Twitter has been blowing up recently by the response of our newly appointed finance minister, Lim Guan Eng when he was questioned about his ethnicity, being a Chinese to hold the Finance Minister portfolio after so long. He said:
” I don’t see myself as Chinese. I am a Malaysian. I will ensure the interests of all Malaysians are protected.”
Lim Guan Eng: I’m sorry I don’t consider myself as a Chinese, I’m a Malaysian 👏👏
And the cheers yeahh🇲🇾 pic.twitter.com/MmhpkMaKof
— Aina Azerin (@AinaAzerin) May 13, 2018
Malaysians were so amused by his comeback and are pleased that he was chosen by our prime minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir.
“I’m not Chinese, I’m Malaysian” – Lim Guan Eng. I give this a standing ovation. So proud!
— Jin Lim (@Jinnyboy) May 12, 2018
However, for those of you who have never heard of Lim Guan Eng, here are 5 facts to get to know him a little better.
1. He was thrown into jail twice by our current Prime Minister.
The first time he entered jail (which was also when he met Mat Sabu) was when they were detained under the Internal Security Act in Operation Lalang, 1987 together with 106 other politicians, social activists and educationist during a political repression which was aimed to prevent social riots according to Tun Mahathir.
Then again in 1998, he was imprisoned under Sedition Act and The Printing Presses and Publications Act for causing ‘dissatisfaction with the administration of justice in Malaysia’ and for printing false news about the then Melaka Chief Minister, Rahim Tamby Chik who allegedly raped an underaged girl. However, the allegation was retracted by Noryati Binti Mohamad Yusop and thus Guan Eng was found guilty. He had to face punishment of up to 18 months imprisonment but due to his good behaviour, he was released after 12 months.
The past is the past, it’s a good thing that they were able to work out their differences to make a change for Malaysia.
Guan Eng responded to this incident by saying:
“If I fail and have to go to jail, I have no regrets. I have no regrets of going down fighting for the principles of truth and justice and pursuit of human rights, especially women’s rights. There can be no women’s rights if female rape victims are considered equally responsible, and even detained, whilst the accused remain free.”
2. His BFF is Mat Sabu who is now our Defence Minister.
Lim Guan Eng and Mat Sabu became friends in Kamunting Dentention Centre where they were both in prison under Operasi Lalang. They grew close because they would share conversations and talk everyday. Check out this video of them reminiscing their prison days:
Why Mat Sabu and Lim Guan Eng’s Friendship Would Make You Cry pic.twitter.com/oMcpESEOiG
— Fake Vice Malaysia (@ViceMalaysia) May 12, 2018
Isn’t it great that these two are now serving together in the same Cabinet? What a coincidence.
3. Penangites love him.
Coming from Penang, it is a proud moment for me that our former Chief Minister has been designated for this role. During his years of governing Penang, he brought so much economic development to the country and also managed the state’s debt till it was lowered to RM0 (that’s insane!). He won the hearts of the Penangites and served two terms as Penang’s Chief Minister.
Hutang Negeri based Laporan Audit Negara:
Pahang – RM1.09bil
Kedah – RM1.03bil
Terengganu – RM502mil
Melaka – RM405mil
Kelantan – RM392mil
Johor – RM335mil
N. Sembilan – RM197mil
Perlis – RM171mil
Sarawak – RM37mil
Sabah – RM31mil
Perak – RM24mil
Selangor – RM15mil
Penang – RM0
— Orang Kampong (@emyrul_i) May 13, 2018
4. He has an excellent background in Accountancy and Economics.
Guan Eng graduated from Monash University in Australia with a Bachelor’s in economics and carried on to study accounting where he became a qualified professional accountant by 1983.
Apart from that, he use to work as a banker and even managed to get a post as a Senior Executive in a bank.
No wonder he successfully directed Penang into becoming the second richest state in Malaysia, and also a popular tourist destination and a profit-turning industrial port.
5. He was a brilliant Chief Minister.
During his leadership in Penang, he implemented the concept of Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT) in governance. The Penang state government also initiated to change Penang into a cleaner, greener and safer state under his administration.
He played a big role in boosting Penang’s GDP and stimulating it’s continuous economic growth and development which made Penang account for 25% of total investments in Malaysia.
Moreover, Guan Eng had also launched a few social benefit schemes in Penang such as giving financial aid to the poor, cash handouts to the elderly as an anti-corruption dividend, upgrading of public housing, and free bus services for workers who travel from Seberang Perai to the city.