA and until today, the highest ministry an MCA President could claim would be the Transport Ministry, which UMNO then also started to weaken by consolidating many functions of public transport from the Transport Ministry and placing them under the Prime Minister’s Department.

With the presence of Gerakan, MCA could no longer claim to be sole voice of the Malaysian Chinese community hence, UMNO took full advantage of the situation to further weaken the MCA from making demands towards them. Any subsequent MCA leader who dared stand up against UMNO was purged through UMNO supported replacements within the party. These UMNO replaced new MCA leaders would ensure that MCA would make no demands and will only deliver the Malaysian Chinese votes and never question UMNO’s directions. Former strong Gerakan leaders were also slowly replaced by new UMNO supported “yes men” which would ensure that while the Penang CM’s post was held by Gerakan, real power would be wielded by UMNO like a puppeteer behind a puppet.

Since 2008, while both parties now no longer hold the Penang CM’s position and are led by UMNO “yes men”, they still harbour that hostility and hatred towards each other. What is the basis of that hatred, one might ask? The answer is their mutual greed for power and dominance over the Malaysian Chinese community’s support. Both will want to impress UMNO in the coming elections by delivering Malaysian Chinese votes to prolong UMNO’s ‘divide and rule’ policy just so that they would be subsequently rewarded. It has now become like two servants trying to outdo one another to impress their mutual master.

So why are they now talking about working together? Because both are now out of power and have nothing to lose in their quest to regain the Penang State Government. Should their propaganda and politics manage to win them the government, no doubt a power struggle between them will once again start in order to secure the Penang CM’s post. However, if one wants to really look into any possible similarities between MCA and Gerakan in this new alliance, one can find that they are mutually similar in their subservience to UMNO no matter who wins their power struggle and would never deny UMNO anything in fear of losing their positions. Even if it means bartering the entire state of Penang to UMNO as a Federal Territory in return for more rewards. Therefore if there would be a name for this new union, one can only call it the Union of Subservience.

 

Chris Lee Chun Kit is a City Councillor at the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) representing the DAP

Stop Politicising a Natural Disaster!

More than 10 days has passed since that fateful night in which a tropical cyclone named “Invest 95W” wreaked havoc on the State of Penang in Malaysia. Yet it seems the rumours about the return of the storm and the political accusations have not stopped. Many are still continuously blaming the state authorities for the floods despite the record rainfall that fell on Penang (315mm) which was the highest ever in Penang’s history. Worse, many politicians on the other side of the political divide as well as their friendly partners are taking advantage of the disaster to score political points, hoping to bluff their ways into Penangites putting all their blame on the state government.

It is fine to criticise any democratically elected government, after all if we all strive to make Malaysia a healthy democracy, we must always ensure that elected governments are not above criticisms. Criticisms must always be present in order to ensure our governments are accountable to their electorate but one thing I do try to emphasise is that criticisms must be based on scientific fact and not merely on emotional perceptions. Using emotional perceptions to criticise is no longer healthy in a democracy but borders on Trump-like political maneuvering. Some criticisms attempt to shift the attention of the tragedy away from the natural disaster and claim that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is merely saying it without any substantial evidence (https://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/402073) even going as far as saying the CM’s claims were ludicrous and deeply asinine.

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If indeed what the Chief Minister had said was ludicrous and deeply asinine, then I guess the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was lying as the scientific data and even the graphic of the storm’s path was taken from them. Do not ask me why the Americans seem to understand our own local storms better than our own Malaysian Meteorological Department that completely failed to warn us that a full blown tropical cyclone was on its way to Penang. The fact that the storm did a “U-turn” over Penang as seen in the graphic by the JTWC and got more powerful as tropical cyclones are fueled by warm seas should be enough to convince a person that this was no ordinary storm.

Do the BN politicians and like-minded commentators who are so quick to blame the state government through emotional perceptions even know what a tropical cyclone is? Tropical cyclones are storms that are formed in the warm seas in the tropical parts of the world. Water vapour is their fuel and they begin their destructive lives as a tropical disturbance, as their winds get stronger while being fueled by the warm seas, they strengthen into a tropical depression before strengthening further into a tropical storm. Once they become a tropical storm, they are given a human name and are extremely destructive and deadly. The final form of a tropical cyclone are called typhoons or hurricanes depending on which part of the world they occur. They are called typhoons or hurricanes when they reach the wind speeds of 118 KM/h and an “eye” forms in the centre of the storm. Whatever I have just mentioned is not emotional perception but scientific fact.

