Penang opposition will get allocation, sum different from state govt assemblymen

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will provide allocation to all 11 opposition assemblymen according to the existing state policy.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, however, said the sum would not be the same as that allocated to assemblymen from the state government.

"We (the Pakatan Harapan - Barisan Nasional unity government) will continue with the same policy in terms of allocations for backbenchers and opposition.

"But the sum will not be equal," he told newsmen here today after the swearing in of 40 elected representatives at the state legislative assembly here today.

Chow, however, said the newly-sworn elected representatives would only receive the balance of the allocations left for the rest of this year.

"The previous assemblymen have been told to ensure there is balance of allocations for after the state election.

"As for the opposition assemblymen, if there is any balance in their allocation, it will continue to be allocated to them," he added.

Asked on the amount of allocation for both assemblymen from the state government and opposition, Chow said he did not have it but noted that the allocation was not equal.

The New Straits Times learnt that each assemblyman is allocated RM500,000 annually, including funds for infrastructure works.

However, second term opposition assemblyman Yusni Mat Piah said the opposition assemblymen were only allocated RM60,000 per year for infrastructure works.

The Penaga assemblyman said the allocation was channeled through the district office for infrastructure works.

On a separate development, Chow denied any conflict of interest in the appointment of Datuk Seri S. Sundarajoo as the state Housing and Environment Committee chairman.

He said even though the two portfolios are held by two different people, all decisions would still need to go through the state executive council (exco) meeting.

"Who said housing development will destroy the environment? Shouldn't we look at how all developments can actually improve the environment, more beautiful landscapes, works to strengthen slopes (if necessary) and build roads to connect areas in the outskirts?

"Isn't this the result of physical development? We have engineers, urban planners, architects and all professionals who are entrusted to take better care of the environment through development.

"So I don't see any contradiction," he said.

Non-governmental organisation Aliran had urged the state government to reshuffle the portfolio held by Sundarajoo to avoid any conflict of interest.

Aliran said the housing and environment portfolio should be placed under two different people, preferably from different parties in the coalition government.

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