Friday, June 28, 2013

Lim Guan Eng proposes, Anwar disposes

Exchanging oranges for limes, but still better than nothing.

Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng is expected to propose on behalf of Pakatan Rakyat, Law Choo Kiang as Speaker and Ustaz Maktar Hj. Shapee as Deputy Speaker for the Penang State Assembly tomorrow (28/6/2013). Both are second term PKR state assemblyman for Bukit Tambun and Sungai Bakap respectively. Deputy Chief Minister 1 for Penang, Rashid Hasnon will second the motion.

Lim had also, in his press release, made known that prior to the final decision, Penang PKR chairman, Dato Mansor Othman was unanimously proposed and supported by the Penang EXCO, consisting of both DAP and PKR members, for the Speaker post. He attributes the change to a consultation with Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PKR’s de facto leader and Parliamentary Opposition Leader.

The initial move to propose Dato Mansor may be politically correct, or reversely, simply an olive branch from DAP to iron out the outburst of the ‘Tokong’ issue which emerged since last August. A recording purportedly of Dato Mansor accusing Lim as being a deity, and in no circumstances a friendly term, put him under unfavourable conditions in the months that followed, leading to his ‘upgrade’ to contest during the 13th General Elections as a Member of Parliament instead of a state assemblyman.

Law proposed to appease Chinese PKR members

While the nomination for Law to be the Speaker may appease some Chinese members in PKR, many still fume over the loss of the Chinese EXCO seat, which was previously held by Law. To add salt to the wound, only four Chinese candidates were fielded in the state seats this time round as compared to five in 2008. All four won their seats with a larger majority than before; they are: Law Choo Kiang (Bukit Tambun), Ong Chin Wen (Bukit Tengah), Lee Khai Loon (Machang Bubuk) and Cheah Kah Peng (Kebun Bunga).

Even though Dato Mansor was largely supported to be the Speaker, the nomination of Law instead, points to the rationale that the PKR leadership appreciates the contributions of its Chinese members and proportioned all three EXCO seats in Penang to PKR Malays only because there was a lack of Malay leaders in DAP.

Although a similar situation arose in Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Menteri Besar of Selangor, reduced the number of EXCO seats to DAP from four to three, to accommodate a PKR Chinese appointment. DAP was compensated with a Speaker seat originally meant for PAS.

Nomination not based on gender quota

The nomination of Ustaz Maktar as Deputy Speaker displaces Dr. Norlela Ariffin, the state assemblyman for Penanti, initially announced by Dato Mansor to be the Deputy Speaker. An enthusiastic newcomer to politics, she was a beacon of hope for women. While women continue to struggle for more representation, the post of the Deputy Speaker went in favour of a senior politician with more experience.

It remains to be seen the length of time taken for PKR to attain her commitment in achieving 30% women’s representation in politics.

Lim Guan Eng proposes, Anwar disposes link to MSN
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