Chong Eu’s contribution so much for Malays in Penang


KUALA LUMPUR: During his tenure as Penang Chief Minister for 21 years from 1969, the late Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, had done so much to help the Malays in the state, especially in the economic field.

Former Bernama economic news service Malay sub-editor Syed Imran Syed Ahmad said the existence of the Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce (DPMPP) building in the state was due to Dr Lim’s trust and confidence that it could be built by his best friend, who was also DPMPP president, the late Tan Sri Syed Abbas Alhabshee.

“Dr Lim had approved the leasing of the highy-valued land to DPMPP at only RM1 to enable the building, which cost millions of ringgit, to be built, even though he and Syed Abbas were political enemies,” Syed Imran said in his blog yesterday.

Syed Imran, who had served as Bernama reporter in Penang during the reign of Dr Lim said the DPMPP building had created history as it was the first chamber of commerce in Malaysia, which had its own 12-storey building.

“The DPMPP building stands tall in the area where banks and the port are located, facing the historical clock tower, Immigration office building, Islamic Religious Council building, and near the State Assembly Hall and Tuanku Syed Putra Building,” said Syed Imran who is among four journalists who had very close relationship with Dr Lim while working in Penang in the 1970s.

“It is a strategic place which could not have been owned by DPMPP if other than Dr Lim was appointed as Penang chief minister.

“That is the reality,” he said.

Despite scepticism by some quarters, Syed Imran said Dr Lim had done so much to help the Malays in Penang.

“Many people accused him and the state administration as being slow in helping the Malays, when it was clearly the opposite.

“Those who opposed the construction of the flats were a handful of Malays who were jealous. They tried everything to prevent the project.

“He was a smart man and one of his hidden talents was his ability to compose poems in English,” he said.

Syed Imran said the people of Penang would certainly remember Dr Lim’s contributions and that “no one can ever deny what he had done in developing and modernizing the state after the free-port status was withdrawn and given to Langkawi.”

He said Dr Lim also had a sharp memory and knew each and every journalist who came to the Tuanku Syed Putra Building, the headquarters of the State Government at that time.

“He remembered the name of the journalists and the media organisations they were working for,” he said, adding that Dr Lim was also the first state leader who convened a weekly meeting with the press. — Bernama

The meeting was not only meant for publicity, but for Dr Lim to gather feedback from the media, he said, adding that “it is more a meeting to exchange ideas and more often than not, the journalists would return to their respective offices with an interesting news item.”

Syed Imran said, however, the journalists who regularly attended the meeting were either retired or had died including Nazar Abdul, Ghani Latiff, Yusof Bakar, Khamis Ahmad, K Ratnam, Gunn Chit Thuan, Nasaruddin and AR Kamaluddin. — Bernama