The storm that hit Penang was a tropical disturbance which is the first stage of tropical cyclones but a tropical cyclone nonetheless. Some may claim that typhoons do not occur in Malaysia but in 2001, Typhoon Vamei rampaged across the State of Johor resulting in floodings and landslides that killed 5 Malaysians. Even though Typhoon Vamei was an even more powerful storm, the system moved across Johor and Sumatra quickly and dissipated in the Indian Ocean.  95W stayed almost stationary over Penang due to the sudden available fuel of the warm seas around Penang Island and did not merely pass over the state. Instead the odd storm made an extremely slow turnaround and headed back into Peninsula Malaysia resulting in floods in the neighbouring states before weakening due to the lack of water vapour inland. 95W then dissipated over the Gulf of Thailand but the residue was absorbed into another storm that was even more powerful called 29W which was a full fledged tropical depression, The storm travelled across Central Thailand and Southern Myanmar before dissipating in the Indian Ocean.

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The storm that hit Penang on the night of the fourth of November, 2017 had resulted in landslides occuring in many places that had no development at all, Rather the amount of water that came down upon Penang was just too much for our beloved state to withstand. Trees were felled by the powerful winds blocking traffic and destroying homes together with the 315mm rainfall that resulted in floods occuring in many places for the first time ever should be enough evidence to convince everyone that what happened that night was a full blown natural disaster that needed help not finger pointings. Facts are facts, do not spin facts for political mileage.

Yes Malaysia as a whole is ill-equipped to face tropical cyclones as we have been relatively safe from natural disasters for a very long time. Our infrastructural guidelines need updating and we need to work on this as a country. The commentators who were quick to blame development as the cause of the floods in Penang despite Penang having an even more stricter development guideline than what the federal government permits seem to ignore that flood mitigation funds that have been promised to Penang by the federal government have yet to be completely fulfilled. However, their venom seems to be concentrated on the Penang State Government coincidentally when the 14th General Elections are approaching.

Even countries like the United States and the Philippines who often face full blown hurricanes and typhoons are still struggling to manage their destructive power. In times of tragedy, it is important that we put politics aside and come to the aid of those who were affected by it. I myself have been on the ground since the disaster occurred and having very little sleep but the welfare of those who are in need of help must be taken care of. It can be very demoralising for those who are working tirelessly on the ground when the whole situation is politicised by opportunists who were hardly around except to do press conferences to score political mileage. Penangites however, have stepped up to show that they can climb back up from this disaster, Together with friends throughout Malaysia who generously contributed money, aid, machinery and manpower, we have shown that the spirit of brotherhood is alive and well during times of need. These are the true heroes who took on the power of the tropical cyclone head on.

So yes, criticisms are always welcomed, but be factual and do not practice double standards. Scientific facts are out there for all who are interested to invest their time to learn. Understand the situation then criticise shortcomings. To merely place blame on governments based on emotional perceptions in order to influence the electorate during times of disaster is not criticism but politics. Keep politics out of natural disasters!

Chris Lee Chun Kit is a City Councillor at the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) representing the DAP

UMNO wants more Power in Penang

Press Statement by Chris Lee Chun Kit on “Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s statement that the Penang Chief Minister’s post being too powerful” in George Town Penang on 21st August 2017


This statement is in response to this press report: http://www.thestar. com.my/news/nation/2017/08/21/ it-is-time-to-separate-penang- cm-from-state-agencies/


And in particular, the below statement:


“The Penang Chief Minister may not lead state government agencies such as the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and PBA Holdings Bhd (PBAHB) if Barisan Nasional wins the state in the next general election.


Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said it was time to separate the Chief Minister from state government agencies.”


This statement above by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan is a rare glimpse into what Penang will be like if Barisan Nasional recaptures the State in the next election.


He is trying hide the fact that even if the Chief Minister’s post is held by a BN component party like Gerakan or MCA, the real power behind the scenes and controlling Penang State Agencies will be UMNO. He is hiding behind that fact by saying that the Chief Minister’s post is too powerful.


Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan should know that with Malaysia being such a centralised country today, a lot of power in the Malaysian states are already in the hands of the Federal Government controlled by UMNO. The Federal Government even controls public transportation directly under the Prime Minister from UMNO and not the Ministry of Transport held by MCA. And yet UMNO is still so greedy and wants to control Penang behind their puppet component parties like Gerakan and MCA?


Penangites should know by now that the BN component parties will not be able to stop UMNO from imposing their will on Penang. First, they control their Chief Minister by stripping him of the position’s power over state agencies, will the conversion of Penang to a federal territory as a gift to the Prime Minister to rule Penang directly be next?


Chris Lee Chun Kit is a City Councillor with the City Council of Penang Island representing the DAP