Why is it always about race, asks Lim Guan Eng

by Looi Sue-Chern
The Malaysian Insider
November 11, 2013

Lim Guan Eng slammed former information minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin today for turning his criticisms of Felda buying an expensive hotel in London into a racial issue.

The Penang Chief Minister accused Zainuddin of playing the race card when the latter did not address the issue at hand.

“The problem with Umno is when they cannot give an explanation, they go back to racism. They can’t answer the two important questions I had asked.

“Why pay RM100 million more (for the hotel)? Is someone making money? Prove to us you have the expertise. Don’t turn this into a race issue,” he said in Penang when asked to comment on Zainuddin’s remarks in his blog, Zam Kata.

Zainuddin had lashed out at Lim for questioning Felda’s recent purchase of a RM500 million apartment complex cum hotel in London.

He accused Lim of looking down on the ability of the Malays to manage international hotels, and thinking that only the Chinese could do it.

Zainuddin also hit out at Lim for saying that Felda should only focus on agriculture-related businesses.

Lim reiterated that the question was never about race but why Felda had to pay more when it could pay less, and chose to spend so much when it had no experience in running a hotel in a foreign country.

Lim, who is also the DAP secretary-general, said the 198-unit Grand Plaza serviced apartments in Bayswater, London bought by FIC UK Properties, a subsidiary of Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) Sdn Bhd in early September, was valued at £80 million (RM408 million) in March but the amount went up to about £98 million (RM500 million) in six months.

“Where is the proof (to show how the value shot up)?

“And what is Felda’s expertise in running foreign hotels. In London, there are so many big boys. Who is Felda?” said Lim.

“Everything in Malaysia is racialised when the question should be about competency, buying what is value for money and protecting public funds.”

He also cited how the DAP-led Penang government adopted a policy of divestment when it took over the state in 2008, getting out of businesses where it had no expertise to prevent loss of money.

“Why is it that when we question Putrajaya and ask it to do the same, it becomes a racial issue?

“If this is the case, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should also be questioned about getting out of businesses that lose money. He also carried out the policy of divestment,” Lim added. – November 11, 2013.

  1. #1 by good coolie on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 3:58 pm

    I suggest a way out:- let us staff government departments and GLCs with truly multi-racial staff. Then we can criticise these organisations without having to offend any one race. As it is, we can’t criticise the Police, Military, Customs, Immigration, …., State and Federal Governments, without treading on racial sensitivities. Let us stop this identification of race with government functions, otherwise we will have sacred cows that cannot be criticised at all.

    • #2 by cemerlang on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 8:49 pm

      In other countries, the identity card does not show the religion, the race, the male female thingy. There is no stereotyping of a person and it is the ability of a person that matters more. Even if Malaysia has only one race, it does not mean there are no issues. Because everyone is different even for twins.

  2. #3 by Winston on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 4:28 pm

    No, Malaysians are not looking down on the Malays when it comes to performance.
    They are only looking down on the performance of UMNO in not doing a good job of running this country.
    Even the Malays themselves have the same attitude because the last GE shows that the opposition has more than fifty percent of the votes cast.
    So, they can’t hide behind race every time they are criticised.
    This country is indeed run by a bunch of lunnies.
    Even Mamak has come to realise that, although a bit late.
    And these lunnies are hand-picked by him!!

  3. #4 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 4:52 pm

    The Mamaks have only this card to play and sadly a good number of the Malay Community is still hoodwinked by such approach; just look at the number of them who actually took advantage of this hoodwink and enriched themselves at the expense of the poor folks in the rural area. So long that they can churn this shit, they will plunder the nation into bankruptcy!

  4. #5 by tuahpekkong on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 5:45 pm

    Compared to the purchase of lap tops, binoculars and wall clocks at well over 10 times market price, the Grand Plaza serviced apartment was purchased at only 22.55% higher than its valued price. It was no big deal. We should be alarmed only if the Grand Plaza was purchased for RM 5 billion.

  5. #6 by Godfather on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 6:21 pm

    I am not alarmed. Somebody gotta make some money and by asking for this culture to be changed is like waving a red flag to the bull.

  6. #7 by Godfather on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 6:57 pm

    It has to be deflected as a racial issue. NFC is also about making Malay entrepreneurs out of Shahreezat’s family. So don’t question. The auditor General was also being ridiculous as all the overpriced deals were part of the bumiputra learning cycle.

  7. #8 by Godfather on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 7:54 pm

    Remember when an opposition MP stood up to question why the new Istana’s cost has ballooned from RM 400 million to RM 1.2 billion (and counting), Nazri stood up and said that it was for Malay royalty and not for some Chinaman contractor ?

    No squeak from the opposition after that comment from Nazri.

  8. #9 by rjbeee on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 10:22 pm

    Zainuddin another mamak who has lost his direction and now there say confused….Now wants to cari makan agin by making noise…sudah lah mamak they wont accept you, you are a mamak tongkang what ever is said….

  9. #10 by Bigjoe on Monday, 11 November 2013 - 10:55 pm

    Look the fact of the matter is that when you touch real issues, going to racist attack is the aggressive defensive they can get away with. Why bother asking why? They are racist, its what they do..

    The real issue is why do voters for UMNO/BN let them get away with it? What does it mean when they don’t care that real criticism of something that should matter to them, THEY DON’T? Why are they of so much apathy or victim behaving against racist ransoming of their emotions?

  10. #11 by Noble House on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 - 4:42 am

    Is this the guy who once told Al Jazeera that we are a democratic country and we have eRection every five years?

    I should think Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak would have done a better job in saving the taxpayer’s money from this investment.

  11. #12 by sotong on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 - 11:13 am

    Many politicians like him, are political coward.

    Hiding cowardly and unashamely behind race and religion, they attacked or bullied fellow Non Malays for self interests to divide the people.

  12. #13 by boh-liao on Thursday, 14 November 2013 - 9:39 am

    Silly Q, LGE! Of cos, it’s always abt RACE
    UmnoB is an ultra racist party which survives by harping on d supreme Malay race; by frightening Malays dat if they don’t support UmnoB, habis lah; by racialising every issue 1
    Only then those greedy racists in UmnoB can continue 2 SAPU big fat $$ in2 their accounts mah
    So, UmnoB always racing along d race issue lor

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