Gerakan is not satisfied with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow's clarification that the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) is merely being "monitored" and not taken over by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
"Chow's statement simply does not make sense, because since PDC is a state government-linked company, why does it suddenly need the federal government to monitor it?" its deputy president Oh Tong Keong said in a statement.
"How about Penang's autonomy as promised? Moreover, this is only the beginning; at first, it was claimed that PDC would be monitored, but gradually, the whole PDC will be taken over, and monitoring was just a prelude," Oh (photo centre) said.
"Does Chow fail to understand such a simple action despite his decades in politics? Or does he pretend not to understand?."
On Jan 17, Malaysiakini reported that the Economic Affairs Ministry headed by PKR's Azmin Ali is now overseeing 32 agencies in total, including state economic development corporations in all 13 states.
Oh asked Chow why PDC needs the Economic Affairs Ministry to supervise it, saying the move is "the first step in letting Penang lose its autonomy".
Chow replied, saying PDC will be under the jurisdiction of the Economic Affairs Ministry but it is not administered by the latter as it is only monitored by them.
Oh reminded that the PDC was established in 1969 during the era of the late Dr Lim Chong Eu as chief minister.
It has a history of 50 years and for half a century, this institution has made a lot of contributions to the economic development of Penang, Oh said.
In the past 50 years, no chief minister has allowed the PDC to be taken over or monitored by the federal government, he pointed out.
Chow will become the first chief minister to witness Penang's development being monitored by the federal government, Oh said.
"When DAP was not the federal government, it always claimed the state's authority was restricted, and that many things could not be reformed.
" It has been asking the federal government to give more autonomy to Penang, including allowing Penang to directly manage the airport.
"The DAP also claimed that when the party becomes a part of the ruling coalition, it will facilitate the devolution of power to Penang.
"But now we can see Penang continues to hand over some of its power to the federal government," Oh said.
"DAP representatives who have a conscience should stand up and defend the autonomy of Penang," said Oh.