Ex-PKR rep, CM clash in Penang state assembly over report card

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GEORGE TOWN: There was a tense moment in the Penang state legislative assembly between Dr Afif Bahardin (PN-Seberang Jaya) and chief minister Chow Kon Yeow over the report card launched by the state government earlier this month.

While debating the governor’s address, Afif said that it was “misleading” for the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led state government to say it had delivered on 90% of the election promises  made in its 14th general election (GE14) manifesto.

“I was one of many involved in the drafting of this manifesto,” said the assemblyman, who was elected on a PKR ticket in GE14 and previously served in the state government as the state health committee chairman.

“I don’t believe that it is 90%. Maybe it is around 60% or less.

“How can we say that the (Bayan Lepas) LRT project is ‘under implementation’ when it is still awaiting environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval along with the Penang South Reclamation (PSR)?”

He also questioned why the report card placed the same value on more than one hundred thousand trees planted under the “Agenda Hijau” with the issues related to public transportation and traffic congestion in the state.

“I disagree with the way the report card was prepared,” he added.

His questioning of the report card drew interjection from Satees Muniandy (PH-Bagan Dalam), who said that it was the BN-PN federal government that ended the ferry service, which worsened the traffic congestion problem in the state.

He was followed by Chris Lee (PH-Pulau Tikus) who asked why he was only opposing the report card now.

“You did not oppose (the way the report card was prepared) when it was under drafting process. Now you are opposing it,” Lee said.

Chow then chimed in, calling out Afif for his belated protest.

“After four years, you are only now saying that we placed more importance on planting trees than on resolving traffic congestion and public transportation issues.”

Chow also explained he had to label updates on certain infrastructure projects as “under implementation” as these projects would take a very long time to be completed.

He added that it was acceptable to say that the state government is fulfilling its promise on projects that are yet to materialise as long as the open tender processes, agreement signing, and early works have started.

“Do we have to wait for the Penang South Islands (PSI) project to be completed after 20 years to say that we have fulfilled the GE14 manifesto?” he asked.

Afif then continued his debate, questioning why the cancellation of toll payment for the Penang Bridge and Sungai Nyiur toll plaza was placed “under implementation”, which made Satees interject him again.

“Who toppled the government that wanted to implement it?” he asked.

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