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The complainant is Dr Lim Mah Hui who is also a member of board of directors of Penang Institute … yeah, that infamous think-tank chaired by Lim Guan Eng who appointed Zairil its CEO who made the 11th hour offer to Tunku Aziz who said it was a bribe and on which the MACC received a report from Parti Cinta Malaysia alleging that the institute engages in bribery.

Claiming that he is not a “BN bedfellow”, Lim – who is also a Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) councillor – issued a statement to clarify his remarks reported in an NST article titled Penang Paradigm ‘is nothing new’ (22 Feb 2013).

I’ll break down the NST article (screenshot, bottom of page) into five component parts under bullet points for your easy reference.

Please tell me whether you think that Lim’s complaint is justified or whether Guan Eng’s kiasu-ism has rubbed off on him.

Lim Mah Hui
Lim Mah Hui

Penang Paradigm ‘is nothing new’

Part I: NST intro

[NST subheading] IMITATION: Refined version of BN blueprint

Penang Paradigm =

  • to direct the state’s development agenda for the next decade
  • refined version of its little known predecessor, the Penang Blueprint

Part II: Quoting Lim

According to NST, Lim said:

  • Paradigm based on blueprint
  • Paradigm more comprehensive than blueprint
  • Paradigm improved version of blueprint
  • Paradigm prepared after many long discussions
  • Blueprint done in a rush
  • Blueprint shelved by state government in April 2011
  • Blueprint shelved to collaborate with Federal Government to prepare Greater Penang Transformation Programme
  • Penang Paradigm and blueprint were “about the same thing”

The above is all that Lim is quoted to have said.

Part III: Paradigm & Blueprint

[NST editorial] Penang Paradigm =

  • framework for making Penang “an international & intelligent city”
  • will be released by state think-tank Penang Institute on Feb 23 (the day following the publication of NST article)
  • Penang Institute wants public consultation to gather feedback
  • feedback for helping improve report’s coverage, analysis and policy agenda
  • report includes a diagnosis of why growth rates had slowed in recent years
  • report includes recommended strategies to tackle the problem
  • outlines measures such as [see screenshot below]

Part IV: Bridging paragraph

NST said: “As the earlier Penang Blueprint and its contents were largely unknown to the public, the new Penang Paradigm was regarded with sceptism by some quarters when news of its public consultation came about two week ago.”

Part V: Quoting Teng Chang Yeow

According to NST, Teng said:

  • DAP-led government was “merely showing off the words ‘Penang Paradigm'”
  • BN had revealed its plans for Penang (free port, financial & education hubs, monorail project)
  • Pakatan had not informed Penangites of its plan even after ruling five years
  • “They have only two words — Penang Paradigm”

The NST article is 354 words. The paragraphs relating to Lim total 98 words and the paragraphs relating to Teng, 80 words.

Okay now let’s look at the protest by Lim that NST is either mischievous or malicious as well as lacking professionalism.

Lim’s statement

The reporter Looi Sue-Chern had spoken to Lim “last week” (roughly Feb 17). She spoke with Teng on Feb 17.

Lim complains:

(1) Article heading is misleading

(2) Reporter misquotes and takes him “substantially out of context”

“I told her that the Blueprint which sets out the development agenda and priorities for the state was completed a couple of years ago but shelved to accommodate the Federal’s government request to work together for a greater Penang development plan.”

Please cross refer bullet point above. The reporter did not deviate from Lim’s meaning.

Lim clarifies:

  • State government waited a year for federal government to get back on developemnt agenda but no news
  • Hence state government launched Penang Paradigm
  • Paradigm builds upon the basics of blueprint
  • Paradigm more comprehensive, analytical, participatory
  • Input sought through workshops
  • Website launched on Feb 23 allowing for further feedback

“This is a far cry from the policies and methods of the Barisan Nasional.”

I don’t see how Lim’s present clarification deviates from what was said in the NST report. You can make the comparisons yourself.

The only point of contention that I can see is the bit where the NST article stated: “Dr Lim, who was formerly an international banker, said the Penang Paradigm and the blueprint were “about the same thing”.

Were the words within quotation marks uttered by him verbatim? Or is Lim claiming he did not say those four words “about the same thing”? Or is he saying “about the same thing” was quoted out of context?

