The end of 2016 is another act of how politics in Penang can be nasty and shows how important it is for us to change our political mindset and how politics should be conducted in our lives.
Many youth of today follows the trend of café-hopping and has frequently patronized different cafes in Penang, including the ‘hottest’ one; Kaffa.
According to the news, in the end of December 2016, the Kaffa’s owner, Patrick Ooi has criticized the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for oppressing media freedom. Three days after his statement was published, the Penang City Council and Seberang Prai Municipal Council issued summons to his café for violating various offences.
The City Council has even demolished the Kaffa’s washroom at its outlet at the Penang International Airport; claiming it as illegal construction.
We may agree that businesses and people who have offended the law or regulations should be taken action against. We have to agree that authorities need to ensure laws and regulations are adhered to.
On whether Kaffa has disregarded the local regulations or not is one matter. If there is an act of offence, summons and actions indeed has to be taken.
In this case, the authority has made a statement that one of the outlets at China Street was summoned for not having an operating license and for not taking steps to prevent pests from breeding.
Living in Penang, we all know and it is very obvious that how huge is the problem of businesses operating without licenses, hygiene issues and illegal extensions.
Of so many offenders, why was Kaffa’s premises selected to be ‘raided’; and it was done ‘coincidentally’ after the owner criticized Lim Guan Eng?
And the raid has to be done three times in four days. It seems like an intensive operation done towards that specific café.
Kaffa is known to have operated their businesses for quite some time in Penang. Why it was suddenly raided and summoned after all these years? It was as if the authorities just got to know about it.
The coincidence of Patrick Ooi’s criticism towards DAP and the action taken towards Kaffa has led many of us to believe that there is an element of revenge.
It just made many hesitated towards DAP’s stance towards freedom of speech. Despite shouting their slogans of fighting for speech freedom, many have become victims for criticizing Lim and his henchmen. Are they really sincere in advocating freedom of speech or it is just merely a lip service?
It is not only this case, but Teng Chang Yeow, Jason Loo and Huan Cheng Guan was brought to the court for several issues that they have raised in the press.
Remember, it was also raised that Lim and his henchmen queried some of the press when certain of their news were not published or the coverage is too little to gain prominence. Whether certain news is considered worthy is not dictated by the government or political party. The editors and reporters have the prerogative to decide on the value of it.
The act of revenge is a never-ending cycle. A person may be successful at revenging but it will cause his or her opponent to take the same action again. If someone, particularly leaders of the state keeps this cycle going, it will only affirms the mindset of the people that revenge is normal act. Are we here to encourage such an act?
We do not want our politics to be focuses on revenges; fighting with each other and pulling each other down. It is the same in our lives. Revenge is an act of killing each other, and it never ends.
As Confucius has said, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 13th January 2017.