No action taken against illegal structures before March 2008: Lim

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has not taken action against illegal buildings, factories and hawkers in operation before March, 2008, if these did not obstruct traffic or disturb the public as part of its policy.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (pix) said efforts instead would be made to find a solution for all including legitimising programs.

He nonetheless said action will be taken on illegal structures after that date to prevent such structures from mushrooming.

“The Penang state government, for now, has no intention to change the policy on illegal buildings, hawkers, temples, shrines, churches, factories and residences,” he said in a statement today.

His comment comes after state Environment, Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh was detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) last week.

Phee had allegedly written two letters to ask that enforcement action against an illegal factory be postponed until an amicable solution for all parties could be found.

Lim also questioned what happens to the state government policy now on illegal structures post MACC action against Phee.

“If action has to be taken then thousands of buildings, hawkers and illegal factories will be torn down immediately.

“Even residences built without permits cannot escape and will be torn down, this will affect the entire state and may cause chaos in Penang.

“I intend to propose the current policy continues at the weekly Exco meeting on Wednesday,” he said.

Lim added his government and Pakatan Harapan (PH) stood behind Phee as they did not understand what corrupt practices he was engaged in and believed he was not involved in graft.

“If he (Phee) was carrying out his duties as an assemblyman by asking enforcement action be postponed then all elected representatives, whether government or opposition, who do so can be said to be involved in graft,” he said.