MCA vice-president Datuk Tan Teik Cheng today insisted that he was merely asking Lim Guan Eng to clarify if the former finance minister had told SJKC Kuek Ho Yao to change its name in order to receive a RM4 million government allocation when Pakatan Harapan (PH) held Putrajaya.
Tan said Lim’s defamation suit threat earlier this morning was tantamount to intimidation tactics to silence criticism amid scrutiny of public funding.
“The general public has the right to know what happened during the incident. Guan Eng’s salary was paid for by taxpayers when he was finance minister.
“The general public also contributes to the government’s funding in Chinese primary schools,” Tan said in a statement this afternoon.
He pointed out that the vernacular school in Johor is of concern to those who value Chinese education, not only because it is newly built but also due to its cultural significance being named after a philanthropist.
Tan said he first questioned Lim about the school on February 28 after nominations were over for the ongoing Johor state election.
He said Lim only replied him eight days later, with a lawsuit threat.
“Why is Guan Eng so adamant about preventing others from asking questions?” he asked.
“If he truly cares about Chinese education, he should simply respond to my questions. There is no reason to avoid,” he added.
Lim issued a statement earlier today saying he had instructed his lawyers to file a defamation suit against Tan and MCA-linked newspaper The Star for false allegations in connection with the UMLand Seri Austin school, named after prominent Johorean philanthropist Tan Sri Kuek Ho Yao who was cousin to Malaysian magnate Robert Kuok.
Kuek died aged 96 in 2012. The school’s groundbreaking ceremony in 2018 was launched by then MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, who was the party’s deputy president at that time.
In his statement, Lim denied imposing any condition for SJKC Kuek Ho Yao to receive a RM4 million federal government allocation when PH was in control of the country’s finances.
The DAP and MCA are political rivals taking part in the ongoing Johor state election. Early voting took place yesterday. Polling day is on March 12. – MMO