Chief Minister criticised over disparaging remarks about Johor

KUALA LUMPUR - Lim Guan Eng has come under fire from various quarters for his remarks about Johor, with many saying it was unbecoming of his stature as Penang Chief Minister.

Leading the criticisms, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the state was safe and doing well with investments flowing in.

"It does not bother me and I don't know what his problem is," said Ghani of remarks that Lim had allegedly made when asked at a Foreign Correspondents Association luncheon in Singapore about the progress of Iskandar Malaysia last month.

Internet portals yesterday released what appeared to be transcripts of Lim speech.

"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," it read.

Johor Tourism and Domestic Trade committee chairman Hoo Seong Chang lambasted Lim, saying no leader should sabotage another state simply to attract more investments to his.

"Next year will be an exciting year with many of the projects in Iskandar Malaysia coming on line," said Hoo.

"The oil and gas sector in Pengerang will also be booming and that will attract even more investments into Johor."

Johor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff was appalled by Lim's alleged remarks.

He said police were working hard to check crime in Johor and thousands of Singaporeans crossed the border to Johor daily.

"It is ridiculous to say they would become victims of kidnapping."

In George Town, Penang MCA deputy chairman Datuk Dr Loh Hock Hun said Malaysian leaders should not run down other states.

"If there are weaknesses in the system, give suggestions," he said.

In a statement, Lim's second press secretary Wong Kim Fei blamed the media instead.

"The media should be consistent and not jump from one country to another as they please.

"Will another country - China, Hong Kong, Indonesia or Japan - be next?" he asked.

Lim had previously demanded an apology from national news agency Bernama for alleging that he had run down Johor in his ABC interview in Australia.

According to Wong's statement, Lim did not even mention Johor during the ABC interview.

However, he was silent on the allegations made in Singapore.

Lim is now in Surabaya, Indonesia. He retuns today.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said Lim should apologise to the Johor Sultan and his subjects for suggesting that the state was unsafe.


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