Azmin orders ‘PKR Five’ to toe the line


(The Star) – The five PKR backbenchers, who had previously abstained from supporting the Penang government’s land reclamation project, will have to stand behind the state this time.

PKR deputy president Azmin Ali (pic) affirmed this yesterday, saying that it was important for backbenchers to play a role in supporting the state government’s policies.

“But certainly they are allowed to raise their concerns and if their concerns are legitimate, the best forum for them to share and discuss them is the dewan (state assembly),” he said after giving out vouchers to aid small businesses under Selangor’s Hijrah programme.

Azmin said that after sharing their concerns and discussing the matter at the state assembly, the five must support the state’s policy.

The five Penang PKR backbenchers Dr Norlela Ariffin (Penanti), Ong Chin Wen (Bukit Tengah), Cheah Kah Peng (Kebun Bunga), Dr T. Jayabalan (Batu Uban) and Lee Khai Loon (Machang Bubuk) had abstained from voting in the motion supporting the state government’s land reclamation project at the last state assembly sitting in November.

Barisan Nasional’s Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhammad Farid Saad is expected to table a motion against the project in the upcoming state assembly sitting and there is speculation that the five may support it.

Azmin also said that the five must confine their debates and discussions on the motion to within the legislative assembly and not use other means to undermine the state government.

“They can’t do that and most certainly we will not allow them to do that but as Aduns (assemblymen) they must represent the conscience of the majority of the rakyat in Penang,” said Azmin.

On another matter, Azmin said Pakatan Rakyat should learn its lesson from the recent Sarawak election in regards to the upcoming by-election for the Sungai Besar parliamentary seat.

“I think this is the best time for us to recover from our defeat in Sarawak. Let’s all sit down and discuss,” said Azmin when asked if he reckoned both PAS and Parti Amanah Negara would pit candidates making it a three cornered fight.

The seat fell vacant after incumbent Datuk Noriah Kasnon was killed in a helicopter crash in Sarawak on May 5.