GEORGE TOWN, Oct 12 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was only stopped from visiting SJK(C) Sungai Lembu in Bukit Mertajam but not all schools, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon said today.
He told reporters that Lim was stopped from visiting the school in August because the DAP secretary-general was linked to a controversy over an illegal factory located in the same area at that time.
“The Penang education department had referred his application to the ministry and we did not approve his application to visit that school because of controversial issues in that area,” he said in a press conference after officiating a national headmasters association convention here.
“Previously, there were no issues for him to visit any school. There are so many other areas he can visit, why must he visit Sungai Lembu at that time?” Chong pointed out.
He accused Lim of attempting to use the Sungai Lembu school as a platform to meet with the residents there due to the controversy over the illegal factory at that time.
“It was clear that his visit to the school was politically motivated so the decision to stop him from entering the school is to ensure that the school was not used as his political platform,” he said.
He claimed Lim was trying to twist the facts to this whole issue by repeatedly accusing the ministry of barring him visiting the one school.
“His claims that he was barred and therefore unable to present funding to the school is only his way of scaring the schools,” he said.
“How can he behave like this? That’s not his money, it is the people’s money. As a state government, it is also the state’s duty together with the federal government to assist schools,” he added.
Chong said if Lim is sincere in wanting to present funding to schools, he is welcome to visit all the schools in the state each weekend and present funding to all the schools.
Lim had in the past month repeatedly accused the Education Ministry of double standards in barring him from entering SJK(C) Sungai Lembu to present funding to the school on August 26 but had allowed Umno leaders to visit schools in the state.
The Penang lawmaker claimed Putrajaya had politicised the education system to its own advantage by allowing Umno leaders to visit schools while barring the elected chief minister.