Koh defends selection of PORR chairman as municipal councillor


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003

BY CHOONG KWEE KIM

PENANG: Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon defended yesterday the appointment of Datuk Ahmad Ismail, the executive chairman of the controversial RM1.02bil Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) concessionary holder, as a councillor in the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP). 

Dr Koh said the MPPP and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) had in place a system of accountability to prevent conflict of interest among their councillors. 

“There are other MPPP and MPSP councillors who are businessmen and have development projects. 

“There is a system of accountability to detract interest and not to (let specific councillors) participate in any deliberation (concerning their projects),” he said yesterday after opening the new RM2mil funeral parlours and office building belonging to the United Hokkien Cemeteries (UHC) at Jalan Batu Gantong. 

Dr Koh was responding to protests by anti-PORR residents against the appointment of Ahmad, the executive chairman of PORR concessionaire Peninsular Metroworks Sdn Bhd, due to a conflict of interest. Ahmad is also Bukit Bendera Umno division chairman. 

He added: “I think this issue was raised to distract attention from the main issue. I could see they (critics) are shifting their argument now – first there was no need for PORR and, after that they are talking about public transport which I have always emphasised that we are committed to providing better public transportation services.” 

On MCA state chairman Wong Kam Hoong’s comments yesterday in the press that he would, if necessary, seek a meeting with him on why a recommended MCA candidate for the councillor post was rejected, Dr Koh replied that he was prepared to see Wong. 

“The appointment of councillors is not done by the CM alone, it comes under the Local Government Act and must be an exco decision. 

“I am prepared to see him anytime and I think it is better to discuss this within the Barisan Nasional,” he said.  

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