How would you interpret the phrase “about the same thing”? The blueprint and Paradigm are both about a Penang development agenda (i.e. same subject) and hence the headline “nothing new” which Lim objects to as being “misleading”.

His clarification does nothing to shed light even though he says he wished “to set the record straight”. Which part of the record is crooked?

(A) Do you think the NST heading “Penang Paradigm ‘is nothing new'” is misleading?

(B) Do you think the reporter misquoted Lim?

(C) Do you think the reporter took him “substantially out of context”?

Let’s see what other things Lim is unhappy about.

(1) Doesn’t want to sit in same column inches as Teng Chang Yeow

“[J]uxtaposing what I said with what Teng Chang Yeow said (the Penang state government’s vision is just two words, i.e., Penang Paradigm) makes me seem like a bedfellow with the Barisan Nasional”

Teng has his individual opinion, Lim has his. They differ. NST put both opinions side by side in the same copy. So what?

Even if Teng sounds dismissive of the Penang Paradigm, again so what? If Lim’s comments sound like they’ve got substance whereas what Teng says sounds like merely baiting the DAP-led government, then juxtaposing both opinions will actually make Lim look good in comparison.

But Lim instead fears that appearing in the same article as Teng will somehow make him look (in the eyes of NST readers) like a BN bedfellow.

(2) Objects to date of publication

Lim claims that for NST to “publish the article just one day before the official launch of the Penang Paradigm seems mischievous at best and malicious at worst”.

The reporter spoke to Teng on Sunday (and presumably to Lim on the same day as well).

Let’s give Ms Looi one day’s grace (Monday) to write the story. So her article could have been published either on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. It was published on Friday. The Paradigm launch was Saturday.

If you were the NST editor, when would you have chosen to publish Ms Looi’s article — Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri or Sat? Is it fair to accuse you [the editor] of being unprofessional, mischievous or malicious for the sin of failing to publish the article between Tues-Thurs.?

MPPP approved RM300m sPICE

Dr Lim Mah Hui is the councillor who closed one eye to the RM300 million sPICE project bulldozed through by Lim Guan Eng.

(sPICE is subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre, “exclusive club for the rich”)

Below is what Penang Gerakan legal and human rights bureau chief Baljit Singh said about the sPICE agreement:

  • agreement proper can only be viewed by appointment at municipality office
  • viewer allotted only two hours to peruse the documents
  • making photocopies and taking snapshots are not allowed
  • only allowed to write down notes within the allotted time
  • where’s the CAT?

Below is what former MPPP councillor Lim Boo Chang said about sPICE:

  • State government had ‘misused’ the Section 9(1) of the Local Government Act to issue a directive to the MPPP to rubber stamp the project
  • Councillors only agreed in principle to the sPICE project in December 2010 but never deliberated or approved the contract details when it was signed between MPPP and sPICE developer Eco-Meridian Sdn Bhd (EMSB), a subsidiary of SP Setia Bhd
  • Councillors asked for a copy of the contract draft during a meeting held five days before the contract signing on Aug 19, 2011 but until 14 Dec 2011 had yet to be provided any documentation
  • MPPP would invest RM50 million but gets nothing in return
  • The developer would pocket a net RM100 million profit during lease period, according to another councillor


FMT reported, “Chief Minister Lim claimed sPICE would be a worthy investment in tandem with his administration’s goal of turning George Town into an ‘international and intelligent’ city.” (Note the recurrence of the phrase “international and intelligent city”.)

Guan Eng’s interference

Lim Boo Chang objected to sPICE during the tabling of MPPP’s Budget 2012 and subsequently resigned as MPPP councillor.

Lim Mah Hui has remained an MPPP councillor and is a board director of the Penang Institute.

Lim Mah Hui in his statement yesterday claimed that the Penang state government’s openness to public feedback “is a far cry from the policies and methods of the Barisan Nasional.”

Lim Boo Chang told reporters on 15 Dec 2011 said the MPPP should be autonomous but “the current state government is bent on interfering in the workings of the council”.

He further said that the interference was  rampant and that such interference “never happened even under BN”.

Lim also revealed that Lim Guan Eng had used arm-twisting tactics to intimidate councillors, including him, for opposing sPICE.

He added the state government had also issued directives to the council to officially inform respective Pakatan state elected representatives before carrying out enforcement duties in a constituency.

