PENANG, 29 June 2009: The Penang government has expelled Johari Kassim as a member of the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) for having led eight Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) councillors in boycotting the swearing-in of the new council president on 4 June.
Johari’s expulsion took effect 26 June in keeping with a decision of the state executive council that day to revoke his appointment, State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairperson Chow Kon Yeow said today.
State PKR Liaison Committee chairperson Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim, when contacted, said the party felt that Johari should not have been expelled, and was writing to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to reconsider the decision.
Chow said the expulsion was in accordance with Section 10(4) of the Local Government Act 1976, which, among other things, stated that a council seat shall become vacant if the appointment was revoked by the state authorities.
“This is a decision of the state executive council, and there were several PKR representatives at that meeting, including Deputy Chief Minister 1 Mansor Othman, who is also Penang PKR Liaison Committee deputy [chairperson],” he told Bernama at his office.
Mansor Othman (File pic)He said the letter revoking the appointment of Johari would be issued today by the state secretary.
On 4 June, a group of PKR members of the MPSP boycotted the swearing-in of civil servant Mokhtar Mohd Jait as the MPSP president.
Johari reportedly said then that eight of the nine members of the council from the party did not enter the Dewan Kenanga at the MPSP building where the swearing-in of Mokhtar took place because they were unhappy with the decision of Lim for not having discussed the appointment with the PKR.
Chow said council members were not prohibited from expressing their views, but Johari’s action was regarded as inappropriate.
He said the seat vacated by Johari would be filled later, and advised all council members to give priority to matters of local government.
“Mokhtar is the most appropriate candidate for the post of president,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zahrain, elaborating on the PKR stand, said the PKR central leadership met last night and instructed the party secretary-general to write to the chief minister stating its disagreement to the action against Johari.
“I believe the letter has been sent and is on its way to Lim. We urge him to reconsider the decision of the state executive council. I ask for this matter to be regarded as a political than an administrative matter,” he said. — Bernama
See also: Politicians and local councils