GEORGE TOWN: A temporary pause in allocations to Penang assembly members who missed the swearing-in ceremony of the governor in April has been lifted, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.
He said the decision was made as the absentees, from DAP and PKR, had written apology letters to Yang di-Pertua Negeri Abdul Rahman Abbas and the Chief Minister’s Office.
Lim said Penanti assembly member Norlela Ariffin had also sent an apology to state secretary Farizan Darus for saying his office did not send official invitations to representatives.
“All absentees have apologised, sent two apology letters… in the case of Penanti, three letters, so all (grants) have been restored,” Lim said at a press conference with Farizan at Komtar today.
Farizan said he accepted Norlela’s apology in the spirit of Hari Raya.
Norlela was first to reveal, on Facebook, that an “outright grant” of RM50,000 to assembly members was put on hold after she skipped the governor’s swearing-in.
Other assembly members who were also absent had refused to comment at the height of the issue two months ago.
The swearing-in was held on April 29 at the Residency, coinciding with a Penang PKR convention in Prai.
Lim had said there was no excuse to miss the governor’s swearing-in as assembly members must respect the head of state.
Lim said then that the RM50,000 outright grant would be given to the absentees once they provided a proper explanation for why they were not present and a detailed outline of how they would spend the money in their constituency.
Lim also clarified that the punishment was just a “speed bump” rather than a “freeze” as claimed by Norlela.
The outright grant, totalling RM200,000 for the full year, is given to state reps in stages on a quarterly basis.
This is besides their RM300,000 yearly assembly members’ allocation for small infrastructure and repair projects and community programmes managed by the district office.