GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has come under fire following reports that the offices of the state executive councillors in the Komtar building here would undergo a RM4.95 million renovation.
State Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong said it was not a right time to renovate the exco offices now.
Instead, Oh said, the state government should prioritised its resources on solving the people’s problems during the Covid-19 pandemic rather than buying luxury car and conducting major renovations.
“The state government had better stop this plan immediately!
“The state government has a financial deficit this year. Moreover, since the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0, the people’s lives have been hit hard.
“Those involved in the catering business, tourism, hairdressing and SMEs…their income have been drastically reduced.
“With certain business banned and life in dire straits, coupled with the extension of the MCO 2.0 until Feb 18, how will these people overcome their difficulties?” he asked the state government today.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow yesterday confirmed that the exco offices in Komtar would undergo a RM4.95 million renovation.
He had said that the plan was not new and was first mooted in 2019 following a lack of space.
At present, the average space for each exco office measures around 1,400 sq ft. Each office houses one exco member with four to five other staff.
The project was approved to renovate the offices on Levels 52 and 53, in addition to moving four offices to Level 31 to allow more space and provide a more conducive working environment at an estimated cost of RM4.95 million. The cost can be further reduced with a competitive open tender.
He had also said that the project would help stimulate the economy by helping the successful contractor during this Covid-19 pandemic.
The exco offices were first created back in 1986 and no major renovations had been carried out since.
Elaborating, Oh said the latest fiasco was another public grievance after the Chow’s new official car turmoil.
“If RM5 million was used to help the people, and each family received RM500, it could save the lives of about 10,000 poor families.
“Is the Penang government addicted to squandering the hard-earned money of the people? After spending RM500,000 in January to buy the luxury Mercedes official car, another RM5 million will be spent in February to renovate the exco offices,” he added.