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Former MBPP councillor seeks legal redress over her 'invalid' sacking

GEORGE TOWN: A former Penang Island City Council (MBPP) councillor, who was terminated from her post in April, filed a suit over her dismissal against her former employer and three others at the Penang High Court here yesterday.
Noor Syazwani Md Amin, 30, filed seven claims against MBPP, its mayor, secretary and the State Secretariat office.
In her writ of summons, Syazwani is seeking a declaration that the termination of her appointment as councillor effective April 19 was invalid, without a reasonable excuse and was “mala fide” (based on bad intentions)
She is also claiming for the defendants to pay her the outstanding monthly allowances she was entitled to as a councillor, totalling up to RM32,000, from May to December this year.
Alternatively, Syazwani is also asking the defendants to pay RM50,000 in “hardship damages” (gantirugi kesusahan) for the distress endured from the sacking, which had tarnished her reputation.
She is also seeking aggravated damages of RM50,000 for the “emotional disturbances” she suffered from being let go without reason.
Syazwani is also asking for general damages, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court with four per cent interest per annum until the trial ends.
In her statement of claim, Syazwani said she was councillor for a year beginning Jan 1, 2017 and had received RM2,500 in fixed allowances, RM100 for every meeting and official event she attended and a RM300 telephone allowance.
She claimed that she was let go after a trader had complained to the Penang government about her.
“Three accusations were levelled at the plaintiff, which included a visit to a restaurant without a licensing and health officer; ordering businessperson to buy items from the plaintiff’s brother; and making an official visit to a restaurant with the plaintiff’s brother,” her statement said.
Syazwani then claimed she had written a letter to state Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow, denying the accusations against her, and demanding for proof of the accusations. However, she has yet to receive any reply to date
She said the hurried manner in which she was sacked showed there was elements of mala fide against her and that the defendants’ failure to give a proper and reasonable explanation had prejudiced her.
Syazwani is a non-governmental organisation nominee in the council from Persatuan Peniaga Melayu Pasar Malam Pulau Pinang.
She is the second councillor to be sacked by the council, with the first being former Pas’ appointee to the then Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) Iszuree Ibrahim.
Iszuree was sacked after allegedly deriding the DAP-led state government’s housing policy at an annual Pas muktamar in Batu Pahat, Johor in Sept 2014.
He sought a High Court order to invalidate the state executive council's decision on Sept 25, 2014 and MPPP’s letters dated Sept 26 and 29, 2014 to remove him from the MPPP committees, freeze his allocations, and stop him from attending any ad-hoc council meetings as well as meetings to discuss technical matters.
However, the High Court ruled that the appointment and dismissal of local government councillors was at the sole discretion of the state authorities, pursuant to Section 10 of the Local Goverment Act 1976.

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