Chong claims Dr M’s visit `sabotaged’

Chong addressing the press earlier in the evening, after learning from police officers that no one is allowed in through the VIP arrival gate to receive and welcome Dr Mahathir. 

By Karen Bong

BINTULU, Dec 1: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen has condemned the state government’s instruction in banning members and supporters from welcoming and receiving Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at Bintulu Airport.

“This is a sabotage done by the state government to give a negative impression of Tun M (Dr Mahathir)’s presence in the state that he is not welcomed and supported here,” he told reporters waiting at the airport lobby for Dr Mahathir’s arrival today.

Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, had earlier approached police officers guarding the VIP arrival gate to inquire as to why people were not allowed to go inside, in which he learned that the instruction came from the Resident Office (RO).

“I have negotiated with the police officers, which come under the federal government, that they are directly answerable to the federal government and not the RO. So they should not be part of the ploy of the state government and RO to cause embarrassment to our prime minister,” he said.

He added that the move was obviously to sabotage the whole visit by Dr Mahathir to Bintulu and to create an embarrassing situation that there was no one there to receive him, except a handful of community leaders.

“That is (in) very bad faith and uncalled for.”

He, thus, called on the state government to play fair and let the people decide based on their wisdom and discretion.

Dr Mahathir, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman, arrived here at 5.55pm to launch Bersatu Sarawak at the Bintulu Civic Centre tonight. — DayakDaily