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Four Penang opposition state assemblypersons are boycotting the two-day meeting with the Penang State Executive Council, saying that their constituents are being denied access to funds.
The four, Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Khalid Mehtab Md Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Teluk Bahang), said in a joint statement that they were boycotting the session following the state government's withdrawal of funds.
"This allocation amounting to RM60,000 was approved on Jan 20 for opposition assemblypersons and confirmed in a letter issued on Feb 19.
"The allocation is very important for every representative to implement infrastructure projects for public facilities.
"However, the state government took the approach of playing politics and is being unprofessional against the opposition representatives regardless of the challenges faced by the people today," they said.
The four men urged the Penang state government to stop punishing the people and not play politics at a time when the majority of people are still facing a health and economic crisis.
"We, opposition assemblymen, will continue our service and strive to obtain allocations from the PN (Perikatan Nasional) government which is more caring and does not play favourites in implementing all programmes and activities related to the people," said the four.
Afif and Zulkifli were originally PKR members while Khalid and Zolkifly were from Bersatu.
All four were elected as members of the Pakatan Harapan coalition but defected to support the PN government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. While Afif has since joined Bersatu, Zulkifli initially crossed over as a PN-friendly independent.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy
In an immediate riposte to the boycott, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy said it was not true that all opposition representatives were denied their funds. Instead, their respective constituencies were funded through the “Adun angkat” scheme announced by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow on May 27 last year.
Ramasamy said the state Harapan council decided to immediately withdraw the allocations and revoke the privileges of the defecting assemblypersons.
"Their constituency allocation will be channelled through the 'replacement assemblymen' or 'Adun angkat', namely Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik (Teluk Bahang), Deputy Chief Minister l Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman (Bertam), and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (Seberang Jaya)," said Chow at the time.
It is understood that PKR's Bukit Tambun rep Goh Choon Aik was later appointed as “Adun angkat” when Zulkifli left PKR.
Ramasamy also told Malaysiakini that three members of Umno and PAS were not denied their funds.