The fourth session of the 12th Perak State Assembly held over four days from April 12 to 15 went on with few hitches. Notwithstanding that, the sitting, a follow-up of the postponed March session, which was construed as an attempt to deny Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen the opportunity to canvass in the Sarawak state election on April 16, had its fair share of hiccups.
Some of the matters debated and heated exchanges recorded between the two opposing sides, following the royal address by the Regent of Perak, DYAM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, are as follows:
MACC Probe on Senior Exco. Dato’ Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS-Pasir Panjang) claimed that a senior executive councilor was detained and questioned by the MACC for corruption. Nizar alleged that the exco’s sister and a relative were similarly questioned. He had documentary proof to substantiate his claims. The allegation, however, was refuted by Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir who said that he was unaware that there was such an investigation by the anti-corruption commission. “I cannot comment because the matter was not brought to my attention. They (MACC) didn’t brief me,” he told reporters.
Land for Squatters and Civil Servants. Giving land to eligible civil servants to build houses under the Structured Housing Plan (Racangan Perumahan Tersusun) would not deny squatters’ rights, said Perak Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.
“Priority is given to squatters while the remaining lots are given to those in the middle income group, including civil servants,” he said when winding up debate on the royal address.
Zambry was responding to a question from Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP-Sitiawan) who questioned the merit of giving land to civil servants as they could well afford to buy their own houses.
Tan Sri Tajol Rosli Ghazali (BN-Pengkalan Hulu) said that the practice should not be discontinued as it did not entail corruption.
Bus Service and Flooding. Ong Boon Piow (DAP-Tebing Tinggi) highlighted the poor and non-existent bus service in Tebing Tinggi. Loke Chee Yan (DAP-Kepayang) raised the problem of flooding in Kepayang due to the bottleneck below the Fair Park Bridge. “No solutions seem to be forthcoming,” he lamented.
Visit Perak Year 2012. Nolee Ashilin (BN-Tualang Sekah) enquired about plans for Kampar District for Visit Perak 2012. The spill-over, she reasoned, would benefit her constituency especially its home-stay programme which she helped developed.
Two Amendments Approved. The assembly approved two amendments – the Menteri Besar Corporation Enactment 1951 (Amendment 2011) and the State Agriculture Development Corporation Enactment (Amendment 2011). The amendments concern the appointment of qualified Perakeans to the post of CEO of the corporations. Zambry allayed fears by the Opposition that the posts would be filled by cronies of the Establishment. “They will be given to deserving Perakeans,” he remarked.
Situation Under Control. In spite of the many heated moments, Speaker Dato’ Ganesan seemed to have the situation well under control. His constant reminder to assemblymen to stick to the issues at hand and the allotted time limit had the desired effect.
Walk Out. The entire 4-day sitting proceeded smoothly until the very last day when the whole opposition bench staged a walkout, minutes before recess. This happened when Speaker Ganeson announced that the Rights and Privileges Committee had suspended Dr Khalil Idham Lim (Pas-Titi Serong) on the first day of the next state assembly sitting.
Khalil was cited for accusing a BN assemblyman of bringing a bomoh into the august house during the 2009 assembly sitting. Khalil rejected the committee’s decision claiming that it had contravened the house standing orders.
Adjournment. Ganeson adjourned the sitting sine die on Friday, April 15 concluding a comparatively tame fourth session of the state assembly.