Pantai Jerejak rep’s absence sparks uproar during Penang state assembly sitting

A woman watches a live broadcast of the third term of the 14th Penang State Legislative Assembly session on her phone in George Town October 12, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A woman watches a live broadcast of the third term of the 14th Penang State Legislative Assembly session on her phone in George Town October 12, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 16 — A commotion broke out for almost 10 minutes during the Penang state assembly sitting today following a verbal exchange among a few members of the house over the absence of Pantai Jerejak assemblyman.

This happened when Zulkifli Ibrahim (Bersatu-Sungai Acheh) stood up and asked state assembly Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang on the absence of Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail in the house, before the sitting proceeded with winding-up session.

Zulkifli’s question prompted Dr Afif Bahardin (Bersatu-Seberang Jaya) to stand and read out the Standing Order on the requirement for members of the house to inform the secretary if they could not attend the sitting.

“I notice that the Pantai Jerejak’s seat is empty since the first day of the sitting. Previously, there was a plan to table a motion on assemblymen vacating seats, now we have the seat but no assemblyman. What is happening? This is being disrespectful to the house,” he said.

Afif also described the Pantai Jerejak assemblyman as receiving gaji buta (getting paid for not doing any work) by not attending the state assembly sitting.

This then led to an exchange of words among several Pakatan Harapan assemblymen who stood up and demanded Afif to retract his words on the gaji buta.

State Local Government and Housing Committee Chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo was also heard raising his voice in the house when asking all those involved in the verbal exchange to sit as he could not give his winding-up speech due to the commotion.

At this juncture, the Speaker asked members of the house to calm down and take their seat.

Law also told the house that he was not informed on the Pantai Jerejak assemblyman’s whereabout, but said Saifuddin, who is PKR secretary-general and also Kulim-Bandar Bharu MP., may attend the sitting later. — Bernama

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