There is a saying “loose lips sink ships”. Perhaps Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should better start being acquainted with the phrase.
The idiom definition for the phrase says to have loose lips means to have a big mouth, susceptible to talking about everything and everyone.
Sinking ships refers to anything from small acquaintances to long and hearty relationships (with friends or a significant other). So when one says loose lips sink ships, one is basically saying if you can’t shut up, you are going to end hurting people, usually psychologically or emotionally.
And that was exactly what has happened when Guan Eng threatened to stop allocations for schools which subscribe to Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian.
This is a serious remark, coming from the head of the state, and it is no joke or laughing matter to utter those words and then claim either you have been misquoted or that it was made in jest.
Guan Eng must remind himself that he is no longer the Opposition head when he makes remarks or comments on issues as he is now the Chief Minister.
After the March 2008 general election, he is still caught in a “transitional” problem of adjusting himself to be the administrator of a state and no longer a mere leader of a political party.
The DAP secretary-general was quoted by Sin Chew Daily as saying that schools in Penang should not continue subscribing the two Malay dailies, otherwise the state government would stop allocating funds to them.
He made the remark when speaking to 84 representatives from various schools.
He was quoted as saying “Schools must not subscribe to Utusan Malaysia. If they insist on doing so, there will be no allocation for you all next year.”
“I am serious. Do not subscribe to Utusan and Berita Harian,” he was quoted as saying.
It is very obvious that Guan Eng’s remarks tantamount to threatening the schools concerned.
The threats are uncalled for. It smacks of racism and high handedness. It is unbecoming as a Chief Minister to hurl threats to schools who subscribes to the two newspapers of their choice.
Just because he is the Chief Minister, he can’t go around imposing his likes and dislikes onto others.
Perhaps he should sponsor copies of other Malays newspapers he deemed fit rather than to threaten schools into submitting to his request.
If he has any issues with the two newspapers, he should fight his own battle, and not get schools involved. This is getting a bit way too far.
He should leave politics within the perimeters of the political front and not politicize issues and bringing it to the doorsteps of the education arena.
Politics should be set aside for the larger interest of education and it should not be allowed to fester within the educational premises.
Guan Eng’s threats run contrary to the freedom of speech as advocated by the Opposition.
In disbursing government allocation, Guan Eng should be sincere about it and not use it to force the political ideologies on schools.
It is worse still and unacceptable when he threatens schools into submitting to his wishes and fancies.
Disbursing of funds should be carried out in all sincerity without imposing conditions or using strong arm tactics.
Guan Eng, it is no joke or laughing matter when you open your mouth and say that you would stop allocation to schools.
Buck up and grow up.