THE Penang State Opposition Leader has thanked the Penang government for setting aside a huge allocation to help Penangites weather the impact of Covid-19.
Datuk Muhamad Yusoff Mohd Noor (BN-Sungai Dua) said the Penang government had allocated some RM155 million to help those who were facing difficulties, lost their jobs and traders who were unable to trade.
“We thank the state government for allocating so much to help the people. Of course, the Federal Government had also provided financial aid to help the people.
“The pandemic has united us (community and leaders) to be stronger as a team. We feel that it is more important for us to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and stop the spread of the infection, regardless of our parties,” he said, when debating the Budget during the State Legislative Assembly in Dewan Sri Pinang today.
Muhamad Yusoff said that although the country was entering the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation in Penang remained under control.
He said that the Covid-19 cases in the country had increased after the Sabah state election.
“I, on behalf of my friends, apologise to everyone in Penang for the shortcomings. We acknowledge the shortcomings,” he said.
Teh Lai Heng (PH-Komtar) asked if Muhamad Yusoff agreed with the state’s decision to put off the motion against the four assemblymen for going against Article 14(A) of the State Constitution (Penang anti-hopping law).
The Penang state executive council (exco) had decided to defer the tabling of the motion in view of the escalating cases of Covid-19 in the country after the effects of the recent Sabah state election.
Muhamad Yusoff said he was ready to defend his friends and he was grateful that the motion was deferred.
The questions by Lee Chun Kit (PH-Pulau Tikus) and M. Satees (PH-Bagan Dalam) to Muhamad Yusoff triggered an exchange of words between Dr Afif Bahardin (Bersatu-Seberang Jaya), Lee and Satees.
Lee and Satees had questioned Muhamad Yusoff if he supports the culture of party hopping.
Dr Afif said the question by Lee should be directed at Lim Guan Eng (PH-Air Putih) and Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (PH-Padang Kota).
“Both of them have issued statements supporting the Port Dickson MP if there are any MPs who want to hop out to form a new Government,” Dr Afif said.
Satees interjected and demanded Dr Afif to retract his statement.
“The Chief Minister has never said that he supports the culture of party hopping. He had only said that he welcomed the announcement by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Port Dickson MP),” Satees said.
Anwar had claimed to have a strong majority to form the next Federal Government.
Satees said that welcoming an announcement is not the same as supporting the culture of party hopping.
Chow said: “Bagan Dalam is right.”
It was reported on Sept 23 that Chow had welcomed the announcement by Anwar.
Muhamad Yusoff then stated his stand on the matter.
“I am a man of principle and I hold on to only one party. I dislike party hopping.
“Penang has its anti-hopping law, but it is not in line with the Federal Constitution,” he said.
Chow said the matter could be decided by the court.
“We respect the legal process.
“(However), the affected assemblymen chose not to vacate their seats despite the State Constitution reads they shall vacate,” Chow said.
The Penang Pakatan Harapan government currently has 33 seats in the 40-seat assembly.
Dr Afif and Sungai Acheh assemblyman Zulkifli Ibrahim joined Bersatu after leaving PKR while Bertam assemblyman Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq and Teluk Bahang assemblyman Zolkifly Md Lazim, who won their seats on Bersatu tickets, stayed with party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when the Perikatan Nasional Federal Government was formed.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis and Chan Kok Kuan