Mah Hui stayed, Boo Chang quit

It appears that the two Lims – one still serving as MPPP councillor while the other had resigned – are saying completely opposite things about how the Penang government under Lim Guan Eng operates.

Lim Mah Hui has kicked up a big fuss over the small NST report where he was quoted saying some 70-plus words.

On the other hand, Lim Mah Hui has nothing to say about the sPICE project regarding which his ex-colleague Lim Boo Chang has claimed “Penang govt bullying municipal council” — FMT headline, 15 Dec 2011.

Say what again?

Lim Mah Hui has nothing to say about the sPICE project that his ex-colleague Lim Boo Chang accused the state government of bulldozing through.

Lim Mah Hui has nothing to say about the sPICE contract which his ex-colleague Lim Boo Chang claims allows SP Setia to build 450 low cost houses on the free land and pocket all the proceeds from the sales.

Lim Mah Hui has nothing to say about the sPICE contract which his ex-colleague Lim Boo Chang claims allows the developer also to build an extra 1,500 houses each in the various projects it would undertake in Penang island and again pocket all the proceeds.

Lim Mah Hui has nothing to say about the development charges and quit rent to be waived for the sPICE project nor about the RM50 million budget (2012-2013) to be provided by the MPPP in stages for the project.

Lim Mah Hui is still a councillor with the MPPP and with the Penang Institute enjoying the perks of office [in an organization whose offer] Tunku Aziz turned down.

Yesterday, Lim Mah Hui issued a statement complaining about an NST reporter purportedly making him “seem like a bedfellow with the Barisan Nasional”. No lah, Lim Mah Hui. Who would think you look like a BN bedfellow?

Actually it seems like you’re a Lim Guan Eng bedfellow.




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19 thoughts on “Penang

  1. I think it goes something like this.

    I would love to be interviewed by the MSM. If the reporting and coverage is deemed favourable = No problem.

    If the reporting and coverage is deemed unfavourable = a. I was misquoted, b. I was quoted out of context, c. My quotes were pitted against more eloquent ones which made me looked stupid.

    I guess Mr. Lim went for all a, b and c.

    Relax-lah, nobody reads the NST anyway, right? Why Dr Lim Mah Hui is running scared? Is he a DAP member? I thought all councillors are supposedly apolitical under the paradise of PR? Apasal tetiba tembak BN?

    Be honestlah, under DAP, their councillor pun tahu which side of their bread is buttered.

    1. I read NST as the ofice subscribes to it. I look at it as the MSM printed version of TMI. It’s like 2/3 of the local news is dedicated to PR bashing. At timed it is bordering comical. Just this week, some ex Anwar buddy of some sorts asked Anwar to confirm if he uses a wig to disguise his identity when up to his nocturnal activities. The fact that such a thing is newsworthy is mindboggling to say the least

      1. Since NST, Utusan and TV3 have the reputation of being Umno mouthpieces

        And you say that TMI is a mirror image of the NST, i.e. pro-Christian opposition and constantly bashing BN

        Then perhaps supporters of the establishment should start making the same noise about TMI that anti-establishment supporters make about Utusan.

  2. Basically Penang Paradigm is Penang Blueprint 2.0 lah. Why so jumpy about the date of publication & the fact that he’s featured alongside Teng? It’s a non-issue if you ask me.

    Also, it seems PR politicians are fond of accusing MSM of bias & then conveniently accuse the journalists of misquoting them whenever they end up with their foot in their mouth. One would think that the foot of PR leaders must be covered in honey or treacle seeing how fond they are of tasting it (their foot)

  3. [comment blocked]

    Your Lagu Singapura off topic here lah, sayang. Dr Lim ni very fussy one. Nanti dia dok komplen lagi “misleading” lah, your comment out of context lah. — Helen

  4. I like reading the NST. I buy the paper everyday. the articles are well written. the language, the sarcasm, just love it.

    and the writers write them without the usual venom and vile we see on Mkini and the like. that’s what makes the opposition so rile up. the NST make fun of the opposition without employing the opposition’s tactics of linguistic brutality and barbarity.

    thus the thinking man refutes the brutes with language brutes could not comprehend, therefore the brutes become more and more listless, restless, thus the brutes respond with more venom and bile yet in the process the brutes embarrass themselves even more.

