Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today apologised to the people of the state after admitting that the purchase of his new official Mercedes S560e is not appropriate at a time when the country is facing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Chow, who is also the state assemblyman for Padang Kota, said he takes full responsibility for the purchase of the 2019 model car, worth about RM458,000, and would be more careful in making decisions involving purchases, especially when the people are facing difficult times like they are now.
“The car for the Chief Minister was bought according to the proper administrative process, and I take note of the views of all parties on the issue, I also admit it is a lesson to me and the state government, as the purchase has offended the people and caused them to worry.
“However, as the Chief Minister, if anyone is offended and feels it is not timely, even if there is a need, it can be postponed due to the pandemic, I bear the ultimate responsibility on this issue,” he told reporters after attending a One Hope Charity donation event at the Padang Kota Service Centre here, today.
On Thursday, the Penang State Secretary’s Office said the Chief Minister had been given a new official car, a Mercedes S560e, to replace the previous Mercedes S300L bought in 2013.
The purchase of the new official car was criticised by many parties, including Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, who asked the state government not to spend extravagantly, especially on a new official car for the Chief Minister.
Responding to media questions regarding the concerns of some quarters that the state government used public funds to a buy a car worth hundreds of thousands of ringgit, Chow said the Penang government is ready should the Movement Control Order (MCO) be implemented again.
“It is far-fetched (using the people’s money to buy a new official car). Before this issue was triggered, I have directed excos and state financial officers to be ready to provide aid packages if the government announces re-enforcing the MCO,” he said.