THE appointment of PKR’s Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman as Penang Deputy Chief Minister (DCM) I has taken many by surprise.
Even he himself was taken aback after being told by the party leadership to take up the post.
“I was not aware at all that I was the candidate as I was not privy to the party decision.
“It’s a heavy responsibility which I intend to carry out to the best of my ability,” said the 60-year-old civil engineer.
The Pinang Tunggal assemblyman, who was sworn in yesterday, holds the Islamic Religious Affairs, Industrial Development and Community Relations portfolio.
He took over the post from Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who contested in Johor and won the Batu Pahat parliamentary seat in the 14th General Election.
Earlier, two big names from PKR had appeared to be the front runners for the DCM I post.
Among them was PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution, who won the Kulim-Bandar Baharu parliamentary and Pantai Jerejak state seats.
He is expected to take up a Federal post.
Another candidate was Penang Pakatan Harapan Youth chief Dr Afif Bahardin, who has since retained his portfolios in Health; Agriculture and Agro-based Industry; and Rural Development.
Ahmad Zakiyuddin, an ordinary member in the Kepala Batas PKR branch, does not hold any party post.
He said he was not completely new, having contested in the 2013 election but lost the Pinang Tunggal state seat.
He said his new post of Community Relations was an important portfolio as he would have to oversee the Village Security and Development Committees in the state.
On whether he could still helm the Penang Islamic Religious Council as its deputy president after being made the DCM I, Ahmad Zakiyuddin said he would need to talk to the president Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.
“The matter has yet to be discussed. I will talk to him,” he said.