GEORGE TOWN, Nov 27 — Penang Opposition leader Muhammad Fauzi Yusoff (PAS - Sungai Dua) has called on the state to be fair when giving allocations to assemblymen in the state, including the Opposition.
He said the state must be fair to all communities and people regardless of race, religion, location, and political affiliations.
“Allocations for Opposition assemblymen must be given fairly as they are representatives elected by the people,” he said when debating Penang Budget 2024 at the state legislative assembly today.
He said each assemblyman has a role to assist the people in their constituencies.
“Let us not be ‘gengam tak tirih’, as the saying goes, which means stingy, but let us be compassionate. This is in accordance with the Madani concept,” he said.
He reminded the state government that winning an election is not like winning a gamble where all bets belonged to the winner.
“Instead, the government has to fulfil the trust that the people have given them and enforce justice,” he said.
He said the state government should avoid the colonial politics of oppressing the people.
“Be the government that fulfils the trust of the people and enforces justice, and refrains from the greedy politics of colonisation,” he said.
He said the government’s funds must be properly managed and rights should be given to those who are deserving for the greater good.
Last week, another Opposition assemblyman Zulkefli Bakar (Bersatu - Penanti) had also asked that equal allocation be given to the Opposition front.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has previously said that the state government will continue to allocate RM60,000 annually to each assemblyman, while those in the state government line-up will receive RM500,000 each annually.
Chow, in his Facebook page, pointed out that at one time, Opposition assemblymen in Penang were not given any allocations by the state government.
“So the current administration has decided to continue with the annual allocation that was practised by the state before the 15th general election,” he said.
He said it is best to continue with the practice rather than return to an era when no allocation was given to the Opposition.
Muhammad Fauzi also touched on the state Budget 2024 that breached RM1 billion as compared to a projected revenue of RM533.08 million with a deficit of 55 per cent, at RM514.52 million.
“The state has tabled deficit Budgets since 2011 leading to the decreasing state reserves to RM1.67 billion as of November 15,” he said.
He said this was an unhealthy trend for the state’s finances.
“If this continues, I am concerned about the sustainability of the state’s finances in the long term,” he said.
“I would like to know what solutions the government plans to implement to replenish its reserves and reduce the deficit.”
He said if the state sells land to cover expenses, it will lead to the state losing valuable assets.
“Do not sell all of the state’s lands to others,” he said.
He said the state can manage its land through other methods such as Public Private Partnerships (PPP) or collaborations with the private sector.