TEH Lai Heng’s monthly income will now be less than half of what he was earning as special assistant to state Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow.
But the 30-year-old who was sworn-in as Penang municipal councillor does not mind making the sacrifice as he could now be part of the legislative process.
“The fixed allowance for councillors is RM750 a month. We also receive meeting allowances up to a maximum of RM600 per month,” he said.
“Salary and position are not a priority for me because I view councillors as having an important role in the legislative process.
“I can now play an active role in reviewing by-laws and will focus on several issues including transportation,” he added.
Teh, who was an aide to Chow since 2008, said the lesser pay factor was raised by Datuk Dr Goh Ban Lee, who was part of the councillor selection committee.
Teh said he was grateful to Chow for accepting his resignation and also for being his mentor.
“I will continue to assist him in my capacity as his constituency assistant,” he said.
Another new councillor Dr Lim Mah Hui said he would rely on his 20-year experience as a banker to strengthen the financial management sub-committee and the development planning committee.
He said he would do his best to ensure that Penang would not become a ‘rojak’ city but one that was well-planned with proper development zones.
Dr Lim however expressed disappointment at being only one of the two selected from the list of 10 candidates recommended as councillors by Penang Forum 3.
The forum held a mock local government elections on Nov 14 last year.
“I had hoped for Chin Khuan Sui to be elected as the current line-up is lacking in women and civil society representation,” he said.
“However, I’m glad the state government is supportive and taking measures to have local government elections in the future,” he said.
Lim is an active member of Aliran and the Consumers Association of Penang. He is also a senior fellow of Penang’s think-tank, the Socio-Economic and Environment Research Institute.
Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who is Bayan Baru PKR division deputy chief, said education was a vital element in the council’s enforcement efforts.
“Thinking-out-of-the-box, we can choose to reward good behaviours such as praising hawkers and those who ensure their premises are clean rather than the usual negative mode of punishing errant hawkers,” he said.
Chow, in his opening speech at the swearing-in ceremony, said he had applied to the Federal Government for the whole of Penang island to be accorded city status.
“We hope that the status will be given by the 55th anniversary of the historic declaration of George Town as a city during British rule which falls on Jan 1, 2012,” he said.