First, they took our Free Port status away from us in 1969.
Now, in 2012, the same group of people is trying to take away our Penang Port and give it to a ‘high-profile’ crony who owns almost all big businesses ever operated on Malaysian soil without even considering the welfare of the rakyat and the importance the Port play to our local econonmy and daily lives.
The Rich Oppressing the Poor
I can still remember an ancient story of a prophet reprimanding a famous king when he committed adultery with one of his general’s wife. When the wife was found pregnant, he sent the faithful general to die in a fierce battle so that he could later marry the widow.
The prophet started with a simple story. It was a story of 2 neighbours. One was rich and the other was poor. The rich had almost anything but the poor neighbour only has a kid (young goat) which he loved with all his heart. One day, the rich neighbour had some visitor from afar and he decided to treat them to a meal. Instead of taking from his big flock of cows and goats, he went over to the poor neighbour and snatch his one and only little kid to serve it on his dinner table.
Then prophet asked, “What should be done to the rich neighbour who has committed such a hineous sin?”
“He must be put to DEATH!” the king exclaimed in anger.
“The man is non other but YOU, your majesty!” the prophet snapped back.
Penang Port for Penang people.
Now, the very same scenario is taking shape in Penang when the rich man Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary and Umno who has almost everything in this well-blessed country and yet, still SHAMELESSLY greed over the one small port in Penang. This port may mean nothing to these cash-rich people but it means everything to the ordinary people like you and me.
Just like an international airport, seaport serve as a ‘door’ for import and export of goods in this northern region of Malaysia. We need an efficient port to ensure our competitiveness in the region. Without a well-operated seaport, Penangites will be suffering ‘unforeseen-able’ losses economically as many investors will shun away from investing their money and factory operations in our region. Without these investors and their investments, where are we going to get jobs for Penangites to earn their living?
By acknowledging the importance of Penang Port to Penang and Northern Region, we indeed support the effort of the people’s government of Penang by stressing the fact that Penang Port should be managed and operated by Penangites ourselves. In fact, we are not given the opportunity to prove our worth and competency in port management when the rich and powerful federal govt refused to loosen their grip on this important asset.
The Port Management keep on telling us the rakyat of Penang that Penang Port has been making losses but do you know the fact that hundreds of cars are forced to queue up for hours in the ferry terminal every evening after work just to take the ferry? There seems to be an invisible instruction being passed down to the workers to ‘allow’ the jam in the ferry terminal in order to ‘discourage’ car drivers from using the ferry services. No wonder the management of Penang Port claimed that they are making losses year in year out when the company headed by no one but MCA is trying to paint a ‘bad picture’ to justify their privatisation effort! Indeed how justifi-able it is…!!!
Since Penang Port under the MCA has been making losses, why don’t the central authority pass the bad apple back to Penangites and allow the State Government to manage the port ourselves? Why still clinging to the sinking ship while you know there is no longer hope to revive the port?? Or there is other ‘hidden agenda’ in your corrupted minds that you intend to ‘profiteer’ from the so-call privatisation exercise of the port. Frankly, Penangites eye the buy-out by Shaik Mokhtar with suspicion as we doubt he has the know-how or intention to develop Penang Port for the benefit of all.
We need a new management team to manage the Penang Port properly so that it can achieve its efficiency while sustaining the maintenance work of the port such as the highly expensive dredging effort in the Northern Straits to ensure bigger vessels can berth upon our deep sea terminal. We also know that after more than 40 years of management under MCA and federal agency, these people are not competant enough to manage a port, let alone a challenging one like Penang Port.
So it’s time to do the necessary thing. Do the RIGHT thing. Return the Penang Port to its rightful owners – the people of Penang!