GEORGE TOWN, July 8:
If tourists are not welcomed to eat in soup kitchens, it is akin to disallowing them from entering open houses during festivities such as those practised during Hari Raya.
Lim was responding to Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim who had reportedly said that information from the media and those spread of the social media on Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who has been accused of being heartless by banning non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from feeding the homeless in the city centre as being incomplete, leading to a misunderstanding.
He said what was allegedly said by Rohani that tourists had also gone to the soup kitchens to have their meals was something that was unlikely as it was unlikely that tourists would travel all the way to Malaysia just to eat in soup kitchens.
“We’ve made visits to soup kitchens in Penang and we didn’t see any tourists there.
“Even if there was then so what?”
Lim likened the excuse of tourists eating in soup kitchens to that of them eating at open houses.
“If they are banned from soup kitchens, then they should also be banned from Hari Raya or any festivital open houses.
“If operators of soup kitchens are being reprimanded then so should organisers of open houses.
“There should not be double standards, ” Lim told a press conference in Komtar after announcing the state government’s decision following a State Planning Committee meeting on proposal of exemption of application for planning permit to build 61 units of Rumah Sesebuah Mesra Rakyat (RMR) 1 in three areas in the state.
Lim stated the Penang state government’s stand on the soup kitchen issue and that it would not impose any bans on soup kitchens in Penang.
“We laud the move by the soup kitchen operators to stand firm by their ground in operating the soup kitchens for the poor and less fortunate and Penang will let them continue.
“I don’t see anything wrong with feeding the poor and it is very inhumane to be using such a high handed method on them instead of helping them,” said Lim.
When asked if Lim was worried that by having soup kitchens in Penang could lead to the state’s image being tarnished, he said: “What’s there to be tarnished? So what if it was if we can let the poor have proper meals and let them eat?
“After all we have to admit and be realistic that there are the poor who need to eat and that is more important that wanting to project whatever image you want to project, ” he said, again citing Potemkin as an example.
On Parti Cinta Malaysia president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan’s claims that the state government is turning a blind eye on billboards of Zhang Jian which have sprung up in Penang, promoting a money making scheme, Lim dismissed the issue and said that it had already been dealt with the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP).