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Guan Eng confirms PKR assemblyman barred from giving out flood aid

 | November 23, 2017

Penang chief minister says this is due to ‘procedural changes’ and that he will personally hand over the RM700 aid to Kebun Bunga constituents with the help of another elected representative.

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GEORGE TOWN: A Penang PKR assemblyman was barred from handing out the RM700 one-off flood aid to victims due to “procedural changes”, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.

Lim said he would personally hand out the RM700 one-off aid to Cheah Kah Peng’s constituents in Kebun Bunga, together with Pulau Tikus assemblywoman Yap Soo Huey.

“After discussions with the state secretary, we have decided to make changes to make sure the people of Kebun Bunga are not left out. It is an internal procedural change.

“The internal procedural changes were necessary to ensure that all flood victims can be comprehensively registered.
“Our focus is to help flood victims and internal changes are necessary to ensure that they will benefit from our RM105 million Penang Bounces Back programme.

“In fact, I will personally give aid together with Yap to all affected flood victims. That is all I can say about this.

“Let us hand out all the aid to the flood victims and we can talk about this again after Dec 2,” Lim said at a press conference in Komtar today.

He said this after Malaysiakini reported that PKR’s Kebun Bunga assemblyman Cheah had been barred from handing out aid. The report hinted this was likely due to Lim’s strained relations with the infamous “PKR 5”.

Cheah is one of five PKR assembly members who had abstained from a state assembly vote on an Umno motion to stop all reclamation works in the state two years ago.

The PKR 5 comprise Cheah, Ong Chin Wen (Bukit Tengah), Norela Ariffin (Penanti), Dr T Jayabalan (Batu Uban) and Lee Khai Loon (Machang Bubuk).

FMT contacted the five today. Cheah had yet to respond to calls for comment at the time of writing, but the other four said they had not been barred from handing out the RM700 aid.

Lim also said today that Permatang Pasir PAS assemblyman Mohd Saleh Man would be allowed to hand over the RM700 aid, refuting Malaysiakini’s report that he would be exempted due to his eye surgery.

Malaysiakini quoted a Nov 20 letter from state secretary Farizan Darus to Cheah, informing him that he would not be handling the RM700 aid applications.

“Please be informed that you are not on the list of those who will manage the applicants (of the RM700 aid). With immediate effect, you are no longer responsible for the applications,” the letter read.

Responding to this, opposition leader Jahara Hamid said it was ridiculous to sideline Cheah during a time where Penangites were working towards returning to normalcy after the floods.

She said the real reason could be that Cheah had been “blacklisted” for being overly critical of state policies, especially on environmental issues.

Dec 2 is the deadline for applicants applying for the RM700 one-off flood aid. The aid is part of a larger Penang government initiative to help flood victims as a result of the heavy rains on Nov 4 and 5.

Victims are to apply at their state assemblypersons’ service centres or online at penangbangkit.com.


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