Penang’s ‘PKR 5’ uncertain if they will abstain again

Penang’s ‘PKR 5’ uncertain if they will abstain again

GEORGE TOWN: The infamous Penang “PKR 5” assemblymen are non-committal whether they will abstain from voting again on a new Umno motion on reclamation that will come up for debate in the state assembly.

Bukit Tengah assemblyman and PKR chief whip Ong Chin Wen said “nothing has been decided” and they will only do so when the debate commences.

“That one … I will reserve comments. We will wait until the debate,” he said when reporters asked if the PKR 5 will abstain from voting again.

Ong said their stand on the previous abstention on an Umno motion remained.

Umno’s Pulau Betong representative Muhammad Farid Saad has proposed a similar motion to the one he made last year.

His proposed motion is to “urge the state government to cancel reclamation works involving some 4,000 acres at the south of Penang Island and seek alternative financing for the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan”.

Farid’s motion has been given the nod for debate by state Speaker Law Choo Kiang.

The five assemblymen — by Ong, Cheah Kah Peng (Kebun Bunga), Dr Norela Ariffin (Penanti), Dr T Jayabalan (Batu Uban) and Lee Khai Loon (Machang Bubuk) – had chosen to abstain during voting on a motion on land reclamation tabled by Farid during the final day of the state assembly sitting on Nov 27 last year.

Speaker Law Choo Kiang rejected the motion after 23 assemblymen voted against the motion, 10 voted for and the “PKR 5” abstained.

DAP assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu also voted for the motion. But he later apologised for doing so at a press conference after the state assembly sitting.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had criticised the “PKR 5”, saying the abstention was a betrayal to the state.

The five had then responded by saying it was a vote of “conscience”.