By TAN SIN CHOW
GEORGE TOWN: The state government has proposed newly elected Permatang Pasir assemblyman Mohd Salleh Man to head the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAIPP).
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the proposal was agreed upon during the state executive council’s meeting Wednesday.
He said state Religious Affairs committee chairman Abdul Malik Abul Kassim has been tasked to seek the King’s and the Governor’s consent over Mohd Salleh’s appointment as the MAIPP president.
The post is currently helmed by Umno’s Permatang Berangan state assemblyman Shahbudin Yahya, whose term ends in December.
Lim made the announcement during a press conference at his office Wednesday.
Also present was Mohd Salleh who is also Penang PAS commissioner.
In a related development, Lim refuted claims by certain Umno leaders that the majority of votes had been reduced by 900 votes.
He said Mohd Salleh still managed to obtain 65% of votes, a similar percentage obtained by the late Datuk Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman in the 2008 general election based on voters’ turnout.
“The voters’ turnout this time was only 73.1%, which was lower than the 82.57% last year.
“But still, Mohd Salleh managed to receive 65% of the votes or 9,618 based on the voters’ turnout.
“To say that the majority was reduced was actually an act of deceiving oneself or the Barisan people were still living in a state of denial and refused to accept the defeat in a graceful manner.
“Even year six students can do the calculation,” he said.
PAS retained the state seat after Mohd Salleh defeated Barisan Nasional’s Rohaizat Othman by 4,551 votes.
Mohd Salleh obtained 9,618 votes compared with Rohaizat’s 5,067.
In the last general election, Mohd Hamdan secured 11,004 votes against Ahmad Sahar’s 5,571 votes. The majority was 5,433 votes and the voters’ turnout stood at 82.5% then.
Mohd Hamdan’s death on July 31 triggered yesterday’s by-election, the eighth since the last general election. The constituency has 20,290 registered voters.
Lim added that PAS also secured victories with increased votes in two Chinese majority areas - Permatang Pauh and Kampung Cross Street.
“With victory, the people-oriented government will continue. We will continue with our policies to govern Penang without discriminating against race or religion,” he said.
On the state-level National Day celebration, Lim said the annual procession has been cancelled due to the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
“We would still celebrate national day on Aug 31, albeit in a smaller scale and short in duration.
“It would just be a small gathering as our priority is the people’s safety,” he said.