Penang PPBM Will Stick to PH After Two Reps Defect to PN

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Penang PPBM today said it would continue to support the Pakatan Harapan coalition after two of its assemblymen announced they were now supporting Perikatan Nasional (PN).

State assemblymen Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq and Zolkifly Md Lazim, who represent Bertam and Telok Bahang respectively, have announced their allegiance to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Penang PPBM chief Senator Marzuki Yahya said their decision was made in their individual capacities. He said the state chapter was in “full support” of the PH-led state government.

“These two members appear to have forgotten that it was support from PH that had led to them winning their seats.

“If they want to be part of the state opposition, then that is their personal decision,” the Penang PH vice-chairman told FMT.

Penang PKR youth wants Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to take legal action against Khaliq and Zolkifly.

State PKR Youth chief Fahmi Zainol said the chief minister should order the duo to vacate their seats as they had violated the anti-hopping laws under the Penang constitution.

“In early March, Chow made a statement that stern action will be taken against any state assemblymen who support traitors, in accordance with the Penang Constitutional Enactment (Amendment) 2012,” Fahmi said in a statement today.

“Penang PKR youth wants to remind the chief minister to fulfil his promise that representatives who betray and turn their backs on the rakyat’s mandate will need to vacate their seats and pave the way for by-elections.”

Yesterday, it was reported that Khaliq had been appointed as the Penang Regional Development Authority chairman and Zolkifly had been inducted into the Mara Advisory Council.

Khaliq, when contacted, said: “I support Muhyiddin as the PM and the party president. I’m just adhering to the party’s decision.”

Zolkifly did not respond to queries for comment.

On Feb 27, the Penang Chief Minister’s political secretary Teh Lai Heng issued a statement saying the two PPBM reps had pledged their support for the state PH government, despite changes at the federal level.

Both men had met with Chow twice to voice their support for PH in February, amid the political crisis that led to the collapse of the PH government.

The change of allegiance by the two reps now does not change the super-majority status the PH enjoys in the Penang assembly. The coalition has 34 seats, with DAP holding 19, PKR 13 and Amanah two.

These figures take into account that former PKR member Dr Afif Bahardin has also aligned himself to PN.

Umno and PPBM now each have two seats, with PAS holding one seat. Overall, PN has six seats on the opposition bench.

Marzuki said claims by these two defecting assemblymen that PPBM was “in the opposition” was wrong.

Zolkifly had told a news portal that PPBM in Penang had effectively become an opposition party.

Meanwhile, Penang DAP treasurer and Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai said the two assemblymen must relinquish all the privileges and other allocations given for their service centres. He said the reps should also quit positions held in state government-linked corporations immediately.

He said the Village Security Development Council (MPKK) members under these two reps’ constituencies will have to be reshuffled as their members are based on political appointments.

He said the same was true for city councillors as well. “They must immediately inform the state assembly speaker of their decision.”