TTF: Guan Eng’s decision to bar a PKR assemblyman from handling financial aid for flood victims (see news item below) is appalling. It’s just so sick that the man who feigned concern over the plight of flood victims is now playing politics to show who is boss.
You don’t hear of such politics in Barisan Nasional (BN), do you? I don’t recall ever hearing of an MCA or Gerakan rep being prevented from handing out aid to his (or her) constituents by an UMNO Menteri Besar. Yet, in Penang, you have a Chief Minister telling members of a coalition he himself represents that they can’t do stuff they were elected to do.
When Guan Eng was asked why he barred Cheah Kah Peng from handling financial aid, he attributed it to “an internal procedural change.” Tell me, was the “procedural change” ever discussed in a legislative assembly sitting?
According to the Chief Minister, the changes were to “ensure that all flood victims can be comprehensively registered.” But is it not easier to delegate that task to persons representing affected areas? Would these persons not know their constituents better and get the job done 10 times faster?
It appears that Cheah is being treated the same way PKR’s Dr. Norlela Ariffin was. Back when the Sungai Lembu illegal factory issue first made headlines, the PKR rep was victimised by Guan Eng’s team for highlighting the plight of cancer stricken villagers. Ironically, these are villagers the Chief Minister himself admitted were negatively impacted by the factory.
Yes, in Guan Eng’s books, it wouldn’t matter if you are from Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Harapan. As long you aren’t from DAP, he will treat you badly should you ever go against his wishes or question his motives.
A PKR assemblyperson who was barred from handling financial aid for flood victims has opened fire on Penang authorities and vowed to continue helping his constituents.
Cheah Kah Peng claimed that the move was aimed at punishing his constituents.
“At this crucial moment, I am surprised to be stopped from helping the people by this impractical and unintelligent move. What sort of mindset is this?
“I don’t think any sensible, logical and sane government would stop a democratically elected representative from helping the people.
“I do not know who came up with this idea of stopping us from helping them,” the Kebun Bunga representative told reporters at his service centre.
Asked for clarification, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the decision was due to “an internal procedure change”.
Lim said he and DAP Pulau Tikus assemblyperson Yap Soo Huey would handle the task in order for the registration to be completed in 10 days.
“The internal procedural changes were necessary to ensure that all flood victims can be comprehensively registered.
“The focus is to help flood victims and internal changes are necessary towards ensuring they would benefit from our RM105 million ‘Penang Bounce Back’ programme,” Lim said.
However, Cheah said he would continue to respond to his constituents who require help in registering for the RM700 per household flood aid.
The PKR representative does not see this as defying the state authorities and argued that the decision to bar him was “invalid and unsubstantiated”.
“It was a lousy excuse, not an excuse even. They did not even give me a proper explanation,” he said.
Cheah also denied that he was playing politics with regard to the flood disaster that claimed seven lives and displaced thousands of people.
“It is not about who likes me and who doesn’t. It is about helping the victims who have suffered, whose houses were flooded and whose properties were lost.
“I cannot forsake the people of Kebun Bunga. I cannot be taken out by whoever who thinks they can take me out. The people of Kebun Bunga voted for me,” he added.
Cheah said he was surprised to learn that he had been dropped from the registration exercise when informed via an email by state secretary Farizan Darus on Nov 20.
Cheah urged reporters to seek answers from Farizan and the chief minister, saying it would be interesting to read their response.
The PKR representative was also asked if he was being penalised for questioning the state on a bill to allow the 130-year-old Penang Botanic Gardens to be corporatised.
“Interesting question,” he said. “I would be very interested to know the answer.”