Datuk Jahara Hamid said the DAP-led Penang government had misused the voice of the majority to amend the initial motion tabled by a BN. (pix by MUHAMMAD MIKAIL ONG)

GEORGE TOWN: Barisan Nasional claimed the Pakatan Harapan state government played dirty by amending a motion to halt all hill slope developments pending measures taken by developers.

State opposition leader Datuk Jahara Hamid (BN - Teluk Ayer Tawar) said the DAP-led Penang government had misused the voice of the majority to amend the initial motion tabled by a BN representative at the state legislative assembly sitting.

The move to amend the motion prompted BN backbenchers to stage a walkout in protest as Jahara said it was akin to “dirty politics” aimed at silencing them, just as how the government acted against concerned non governmental organisations and the people.

Datuk Dr Muhamad Farid Saad (BN - Pulau Betong) had earlier tabled the motion to call for a halt on all hillslope developments with immediate effect until the developers implement water dispersal plan and strengthen soil and hillslope, related to their planning permission.

Farid had urged the state government to not approve any projects above 76m from sea level for whatever reasons and stressed the motion was related to public interest as Penang has been suffering from floodings and landslides.

“Any approval for developments on hillslopes have to be according to the Penang Structure Plan 2020,” he said when tabling the motion.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon (PKR - Pantai Jerjak), however, proposed for amendment to the motion.

Mohd Rashid proposed for a joint committee, involving Federal gvernment and state government, to address the implication of climate change.

He also called for all developments, especially at environmentally-sensitive areas, to be reviewed by the joint committe, so that all development planning proposals be controlled and monitored throughly.

"These are efforts to oppress us, just like how they did with the NGOs and the people,” Jahara said and pointed out the DAP-led government had no choice but to support the motion.

"That is why, they are forced to amend our motion instead," she said after the walkout.

As the BN assemblymen stood up to leave the august house, several DAP assemblymen labelled them as 'cowards' while Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (DAP - Air Putih) told them not to step out of the hall.

"Why didn't any of their assemblymen table this earlier ? Why must they amend our motion ?" questioned an engraged Farid before he walked out with the rest of the BN assemblymen.

When the Speaker called for the assemblymen to rise in support of the amendment, all stood up except for the nine BN assemblymen.

The amended motion was then approved in the assembly.

"This was not the first time they did this. They take our motion and amended it to make it theirs by using their majority power," Farid further lambasted.

He pointed out that there was a clear difference between his motion and the amendment tabled by Rashid.

He said that his motion would enable the state to take charge and stop all hillslope developments, but the amended motion tabled only monitors such developments.

"The ultimate power is with the State Planning Committee, but now they are dragging in the Federal government as well," he added.

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