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Azhar rejects allowance for Penang opposition leader

PENANG, 14 Nov 2008: Penang oppposition leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim has rejected the RM1,000 monthly allowance allocated by the Pakatan Rakyat state government for the position.

Azhar said he would confirm his rejection of the allowance at the State Legislative Assembly sitting on 17 Nov.

The provision for the allowance is contained in the Administrative and State Legislative Assembly Members Enactment (Emolument) (Amendment) 2008 which was unanimously passed by the assembly yesterday.

Azhar, who is also the state Umno liaison secretary, however, thanked the state government, especially Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, for the initiative.

“I appreciate the offer but I am rejecting the allowance and giving it back to the state government,” he told reporters after the state 2009 Budget was tabled at today’s assembly sitting.

He said the rejection was made based on several factors, including the unfavourable current economic situation, hence it was more appropriate for the money to be used for the people.

Azhar said he also did not want to feel obligated to the state government and stifled from voicing out his opinions if he were to accept the allowance.

“In this matter, let me feel indebted to the people and not to the state government which will stifle my freedom to speak out.        

“Thirdly, I do not want to be made a point of reference by other state governments in considering giving an allowance to their opposition leaders,” he said.

Asked for other factors for the rejection, Azhar said: “It is a personal decision and has nothing to do with the party or members.

“The allowance is for my personal use and the amount is not an issue.” — Bernama


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