The Penang UMNO Liaison Committee today urged the DAP-led state government to be firmer and bolder in acting against illegal factories that pose a threat to public health and safety.

Its chairman, Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman, said the state government should show that it adhered to its Competency, Accountability and Transparency slogan that it so often talked about.

"The Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng) reportedly says that the state government cannot act against illegal factories on private land and that it is the policy not to act against all buildings, houses of worship or hawkers operating illegally and having existed prior to 2008 unless they are a hindrance to the public and traffic flow, until a solution is found.

"I wish to ask when this policy was approved by the State Executive Council, and if the Chief Minister can release an extract of the minutes indicating the approval," he said in a statement.

Zainal Abidin was commenting on the issue of an illegal factory processing wood pulp for the production of carbon filters in Kampung Sungai Lembu, Penanti, that was being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Zainal Abidin said he wished to remind the Chief Minister that there was a difference between illegal factories and illegal structures.

"Illegal factories are unlicensed and without permits and building approvals and can be ordered to cease operation without having to demolish the factory buildings while the authorities arrive at a proper solution," he said.

Commenting on the same issue, Penang PAS Liaison Committee secretary Iszuree Ibrahim said the state government policy of deferring enforcement against various illegal premises erected and used prior to March 8, 2008, was seen as a ploy to further DAP interests.