GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is upset with the state education department for preventing him from visiting a Chinese school in Bukit Mertajam.

He said the department gave him the run-around, saying his visit must first be approved by Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid.

“This is a travesty of democratic principles where a CM cannot enter a Chinese school in his own state. I just wanted to see what was needed by the school.

“I have never been blocked from entering any school before. I have even been well received at private Islamic religious schools.

“But the rules do not apply to Umno leaders as they can waltz in whenever they want to.

“Unelected reps like (Permatang Pauh Umno chief) Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said can go into schools in Sungai Lembu when the CM cannot enter,” Lim lamented at a press conference in Komtar today.

He said this was clearly double standards in play.

On Aug 26, Lim went to Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam, to check on the situation following the public outcry over the illegal carbon filter factory issue.

After talking to the villagers there, he had decided to visit SJK (C) Kampung Sungai Lembu, at the insistence of the school’s administrators.

However, the administrators later told him that he would need to obtain permission from the state education department.

Lim then wrote to the department earlier this week, notifying them that he wanted to visit the school today (Sept 8).

The following day, he received a reply from Penang education director Shaari Osman that he would have to notify the education minister for approval.

Lim said the run-around was ridiculous as he was merely there on a Saturday and wanted to assess how much donation the school should receive.

“To follow their logic, I should also be barred from entering hospitals, police stations, and fire stations.

“Since you do not want to let us see the needs of the school, we want to challenge the education ministry to assure the needs of Chinese schools in Penang,” Lim said.

Today, he presented a RM10,000 “remedial funding” allocation to SJK(C) Sungai Lembu’s board of directors.