N07 – SUNGAI PUYU
Creating a new world for our future
Often, one’s life cannot count unless one takes a stand. In taking a stand, one must also believe in the principles of that stand. Politics runs in the Phee family. Thus, it was no surprise that Phee Boon Poh joined DAP in 1990. He stood for elections and continued to serve as an MP for two terms.
Phee came from a family with strong connections to the Sungai Puyu constituency. He joined the party because he believed wholeheartedly in the DAP’s principles and harboured a strong desire to contribute to his home state of Penang. “You have to believe in the party’s principles if you want to join it. I did and still do,” Phee says.
A pillar of strength in the State Exco, Phee insisted to proceed with the green initiative. Not many BN politicians would dare risk the backlash of voters due to the inconveniences some people perceived the initiative to have caused. “I want to make sure there is a future for our future generations,” he says with conviction.
In the 2004 elections, Phee was the sole DAP Assemblyperson in the Penang State Assembly after winning the Sungai Puyu state seat. With no allies nor strength in numbers, he had fight State Assembly battles alone.
It was a tough time for DAP in the 2004 as long ruling leader Tun Dr. Mahathir had just left the post of Prime Minister to his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The relief of the “end of Mahathirism” led to a feel-good election campaign as the opposition was almost completely wiped out in Penang. Thankfully, Phee remained standing.
Come 2008, Phee suspected that the DAP would fare better, but he, much like everyone else, could not have imagined the eventual outcome.
His term as the sole DAP elected representative in the Penang State Assembly was a key factor which facilitated smooth transition for the incoming government in 2008. Phee’s knowledge of how the state government and its operations worked allowed the incoming Penang State Government to attain stability quickly.
Phee believes that the BN’s ‘divide-and-rule’ style of governance has to go, but cautions that BN warlords will take extreme measures to preserve their influence and would not think twice about sacrificing the welfare of the country for their personal interests. BN wants to show that they tolerate no other rule but themselves.
“Sungai Puyu is a fast developing and booming township. It can be considered the most vibrant township in Bagan,” says Phee of his constituency.
Phee says that voters may have elected a person to give him/her a try but delivery is important. Without delivery, those same voters can remove you. Now that the people of Sungai Puyu have seen and felt changes, they want to see continuity, he says.
Phee is known to be one of the biggest advocates of the environment in the Penang State Government. In his term as Penang State Exco in charge of Health, Environment and Caring Society, he managed to raise awareness of the environment from 15% to 25%. He credits the rising environmental awareness to the people, whom he feels want to change for the better.
When asked about the difference between his time in the opposition and being in government, he feels that it was tougher to be in opposition. “It was a daily battle,” says Phee.
Phee feels that now as an elected government, he and his Pakatan Rakyat team finally have the opportunity to deliver. “And deliver is what we have done and will continue to do,” remarks Phee.