PETALING JAYA: Penang politicians have erupted in fury over another non-Penangite taking an important role in the state government with the DAP’s organising secretary Anthony Loke, who is MP for Seremban, being named a director of Penang Hill Corporation.
Loke replaces PKR’s Cheah Kah Peng, assemblyman for Kebun Bunga, whose appointment on the board was terminated by the Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, in January.
Loke has confirmed his appointment and has said that Lim had invited him to be on the board, according to Star Online.
The appointment brought a storm of protest from Penang politicians.
Umno’s Muhammad Farid Saad, assemblyman for Pulau Betong, said Lim had offended Penangites because elected representatives chosen by the people had been shelved in favour of someone from Seremban.
Penang MCA’s deputy leader Tan Teik Cheng pointed out that Lim was a Johorean who grew up in Malacca, and Penang DAP leader Chow Kon Yeow was from Kuala Lumpur. “And now they favour a public representative chosen by people in Seremban to help manage our hill. This is ridiculous,” he was quoted as saying. “What possible advantage can Loke have over a Penangite when it comes to looking after Penang Hill?
Muhammad Farid pointed out that Pakatan Harapan had 10 MPs and 29 assemblymen in Penang. “You mean to tell me none of them are capable of representing the public interest in Penang Hill?”
Lim had dropped Cheah Kah Peng from the hill corporation board after he and four other assembly members from PKR had abstained on a state assembly motion calling for land reclamation projects to be suspended until thorough environmental studies were carried out.
The motion had been brought by Muhammad Farid, and all Umno members voted in favour, as well as the DAP’s Teh Yee Cheu, an environmentalist and assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah.
Asked about Loke’s appointment, Teh merely said: “The appointment is the chief minister’s prerogative. Right or wrong, it is for the people to judge”, according to Star Online.
The report quoted Loke as saying the appointment was a non-executive position, without a salary or allowances. He also said he was DAP’s parliamentary spokesman for tourism.