GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will not take action against any illegal structures built before 2008 unless they posed a problem to the public and the traffic.
These include illegal buildings, places of worships as well as eateries.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said this had been the state government's practice since it assumed power back in 2008.
"We have decided that all illegal structures, including factories, will not be touched until we find an amicable solution.
"We did not set a timeframe to reach the amicable solution to ensure a win win situation for all," he said when met at the Penang courthouse here today to lend his support to state Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.
Phee was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday to facilitate investigation into the illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu.
Sources told the New Straits Times that said Phee was believed to have written several letters to postpone enforcement actions against the factory.
Elaborating, Lim said, the Penang government had taken numerous mitigation measures to minimise the negative effects, if any.
Lim said actions would be taken on any illegal structures built after 2008. He however said it depended on the situation.
"On the Sungai Lembu case, we have not obtained the full details.
"The factory was built on private land and not state government's land. Of course, it is approved by Phee as a member of the state executive council member as this was built before 2008,” he said.
Lim said the Penang government does not believe that Phee had received anything in return (for the letters) and that he had no personal interest in the illegal carbon filter factory.
"Everyone knows that Phee is a rich man even before he joins the state administration. It was his family business
"He is just carrying out his duties as the state executive council member. We believe and trust in him," he added.
Lim said as what was said yesterday, if there was any proof or evidence on wrongdoing by his people, he would support the MACC's move.
"We will support. We will not protect them. But here, we don't know in what sense has Phee committed an act of corruption. Everyone knows Phee. There is no way he has taken money. He is only implementing state government policy as I mentioned.
"We want to know what is the fact against Phee. To suddenly arrest him and put his in this type of situation, I think we feel strongly about it," he stressed.
Asked how long the Sungai Lembu factory had been operating, he said more than 10 years. On whether there were complaints about it, he added, there were.
"There were these allegations, and as the state executive council member, he (Phee) has been dealing with it.”