State exco member apologises over outburst

MELAKA: State exco member Norhizam Hassan Baktee has made peace with villagers after an argument involving an access road at a housing estate in Bukit Beruang.

Norhizam, who is state Agriculture, Entrepreneur Develop­ment and Agro-based committee chairman, also apologised for using harsh words on the villagers during the confrontation on Tuesday.

Villagers also invited Norhizam to join them for Friday prayers at Kampung Pulau Nibong to show that they harbour no ill will over the incident.

“I am sorry. I was just doing my duty to defend my constituents. But I probably got too emotional.

“I hope the villagers understand that I had no ulterior motives when I arrived to resolve the issue and admit that I raised my voice,” he said during a meeting with the villagers at Seri Negeri in Ayer Keroh here yesterday.

It was arranged by Melaka DAP leaders.

In a video that went viral, Norhizam was seen in a heated dispute with villagers and was accused of being uncouth.

The dialogue was arranged after some 600 residents of Taman Akasia demanded that the link connecting Pulau Nibong to Jalan Akasia 4 and Jalan Akasia 7 be closed following a spate of accidents and motorcycle thefts in the residential area.

Norhizam said during Tuesday’s incident that he came there as residents of Taman Akasia had sought his help because a number of children were hurt in accidents by speeding motorists.

He also said that he would not be initiating legal action against those who had spread the video-recording.

State DAP chairman Tey Kok Kiew, who was at the meeting, said anyone was bound to make a mistake.

He said he and even Chief Minister Adly Zahari acknowledged that Norhizam was very passionate about his job as exco member.

“We need to be humble and tactful when we are trying to resolve issues,” he added.

He said the issue over the access road would be discussed with the Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council (MPHTJ).

At Seri Negeri, Adly admitted that there are some state exco members who lacked communication skills and this needed to be improved.

“Norhizam shouldn’t have raised his voice or acted in such a manner regardless who was at fault.

“In any case, the state government wishes to apologise to the villagers and those who were slighted by the incident.

“We just want to say sorry,” he told a press conference.

Adly also said he asked for the setting-up of a special Melaka Select Committee on Competency, Accoun­ta­bility and Transparency (Melcat) to help people channel their complaints to the state government.

Village elder Md Derus Tompang, the 58-year-old who was seen having a heated exchange in the video with Norhizam, the Pengkalan Batu assemblyman, said the issue was now closed.

“My fellow villagers welcome Norhizam with an open heart and hope netizens don’t continue to criticise anyone,” he said.

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