KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 ― Fresh after his controversial quarrel with constituents, a Melaka exco has been forced to deny claims his wife was using the state government's official car for her work commute.
Norhizam Hassan Baktee, who is also DAP's Pengkalan Batu assemblyman, accused those distributing photographs of the car online of seeking to tarnish his reputation as a state official and lawmaker.
Norhizam asserted that his driver only gave his wife a lift when her own car broke down.
“Actually on that date, the personal vehicle owned by my wife broke down by the roadside while she was on her way to her workplace.
“At that time, I was away to fulfill official duties under the state government,” the Melaka Agriculture, Entrepreneur Development and Agro-based Industry Committee chairman said in a statement quoted by local daily Sinar Harian's portal.
Norhizam said he had asked his driver to help his wife with repairs for the car by contacting the nearest mechanic.
“As soon as the mechanic arrived, my wife was informed that the repair works would take quite long and that the mechanic proposed that my driver send my wife to her workplace located at MITC (Melaka International Trade Centre) while the vehicle is being fixed,” he said.
Norhizam added that his driver then contacted him to inform him he was sending the exco’s wife to her workplace, and that the driver returned to his office after that.
After the explanation, Norhizam insisted this did not amount to abuse as his driver and official was only used in that emergency.
“Furthermore, my wife did not drive that vehicle but the one who drove it was someone else, that is my driver,” he said, expressing hope that his explanation could help clarify the viral allegations on social media.
In a separate news report by New Straits Times today, Melaka Opposition leader Datuk Seri Idris Haron said the incident would jeopardise the Melaka assemblyman's integrity, further stressing that state assemblyman and exco members should show integrity and be trustworthy.
“They have to behave as they are being observed by the people,” the former Melaka mentri besar was quoted saying.
Norhizam, who is also Melaka DAP deputy chairman, had on October 10 apologised for his harsh words during a quarrel with villagers over a road closure in Bukit Beruang, Melaka. The video of his rough and rude behaviour had earlier went viral.