BUKIT MERTAJAM, 4 June 2009: Seberang Perai municipal councillors from PKR snubbed the swearing-in ceremony of new president Mokhtar Mohd Jait today, claiming that the party was not consulted on the appointment.
PKR whip and councillor Johari Kassim said eight of nine councillors from the party stayed away from the ceremony as they were unhappy over Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s decision.
Johari said Lim had gone against his word by not consulting PKR and PAS on the appointment and claimed that the post should have been allocated to PKR.
Lim“The announcement made by Deputy Chief Minister 1 Mansor Othman yesterday was a ploy by Lim to avoid the repercussion.
“The appointment was decided one month ago. As soon as Mansor was appointed as DCM1, he was tasked with making the announcement. It was a trap for Mansor and PKR,” said Johari when contacted today.
Mokhtar is the former Seberang Perai Utara district officer. The Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) has 24 councillors, of which 10 are from the DAP, nine from PKR, two from PAS and three representing non-governmental organisations.
Only 14 councillors attended the swearing-in ceremony. Farid Arshad was the lone councillor from PKR who was present.
Johari, who is also Penang PKR liaison committee member, said Mansor had been proposed as MPSP president until Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin resigned as DCM1 and Penanti assemblyperson. This resulted in a by-election in Penanti where Mansor contested and won and was appointed DCM1.
Lim ticks off PKR councillors
Speaking at a news conference after attending the swearing-in ceremony, Lim ticked off the PKR councillors, saying that they should not act like state executive councillors.
“This is the state executive council’s decision. How come a problem cropped up? I have asked Mansor to solve the problem internally because the state government supported Mokhtar’s appointment. Let Mansor resolve the matter,” said Lim.
Mansor, who was present at the news conference, said he would consult Penang PKR liaison committee chairperson Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim on the matter.
“I had noticed vacant seats [in the hall] and several PKR councillors were conspicuously not present. I will ask [the] state PKR chair[person] to investigate the matter,” he said.
Jeff Ooi (Pic by Joi Ito, source: Wiki
commons) Zahrain could not be reached for comment.
Member of Parliament for Jelutong, Jeff Ooi, in a statement, called on the PKR councillors to resign as Mokhtar’s appointment was the state government’s prerogative.
Penang Local Government Committee chairperson Chow Kon Yeow admitted that the state government had deliberated on the appointment of a politician as MPSP president.
Mokhtar was eventually appointed to the post by the state government as the leaders could not reach a consensus, Chow told reporters. — Bernama