Why punish councillor but ignore Ah Long posters all over Penang?

Congratulations to Penang Island City Council (MBPP) councillor Nicholas Theng, Jawi assemblyman Jason H’ng Mooi Lye and some hypocritical city councillors for their valiant efforts to enforce the law against “vandalism”.

First, I would like to demolish this red herring — accusing me of justifying Seberang Perai City Council member Cameron Kang’s actions in putting up posters with QR (quick response) codes to obtain the arrival times of Rapid Penang buses.

Nowhere did I justify Kang’s actions, or even mention his name in my earlier statement. Theng should not put words in my mouth. In any case, Kang has unreservedly apologised for his misdeed and taken responsibility for his actions.

I am also informed that Kang received three compound notices from MBPP — one for each bus stop and has paid two as he only pasted on two bus stops.

So much for Theng and his supporters’ unwarranted accusations of me exonerating Kang’s actions. Apologies are due.

But MBPP’s efficiency in booking Kang should be lauded. Can I also request MBPP to provide a full list of the other offenders (i.e. vandals) who have also been duly booked?

I am also happy to be informed that there was an effort by the MBPP to remove 450 illegal posters on Aug 22, 2019, which is commendable. News reports also show that the council tried to reach four advertisers but was unsuccessful.

I have always maintained then and now that it is more important to put more resources and effort to tackle the source of this problem, i.e. finding and booking the perpetrators, than cleaning up their mess.

Councillor Theng doesn’t know the difference between enforcement (i.e. going after offenders) and picking up after the offenders. MBPP has reportedly removed over 17,000 illegal posters as of August 2019.

I know the MBPP spends several hundred thousand ringgit yearly (at least during my tenure as MBPP councillor) to remove such illegal posters and banners.

It has become an industry in itself.

I always advocated that if the MBPP were stricter and active in enforcement, we wouldn’t have to spend so much of ratepayers’ money cleaning up the mess.

For six years, when I was a councillor, I repeatedly asked MBPP to go after Ah Longs (loan sharks) and others who put up offensive posters. But there simply was no political will or interest.

It seems Theng or his supporters were highly vigilant and diligent in stalking Kang and catching him in the act of putting up the posters with the QR code.

My question is whether they have been as diligent in stalking the hundreds of Ah Longs who commit the offence daily?

If not, why not? And why just Kang? Is this deliberately planned?

To clear up the answer of selective persecution, can Theng answer the following:

  1. To provide a full list of offenders who were caught and fined? Or at least how many and when?
  2. How many have paid up their fines?
  3. If they have not, what action has MBPP taken to go after them?

Finally, I strongly suggest Theng, as a diligent councillor, to spend more time stalking Ah Longs and bringing them to justice and not just offer one press statement after another.

Lim Mah Hui is a former Penang Island City Council councillor.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.