GEORGE TOWN, Nov 24 — The Penang government’s removal of the Kebun Bunga assemblyman from its list of officials allowed to distribute flood relief cash aid has affected the camaraderie within the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance, the state PKR asserted today.
In a statement openly criticising the state helmed by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Penang PKR chairman Datuk Mansor Othman said the withdrawal of Cheah Kah Peng from the list showed the marginalisation of PKR’s role in the pact.
“We want to stress that this move has more or less strained the camaraderie in Pakatan Harapan,” he said in the statement, using the Malay word “semangat kesetiakawan”.
The Nibong Tebal MP said Penang PKR leaders and members believed excluding Cheah from the list of PH assemblymen was unjustified.
“It is a flagrant disrespect against the democratic decision made by the Kebun Bunga constituents in the previous elections,” Mansor added.
The former Penang deputy chief minister said Cheah was the elected representative for Kebun Bunga and should not be “restricted” from carrying out his duty to constituents.
“Handing over his responsibilities to the Pulau Tikus assemblyman is seen as invalidating PKR’s role in the state government,” Mansor said.
He added that the state PKR was not consulted prior to the exemption decision.
“The excuse that this ban was due to internal procedures is unacceptable and very naive,” he said, adding that it is important for the parties to work closely together and coordinate their strategies to help the electorate.
Lim refused comment when reporters asked him for his response to Mansor’s statement, saying only to refer to his remarks on the issue yesterday.
The DAP Air Putih assemblyman told reporters yesterday when questioned that Cheah’s exemption was “an internal procedural change” without elaborating.
Lim only said he and Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey will personally hand out the RM700 one-off payment to Kebun Bunga constituents.
Cheah was previously reported by news portal Malaysiakini to have received a letter from the state secretary dated November 20 informing him that he is exempted from handing out the RM700 aid.
The letter purportedly stated that Cheah will no longer be responsible for the applications by his constituents for the RM700 payment.
The RM700 one-off payment is the state’s flood relief for those affected by the floods on November 5.