PENANG: Barisan Nasional should not go on a “witch-hunt” against the eight back-benchers who did not vote on a DAP motion at the Penang state assembly on Nov 21.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Hilmi Yahaya said yesterday most of them had obtained prior approval from either him or Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon for their absence.
Three or four assemblymen were outside the chamber but within the building during the vote as they had other matters to attend, he said.
“I feel the action taken on the two assemblymen who abstained during the motion is good enough.
“The action against the duo (Jawi assemblyman Tan Cheng Liang and Datuk Keramat assemblyman Lim Boo Chang) is already a loss to Barisan, however the action is necessary to maintain discipline,'' he told newsmen yesterday after witnessing a cheque presentation in Teluk Bahang.
Dr Hilmi said it was up to the Barisan supreme council, which would hold a meeting on Tuesday, to decide whether the indefinite suspension meted out against the duo by the MCA was sufficient.
He was commenting on a statement by Barisan secretary-general Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat that the coalition would decide at the meeting whether to take action against the eight back-benchers.
Dr Hilmi, who is also Barisan whip in the state assembly, said he would find out why the 30 Barisan assemblymen in Penang did not submit the yearly reports of their activities to Barisan headquarters.
“I will also ask my private secretary (Yusof Ismail) why he did not submit my report,'' he said.
In a separate function, Dr Koh said he had informed Rahmat that the assemblymen would submit their reports quickly.
Speaking to newsmen after attending the Football Association of Malaysia council meeting, Dr Koh said he had instructed the state Barisan secretariat to remind all assemblymen to submit their reports within the next few days.
He said several assemblymen had claimed that they had submitted their reports directly to Barisan headquarters.