Press statement by Dr Lim Mah Hui regarding press conference of 16 MBPP councillors on 23 March 2016.
It is regrettable that 16 MBPP councilors held another press conference yesterday to ask that I apologise to them, the Mayor, the City Council Secretary and the enforcement staff over two issues:
(i) a discrepancy in the number of cars towed;
(ii) that I should have reported the incident of staff members who went absent without official leave.
This whole controversy arose because:
(i) I was accused by the Chief Minister on 12 March 2016 that I was a liar because I stooped so low as to concoct the number that one car a month was towed by Council enforcement staff;
(ii) and this was done to justify my demand for errant staff to be sacked.
These are very serious charges that I have shown to be patently false.
I provided data, based on the Council’s own record, that in October 2011, and in March, April May, 2012, the towing teams were indeed towing only one car per month.
Unfortunately, the Mayor and the Council Secretary who have these records did not inform the Chief Minister that what I said was true. If this was done, none of the controversy would have happened.
Secondly, I repeat, I never uttered the word “sack”; it was the chief minister who talked about sacking. Such baseless allegations have led to serious consequence of turning council staff and councillors against me, something that is evident now.
I then said over the years there was improvement in the towing performance. I do not wish to stoop so low to quibble over petty numbers. Suffice I quote from a member of public, a professor from the Universiti Sains Malaysia who wrote the following to me:
“I regret that the issue has been falsely headlined as car towing numbers, instead of the local government efficiency in your original intent. Even worse, is that the issue now has been turned into political issue instead of a civic one. As Penangite, I fully support your analysis, stance and continuous fight for a better Penang. This email just to let you know, despite what the social media is painting, there are many Penangite that stands behind you.”
It is indeed unfortunate that my fellow councilors are unable to see the big picture and are instead nitpicking with petty numbers and inviting the ire of the public, who want to see improvement in council’s towing efficiency.
Finally, as to why I did not report the errant staff to the disciplinary committee, the councillors are directing the question to the wrong person. They should address the question to the director of enforcement and the council secretary who were present in the meetings when this issue was discussed.
Dr Lim Mah Hui
Ahli Majlis MBPP
24 March 2016