GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia - A controversy is brewing over Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's recent official trip to Xiamen and Hainan in China with a delegation which included his wife, several state executive councillors and their spouses.
Although Lim said state law "used before 2008" allowed spouses to accompany state exco members on foreign trips once a year, the Penang MCA responded by saying that the CM had previously criticised Barisan Nasional leaders for doing so.
State MCA secretary Lau Chiek Tuan said Lim was practising double standards to justify the decision to take the spouses along.
"Previously, Lim had criticised Barisan leaders for wasting public funds by bringing their families with them on official trips. We now see Pakatan Rakyat leaders doing the same with this trip to China," Lau said on Friday.
"The Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT) principles put forward when they (Pakatan Rakyat) took over the state government is proving to be nothing more than mere political trickery."
Lim said the state government spent RM93,910 for the official trip to Xiamen to take part in the twin city Xiamen-Penang 20th anniversary celebration and the 17th Inter-Islands Tourism Policy (ITOP) forum in Hainan from Nov 4 to 9.
"Under state law that was used before 2008, spouses of state executive council members are allowed to accompany them on an out-of-state trip once a year. As for the wife of the Chief Minister, she can accompany him at all times if she chooses to do so," he said on Friday.
Lim confirmed that he was accompanied by his wife Betty Chew and state exco members Chow Kon Yeow, Chong Eng and Phee Boon Poh and their spouses.
Also in the delegation were Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey, Bagan Dalam assemblyman A. Tanasekharan and State Assistant Secretary (Local Government division) Oon Lai Kuan.
Lau said DAP MPs had hounded the Government non-stop over the Prime Minister's utility bills for the Prime Minister's official residence Seri Perdana in Putrajaya and the costs of his overseas trips.
"When Lim himself does it, they are silent. I urge Lim and his DAP comrades not to point fingers at others if they themselves are not so clean," he added.