|Beh Lih Yi | Mar 12, 08 10:45am|
|Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng today announced PKR’s Penanti state assemblyperson Mohd Fairus Khairuddin and DAP’s Perai representative P Ramasamy as his deputies.
Mohd Fairus will be the Deputy CM (I) and Ramasamy, Deputy CM (II).
“This decision is to ensure all the communities in Penang are represented and this government is for all,” Lim, who was sworn in yesterday, told a press conference at his office in Penang this morning.
The new chief minister hoped that with the arrangement, Penang will be propelled to a higher level.
“We do not sideline any community which certain quarters are trying to portray. We want to be your (Penangites) friend and it is our strong commitment that all Penangites will have a stake in the state government,” he added.
Today’s announcement came as a surprise as party insiders have earlier indicated that the new state government has no intention to retain the deputy chief minister position.
Example to other states
This is also the first time an Indian Malaysian has been awarded such a high post in Malaysia.
Ramasamy, 58, a political scientist and former academician, said his appointment shows that the state government was sincere in wanting to represent all communities after being given a mandate in the polls.
“I hope other state governments will also follow suit to make all communities represented in their leadership,” he urged.
Ramasamy, who contested in an election for the first time, has stunned political pundits when he also defeated former Penang CM Dr Koh Tsu Koon in the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat.
Mohd Fairus, a newcomer in politics as well, said he will look into issues which are of concern to the Malay community in the state, such as education.
“That will be one (aspect) but it is not all because we are here to represent all communities,” said the 32-year-old politician, who holds a master’s degree in business administration from United Kingdom.
PAS’ lone rep
In a related development, Lim also revealed that the state’s executive council will consist of seven members from DAP and three from PKR, in addition to the chief minister who is from DAP.
The full line-up however is yet to be announced. This probably will be made known during the swearing-in ceremony which is expected to take place tomorrow morning.
Lim said both the speaker and deputy speaker of the state assembly will be from PKR and the party will decide on the candidates.
Asked on whether any exco post will be allocated to the lone PAS state assemblyperson Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman, the Penang CM stressed that it is a DAP-PKR coalition government.
“Arrangements will be made but we will decide later,” he said without elaborating.
Lim was flanked by his two new deputies at the press conference. Also present were PKR Penang chief and Bayan Baru MP Zahrain Mohamed Hashim and other DAP leaders.
The DAP-led opposition made a near clean sweep in Penang in the March 8 general election and totally wiped out the BN-Gerakan and MCA’s hold in the island state.
BN now only controls 11 out of the 40 state seats in Penang, which are all held by Umno. The remaining seats are with DAP (19), PKR (nine) and PAS (one).