THE debris brought about by the Nov 5 floods in Penang may have been cleared but it has brought about new debris within the Pakatan Harapan leadership in Penang.
All because of the flood aid which the Penang state government has vowed not to politicise.
First it started with state assemblymen from Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) claiming that the DAP-led Penang state government had not allowed them to help flood victims by verifying their application forms for the state government’s RM700 one-off payment.
This, after an announcement made by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on Tuesday that the RM700 flood aid registration for eligible victims could be done online.
It appeared as though Lim only allowed state representatives from his party, the DAP to be in charge of verifying forms, not even state assemblymen from PKR, even though the DAP and PKR are part of the Pakatan Harapan alliance along with Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi).
PKR’s Kebun Bunga state assemblyman Cheah Kah Peng had reportedly described Lim’s
move as a way to punish the constituents of Kebun Bunga.
Questioning Lim’s mindset and motive, the PKR state assemblyman had yesterday openly criticised the DAP secretary-general’s move in getting only state representatives from DAP to be in charge of flood aid.
“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 state assemblyman had told reporters yesterday.
Meanwhile, Lim defended his move by reasoning that the decision was due to “an internal procedure change”.
Lim told online portal Malaysiakini that he and DAP Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey would be in charge of the registration, saying that the internal procedural changes were necessary to ensure that all flood victims could be comprehensively registered.
Lim had further explained his move by reportedly saying that the focus and internal changes were made to ensure the victims would benefit from the state’s RM105 million funds for flood victims through its “Penang Bangkit” (Penang Bounce Back) Programme.
Cheah’s PKR comrade saw the move by Lim as a way to get back at Cheah for being critical of Lim’s administration during the recent state legislative assembly sitting.
The party comrade said it was possibly because Cheah had questioned the state on a bill to allow the 130-year-old Penang Botanic Gardens to be corporatised.
Another online portal quoted Cheah as expressing suprise after learning that he had been dropped from the registration exercise when informed via an email by state secretary Farizan Darus on Nov 20.
Whatever it is, politics aside, at the end of the day, the rakyat should come first despite whatever differences these political leaders may have with each other even if they do come from the same alliance.
After all, didn’t the Chief Minister promise not to politicise the flood aid so why is this fiasco happening now?
If flood aid application and distribution could become an issue by way of showing power and authority, what more with other more pertinent matters?
Will every single thing be politicised just to show who is the more powerful one? – MO