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What is the '1Malaysia-Penang Welfare Club'?

There’s a ‘charity’ club in Penang called the 1Malaysia-Penang Welfare Club as reported by Malaysiakini. It seems to do two things - it takes donations and it gives out donations - both in huge amounts. It seems to take donations from a particular billionaire and then “distributes” it to hundreds of NGOs in Penang. It’s not clear who else it takes donations from. The club had been set up not too long ago so it appears that its activities has been timed for the general election.

Currently, although there has been a several reports about the club in the newspapers and online news portals, I don't think that there's adequate reporting of the people in charge of the club. It has been reported that the club president is Geh Choh Hun.

Who is Geh Choh Hun? Research shows that he was appointed chairperson of UBG Bhd in 2010, at the age of 32. He sits on the Board of Loh & Loh and Putrajaya Perdana representing UBG's interest in those companies. This is stated in the website of UBG.

Interestingly, Geh Choh Hun is also the MCA Club Australia (MCACA) liaison officer as reported in The Star of June 25, 2005. In a photo gallery of MCACA, he is identified as the ‘adviser’.

Coincidentally, one of the directors of UBG is a “Low Taek Howe”. It is not clear whether he has any relation to a certain “Low Taek Jho”.

The major shareholders of UBG are Javace Sdn Bhd and PetroSaudi International Ltd., Seychelles. There was a story on PetroSaudi in a recent edition of KiniBiz.

People need to pay attention to these things. There must come a time when Penangites, and Malaysians as a whole, put a stop to this "let's eat all we can and vote for change" and  "let's take the money and vote for change" approach. We need to pay attention to the people paying for the food, know who they are, ask why we're eating all-we-can or eating at all, and what message this is going to send to the rest of Malaysia and the world.

If we are doubtful about the people paying for the food, it's time for us to send a clear, defiant, unambiguous and loud message by refusing to turn up to eat the food or collect the money. This is a matter of principle. It's not about food. It's also about the message.

If thousands of people sit down merrily eating the food every night amidst the blue BN flags throughout Penang, be prepared that this image will be reproduced in all the newspapers, TV, radio, mainstream internet news media and BN bloggers' sites highlighting the "massive support" for BN and sending this message out into the remotest corners of our country. It produces a confusing, and de-motivating, message. It must be avoided.

Let us exercise our power to say "No" to bribery. Let us see our ordinary people's power grow immensely just by refusing to turn up for free food, and money, ahead of an election. That is real power.