GEORGE TOWN: Penang’s opposition is upset over the rejection of three proposed motions to the state assembly, including one demanding that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng go on leave pending his graft trial.
Opposition leader Jahara Hamid said the rejection of the motion showed that the Penang assembly could not tolerate dissent and was going against its “freedom of speech” mantra.
“There is no freedom of expression. Look at what they are doing now. It is against everything they stand for. It is hypocritical.
“DAP leaders have claimed that democracy is their way. But when it does not favour them, they cannot take it,” she said when contacted.
Jahara said she had been informed by the assembly that the motion had been rejected. She said it looked like the state government had already taken a stand on the matter even before the Dewan could begin.
When contacted for comment, Speaker Law Choo Kiang texted: “With due respect to the august house and also the standing orders, I will only comment after the Dewan starts.”
This year’s assembly sitting begins this Friday. After the weekend break, the Dewan will sit again on Monday until next Friday.
The BN representatives, who are in the minority in the assembly, had proposed Lim take leave while his corruption trial is taking place to allow unfettered investigations.
The other two motions rejected were for all Penang civil servants to take leave when they are tried for crimes and to standardise pensions for ex-assemblypersons.
The motions were proposed by Jahara and her Umno colleague, Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhammad Farid Saad.
Jahara said an emergency motion would be an exercise in futility as it would be impossible to garner majority support in the house.
Lim meanwhile described the motion to demand his resignation or leave as a tit-for-tat action by the BN reps as he had proposed for a motion to condemn Tasek Gelugor MP Shabudin Yahaya’s controversial remarks on child marriage.
Shabudin had described the motion to condemn him as akin to denouncing state Islamic laws, as his remarks were based on Islamic tenets.
When asked about the motion against Shabudin, Law texted: “I will comment on everything related to the Dewan after we begin.”