IPOH, Aug 27 — Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said he will temporarily handle the portfolio of state executive committee member Paul Yong pending the disposal of the latter’s rape trial.
Ahmad Faizal said he should have no issue taking on extra responsibilities in addition to being chairman for the Perak Housing and Property Board.
“I don’t think there will be a problem in carrying out the duty. I will take over his other portfolios as well,” he told reporters after attending the “Love my palm oil campaign” at the State Secretariat Building, here.
Last Friday, Yong, who holds the housing, local government, public transport and non-Islamic and new village affairs portfolio, claimed trial in the Sessions Court here to raping his Indonesian maid at his house last month.
He initially declined to take a leave of absence for the duration of his trial despite the mentri besar’s call for him to do so, but eventually relented.
Yong maintains his innocence and alleges the charge to be part of an “ugly political conspiracy” against him.
Today, Ahmad Faizal said that Yong’s leave was indefinite but would not disrupt the state administration.
“We respect Yong’s decision to take leave from his exco duties. However, he will still continue his duties as the Tronoh assemblyman,” he said.
“This is the right decision as he can give full focus on his trial. We don’t fix a timeline here. Let him focus on his trial.”
When asked if there will now be a swearing-in ceremony for the remaining exco, Ahmad Faizal said the matter was not brought up during his recent meeting with the Sultan Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.
Previously, the swearing-in ceremony scheduled on July 11 was postponed after allegations against Yong first emerged.
Each year, the state exco line-up is sworn in anew before the Perak sultan.