Penang PKR rep hits out at Guan Eng

(The Star) – A PKR assemblywoman is at loggerheads again with Lim Guan Eng after the Chief Minister decided to withhold allocations for all assemblymen who did not show up for the Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas’ swearing-in ceremony on April 29.

Penanti assemblywoman Dr Norlela Ariffin, who had been reduced to tears on an early run-in with Lim, took to Facebook to express her frustrations after her allocation for July-September was frozen by the state government.

She justified her absence from the swearing-in by saying that she was at the PKR convention held on the same day.

“I was just obeying orders from my party to remain at the PKR Convention on April 29 in Seberang Jaya,” she said.

Dr Norlela was worried over the allocation freeze especially with the general election likely to be held during the same period.

She claimed she only got to know about the matter during the state PKR leadership meeting on May 12.

“I never saw this coming. It’s the second time I’m being punished,” Dr Norlela said.

In November 2015, Dr Norlela broke down in tears at the state assembly meeting after claiming that the state government had failed to respond to her queries. She was also among five PKR members dubbed “PKR Five” who abstained from voting in a land reclamation motion tabled by Umno at the state assembly meeting.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has denied that allocations for assemblymen who failed to attend the swearing-in ceremony would be frozen.

“There is an additional layer of vetting being imposed for the grant RM50,000 per quarter, equalling RM200,000 per year.

“Assemblymen who missed the ceremony would need to apply for the allocation from my office instead of having it disbursed directly to them.

“The allocation has not been reduced and will still be disbursed to their constituencies. They just need to give an explanation as to why they missed the ceremony,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Lim said assemblymen from DAP and Umno who did not attend the ceremony were also affected.

“The others are also affected but why is she (Dr Norlela) complaining?

“You must show respect to the Yang di-Pertua Negri, especially if you’re an assemblyman. Even Kak Wan (PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) came,” he added.

An Umno leader said two representatives from the party as well as several PKR representatives did not attend the ceremony.

It is learnt that three DAP assemblymen – state Exco member Chow Kon Yeow, Jawi assemblyman Soon Lip Chee and Berapit assemblywoman Lydia Ong – were also absent.

Abdul Rahman was reappointed as the Penang Yang di-Pertua Negri for the seventh term at Istana Negara.

He was first appointed as the Governor in 2001 and reappointed again in 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.