KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13, 2014: 

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary, Wong Hon Wai, today said that the allegations thrown at his boss by Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Teng Chang Yeow and Penang Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong were defamatory. 

This was in relation to the controversial Malaysia Nude Sports Games held at the Penang National Park on May 31, 2014. 

Both Teng and Oh accused Lim of evading responsibility over the park’s management. Prior to this, Lim had said that the state and local authorities had no power over the area. 

In his statement today, Wong tried to reinforce the issue of who had jurisdiction over the national park. 

He stated that National Parks Act 1980 was a legislation passed by Parliament that empowers the federal minister to manage national parks all over Malaysia through a management committee that also includes a state representative. 

Wong said Section 11 of the Act stated that the minister, after discussions with the state, was the one who could make rules to control conduct, obligations and responsibilities of visitors to national parks. 

He said in line with the spirit of the Federal Constitution, the federal minister should only “consult” with the state government on the management of the national parks. 

Wong said the same occurred in other state responsibilities such as the Penang Hill Corporation, Penang Museum Board, Penang Development Corporation, in which the federal government is represented in the board and committees. 

“In more than 30 years, the minister had not exercised his power under Section 11 in restricting the behaviour of visitors to the National Park or put any clause on punishment. 

“Hence, when the police investigated the nude camp case, they used provisions under the Penal Code and did not investigate under the National Parks Act,” Wong added. 

A few days ago, Teng reportedly argued that the National Parks Act gave the state government a big say over the running and control of the park. 

Citing the National Park Act, he said Sections 5 and 7 respectively stated that the National Park Advisory Council included the State Secretary and three representatives nominated by the state, and that the State Secretary would be the chairman of the National Park Committee. 

Wong defended Lim and said that these were “dirty tactics” used by Penang BN leaders who did not dare seek accountability and responsibility from the federal ministry and instead chose to attack the state government.