GEORGE TOWN: It is no bed of roses for PKR’s Kebun Bunga assemblyman Cheah Kah Peng after the Penang government decided to leave him out of the process of approving and handing out the RM700 one-off flood aid to his constituents.
The cash aid is part of the Penang government’s initiative to help some 100,000 households affected by the Nov 4-5 floods.
State assemblypersons are supposed to receive the applications from flood-hit victims in Penang from Nov 20 and approve them.
Breaking his silence following a news report of his barring, Cheah said it had been no bed of roses after getting an email from the state government.
In a press conference at his service centre at Rifle Range, Air Itam, Cheah said he first received an email on Nov 20 from state secretary Farizan Darus.
He said in that email, Farizan simply said he would be “exempted” from all matters related to the RM700 flood aid.
Cheah said he had received about 200 applications via forms supplied through his service centres. Others had applied for aid online via penangbangkit.com.
There are currently 19,278 voters in the Kebun Bunga constituency, with a large number from the Rifle Range area.
Cheah said since he had been left out of the picture, the village security and development committees or JKKKs had been busy helping victims fill up forms for the aid.
Cheah said he had asked Farizan why he had been left out but there had been no reply.
“Look, I am not talking about ‘I like you, you like me’ politics here. We are here to help the people.
“Any sensible logical or sane government would not stop its democratically-elected rep from helping the people.
“Why, at this very crucial moment, are those deserving of the aid being deprived of it? It is a very impractical move; very unintelligent move,” he said.
Earlier today, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had said the decision to bar Cheah was due to “internal procedural changes” suggested by Farizan.
Lim said he would now personally hand out the cash aid to constituents of Kebun Bunga, with the assistance of Pulau Tikus DAP assemblywoman Yap Soo Huey.
Cheah said he would continue to help the people of Kebun Bunga, as it was his “God-vested democratic responsibility” to be with them.
“It is the people who voted for me; no other authority can take it away from me or take me away from them.
“If you say you are taking over, why aren’t you here? Why are the voters being punished?”
When asked why he had been sidelined, Cheah said: “I do not know, you must ask the CM and the state secretary. I have no clue.”