  5. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what had happened. This fellow Dr Lim is supposed to be the rep of the NGOs in the MPPP and the Penang Institute. He’s generally independent and outspoken or at least try to be rather being a rubber stamp that his fellow MPPP councillors and Board of Penang Institute. Some of the insiders tell me that he’s about the only one during the meetings (MPPP, PI and other meetings with Tokong) who dares to even question Tokng’s policies (note that I used Tokong’s policies as opposed to the state govt’s policies since the Cheap Minister makes ALL the decisions and policies himself as in the case of Penang’s twin state of North Korea).

    The problem is that he spoke to the NST and being openly critical rather than making noise in a closed meeting or forum. As you know the NST is one of Tokong’s Top 10 enemies. As such Tokong would have gone ballistics and called Dr Lim for an explanation. He would have accused Dr Lim as collaborating with the enemy of the state and appearing to be working in hand in hand with BN.

  6. Helen..

    I have to be on Dr. Lim’s side on this one. Do you know why? Because, though it is about the same thing; Penang but the next word is different; one starts with a B for blueprint and another is a P for Paradigm. They have different alphabets all together.

    Though, Paradigm is a like a remix version of the blueprint, I am sure that DAP has added few words here and there to make it funkier, newer, shinier that would appeal to The Economist, Malaysiakini, Asia WSJ, etc.

    You have to also give them some break. They’ve thought and thought and thought of this paradigm shift for 5 years and voila – right before the GE13, they present it. That’s a whole lotta thinking by a tanked ‘tank’ I tells ya!

    Heaven forbid, Dr Lim be associated with BN. That’s why Mr. Netto has to carry out special article of such re Dr Lim and where his loyalty is. I mean, Lord Muruguan doesn’t suffer complainers, whiners, traitors should his paranoid mind starts to suspect so..look at that Tengku fellow and the other Dr. Lim or that Wee guy.

    I do believe LGE envisioned himself on that crucifix day & night and couldn’t fathom why people retaliate over his gospel. He is after all son of god – LKS has been around since the big bang theory, ya have to give him credit for surviving EVERYTHING!

    Anyway, these days hard to find comfy job with comfy pay and Dr. Lim is trying to stay relevant though some may think it’s a desperate measure to stay afloat in a tank!

    1. :) they maintained the tagline “Penang an international & intelligent city”.

      Hahaha, I s’pose in the matter of intelligence, no need for paradigm shift.

        1. The Penang BN chief Teng Chang Yeow said DAP merely wanted to show off that they know the word “paradigm”.

          Whatever happened to the Himpunan KL112 demand to memartabatkan bahasa kebangsaan?

          1. Paradigma Penang…. I don’t know, weird name for a blueprint or a roadmap. I mean, Penang Paradigm sounded like the architects are high on some abstract plane. It is as funny as all those transformation alphabet soup Najib is throwing around, except that Penang took twice as long to get some vision planning done.

            1. Aww, they just gonna build more high-end shopping malls that the Malays and Indians cannot afford to go to. Like the upmarket condos now actively speculated on the island.


              Paradigm Mall address: 1, SS 7/ 26 A, Kelana Jaya, 47301 Petaling Jaya

          2. and even that, they’ve failed.

            My English is not good, but attaching paradigm to Penang is as vague as their policies.

            The Oxford English Dictionary defines the basic meaning of the term paradigm as “a pattern or model, an exemplar”.

            For a Think Tank and proudly confessing for thinking about this ‘paradigm’ for years, and failing from the title itself, it shows how intelligence is not a pre-requisite to be in this ‘club’. Can you imagine if it’s translated to BM, it will be (correct me if I am wrong); Paradigma Penang.

  7. Pulau Pinang under Daddy’s Action Party will surely die like Singapore. Under Daddy Lee Kuan Yew’s rule of one man over 55 years, indigenous population of 100% reduced to 62% and 38% rich foreigners in 2013 according to the Singapore Government’s White Paper on Population. By 2030, the indigenous population will be down to 45% and foreign 55%

  8. Who is this Dr Lim ? My grades were better than Lee Kuan Yew who went through the back door of the lowest ranking Fitzwilliam House, Read his book. I went to the best through the 500 year old oak door entrance with 100 marks in all the subjects. I have been studying the good and the great on both sides of the Causeway since October 1951 ! Where was Lim ?

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