GEORGE TOWN: The DAP-led state government was praised for allowing its think tank, the Penang Institute, to mark the centenary birthday of the late Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, who was widely accredited with developing modern Penang.
Lim was the state’s second chief minister, from 1969 until 1990 – a record of 21 years – before he was defeated by DAP’s Lim Kit Siang in the Pengkalan Kota state seat during the 1990 general election.
To honour Chong Eu shows class and political maturity, said state PKR vice-chairman Jason Ong Khan Lee, who said that politicians must give credit when it is due.
“We should not run down all the time leaders who have contributed to nation building just because they are our rivals,“ Ong told theSun.
Ong said that Penang must now value the legacy left behind by Chong Eu by improving its port, the airport, industries, services and human capital.
Penang’s fifth and present Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced in Petaling Jaya earlier that the state, through the institute, will commemorate Chong Eu’s centenary birthday and the 50th anniversary of the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) with the launch of a book, “Lim Chong Eu — From Free Port to Modern Economy: Economic Development and Social Change in Penang, 1969 to 1990”.
Chong Eu was a student of Penang Free School and obtained his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland on a King’s scholarship.
Chong Eu, who formed Gerakan, was born here on May 19, one hundred years ago.
Chow referred to Chong Eu as the man behind the move to industrialise the state after Penang lost its free port status in the early 1970s.
Gerakan leaders, its legal bureau head Datuk Baljit Singh and former Youth wing head, Jason Loo, also thanked Penang for honouring Chong Eu.
“I think a whole generation forgot what Gerakan did for Penang for 39 years. When the party was voted in, the unemployment rate was 20%.”
“The party stood together with Chong Eu and later his successor, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, galvanised the state to become one of the top states in Malaysia,“ said Baljit.
Loo said the younger generation now in Penang wishes that the state can find another leader like Chong Eu, who had the vision and the leadership skills to take the state forward.
“What we now enjoy is mostly from Chong Eu’s hard work - period.”
Veteran journalist S. Aruldas recalled Chong Eu as quick witted and someone who always had an answer to tough questions.
“Once every month, he hosted dinners for journalists either at his residence in Macalister Road or at a state bungalow in Penang Hill.”
“The reason for the dinners was to build a rapport with the media to help him realise his aim of developing Penang,“ said Aruldas.