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Published: Wednesday April 15, 2009 MYT 11:59:00 AMUpdated: Wednesday April 15, 2009 MYT 3:29:41 PM
By MANJIT KAUR
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Deputy Chief 1 position will remain vacant for now to give de factor Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Sri Anwar Ibrahim more time to resolve internal issues, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said while he was disappointed by the delay, he fully understood the various political pressures that Anwar was facing in making the recommendation.
Lim said that, therefore, the position of the DCM 1 remained vacant, although the announcement was supposed to be made Wednesday.
“Even though I have the prerogative as the chief minister to appoint the DCM 1, I believe in consulting and waiting for Anwar to recommend who should fill up the empty position.
“As a genuine coalition ally in Pakatan Rakyat I have chosen to stand together in solidarity with Anwar in facing to these pressures.
“I will give him more time to resolve the internal issues involved,’’ he said in a press statement issued to reporters by his press secretary after Lim handed out mock cheques to representatives of the 28 Tamil schools in the state in Komtar.
Lim refused to answer questions pertaining the issue, and told reporters that he was rushing to the airport to catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Yang Di Pertua Negeri Tuan Yang Terutama Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas at Istana Negara.
It was reported on April 13 that Lim would name the new DCM 1 on Wednesday, although Anwar had asked until Sunday (April 12) to make a decision.
The post was left vacant after Penanti assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin resigned, and Lim has said it was up to Anwar to choose the best candidate since the post belonged to a Malay PKR assemblyman.
Anwar confirmed that two names had been proposed.
They are state executive councillor Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim, who is also Batu Maung state assemblyman and Sungai Bakap state assemblyman Maktar Shapee.
Lim further added in the statement that he was confident that Anwar would answer and explain fully all questions after he had decided on whom he wanted to recommend to be appointed to the position.
Lim said the best person for the job would be appointed in accordance with the state’s competency, accountability and transparency philosophy.
“For the time being the various portfolios held by Mohammad Fairus will be handled by me and assisted by the other Exco members where necessary.
“I am sure Anwar knows that the public are puzzling over the difficulty in selecting a replacement, and questions such as if the delay is caused because Anwar is arranging for a by-election for Penanti are lingering in peoples’ minds,’’ he added.
After the cheque presentation ceremony, a delegation from the Henan province paid a courtesy call on Lim to discuss on trade and industry partnerships especially on the Halal industry.
Also present was Abdul Malik, who is the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs committee chairman.
After the function, reporters ambushed Abdul Malik asking him why was there a delay in naming the person to take over the DCM 1’s position.
He said that that question should be posed to Anwar, and since the appointment was not a small one, Anwar should be given time and not pushed.
Asked if the party was facing internal issues, and therefore the delay occurred, Abdul Malik said he could vouch that there was no such thing.
“We want to make the best decision for the people,’’ he said, adding that he was not upset with the delay.
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