GEORGE TOWN, June 14 ― The three Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen appointed to the Penang Transport Council (PTC) refused today to attend their installation ceremony, claiming they were not given sufficient details on the body’s roles and functions.
In a joint statement, Penang Opposition Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid and two other Umno representatives Datuk Shah Headan Ayob Hussain Shah and Nordin Ahmad said they only received an invitation to the ceremony and no appointment letters.
“The letter was not an appointment letter and it did not have information on the PTC such as its terms of reference, its functions and roles and its full scope,” they said.
The state lawmakers added that such information was crucial to determine the extent of PTC’s powers, and whether it would be allowed to monitor all stages of planning and implementation for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
“This also includes whether the PTC will make the effort to find other funding alternatives for PTMP that is feasible and sustainable including funding by the federal government,” they said.
They also claimed the appointment of more members in the PTC was done in a rush “as if the council is merely a rubber stamp”.
“This is why all three of us will not attend the appointment ceremony until we get full information from the state government,” they said.
During today’s ceremony at the Penang Caring Society Complex, 51 representatives, excluding the three absent BN lawmakers, were appointed as committee members of the PTC.
It is learnt that Nordin had officially rejected the appointment while Jahara put it on hold while awaiting more details from the state.
When contacted, Shah Headan said he needed a clearer picture from the Penang government before accepting the appointment.
“I need the state government to resolve our request as per the press release,” he said.
The Penang Transport Council was first formed in 2009 and the newly appointed committee members included representatives from non-governmental organisations such as Aliran, Penang Consumers Association, Penang Heritage Trust, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Penang branch and Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
The PTC's main role was initially to provide advice on traffic and transport management policies in Penang, and the PTMP was the result of a study started by PTC.
According to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, the PTC now with its new members, functions to monitor, scrutinise and coordinate public transport projects in Penang, particularly the PTMP.
Lim is advisor to the PTC while state executive councillors Chow Kon Yeow and Lim Hock Seng jointly chair the body.