BUKIT MERTAJAM: After being branded by some as the “culprit” behind the arrest of Penang exco member Phee Boon Poh, Penanti assemblywoman Dr Norlela Ariffin is planning to quit.
“I don’t think I will be contesting in the next general election as I’m not comfortable here anymore (after exposing the illegal factory).
“They don’t understand that I only wanted the factory to comply with the regulations. I just wanted to fix the problem,” she told The Star yesterday.
It was reported that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is investigating two letters, which appear to have originated from Phee, asking that no action be taken against the illegal factory in Sungai Lembu here.
The letters, written in 2015 and last year, directed the Seberang Prai Municipal Council not to shut down the carbon filter-processing factory, which has been operating illegally for the past 10 years.
Phee, factory director Edmund Gan Eu Leong, 37, and his father Gan Buck Hee, 70, were released yesterday after their lawyers successfully applied to the High Court to quash the remand order.
Dr Norlela said the treatment she got was uncalled for because she was only championing villagers’ rights.
“After Phee’s arrest, I received nasty messages – as if I were the culprit. It was nothing personal,” said the PKR assemblywoman, who is on medical leave after suffering a stroke recently.
“My job has taken a toll on my health and doctors have advised me to take a break.”
Dr Norlela also added that it was state PKR chairman Datuk Mansor Othman who had asked her to thank the MACC for taking action against the illegal factory.
“He asked me to make an official statement. I also wish to thank the other authorities, but it took them two years to take action,” she said.
Dr Norlela said she had nothing against DAP and was only doing her duty – representing her constituents.
“I will cooperate with the MACC and tell the truth if they call me up,” she said.
Mansor, when contacted, said Dr Norlela had not informed the party of her intention not to contest in the next election.
“I assume she made those comments after recent developments,” he said.
Dr Norlela was among the assemblymen, dubbed the “PKR Five”, who abstained from voting in a land reclamation motion tabled by Umno at the state assembly sitting in November 2015.
The others were Ong Chin Wen (Bukit Tengah), Cheah Kah Peng (Kebun Bungah), Dr T. Jayabalan (Batu Uban) and Lee Khai Loon (Machang Bubuk).
In Petaling Jaya, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim gave his backing to the MACC probe over the factory.
Anwar, the Pakatan Harapan de facto leader, also welcomed the stern action taken by the MACC in the matters of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd and the Sabah Water Department.
“As such, in the case of the illegal factory and resultant pollution being protested by residents in Sungai Lembu, Penang, the MACC’s action was reasonable,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Anwar, however, expressed concern that the move to obtain information and remand Phee was “excessive”.
Did you find this article insightful?