Penang govt streamlines state excos’ portfolios; line-up remains unchanged

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (centre) poses for a group photo with the state excos during a press conference in George Town September 9, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (centre) poses for a group photo with the state excos during a press conference in George Town September 9, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, Sept 9 — Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today announced a mid-term reshuffle of the state executive councillors’ portfolios, but the exco line-up remained unchanged.

The Penang lawmaker said the reshuffling only involved shifting and renaming of portfolios to streamline lengthy names.

He said the changes were in line with the state’s preparation to face social-economic challenges.

“This is to ensure a more efficient administrative function and synergy among all agencies so that each agency does not operate in silo,” he said during a press conference at his office this afternoon. 

Chow said some portfolios were combined and renamed while the focus of some portfolios was changed.

The reshuffle comes at the 28th month of the current administration, almost nearing the mid-term mark.

“This reshuffle will last us until the next general election,” he said.

In the reshuffle, the chief minister’s own portfolio will see a change where he now holds the land and economic development and communications portfolios.

Chow had taken on economic planning, renamed as economic development, from Deputy Chief Minister II P.Ramasamy who now only holds the human resources, education and science and technology portfolios.

Previously, Chow’s portfolio comprised land matters and land development, transportation and communications.

“Economic development covers a higher level of planning for the economic development of the whole state,” he said.

Chow’s transportation portfolio was shifted to state exco Zairil Khir Johari who now holds the transportation and infrastructure portfolios.

Previously, he held the works, utilities and flood mitigation portfolio.

Chow also announced the formation of Digital Penang under him to provide horizontal support to all state excos and agencies for digital economic development.

A new portfolio — Creative Economy — was also unveiled, encompassing technological innovation, heritage, arts, culture and creativity.

Tourism exco Yeoh Soon Hin will be undertaking the Creative Economy portfolio alongside his tourism portfolio.

His portfolio was previously named tourism development, arts and culture and heritage.

Chow said the formation of an agrotech and food security portfolio, under Norlela Ariffin, is to stimulate investments in the use of technology for agriculture.

Norlela’s portfolio was previously named agriculture and agro-based industries, rural development and health. Now, her portfolio is called agrotech and food security, rural development and health.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman will be taking over the cooperatives portfolio from state exco Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain while the latter took over his industry portfolio.

Zakiyuddin will be in charge of the cooperatives portfolio along with his existing Islamic affairs and community relations portfolios, which was renamed as community empowerment.

Abdul Halim will now hold the trade, industry and entrepreneurial development portfolios.

Women and family development, gender inclusiveness and non-Islamic religious affairs exco Chong Eng will have her portfolios streamlined to social development and non-Islamic religious affairs.

Social development is a combination of the women and family development, gender inclusiveness and caring society portfolios.

Environment state exco Phee Boon Poh, who previously held the caring society portfolio, will now only hold the environment and welfare portfolios to focus on the environment and the state’s myriad of welfare programmes.

Only two state excos’ portfolios remained unchanged, with Jagdeep Singh Deo still in charge of housing, local government and town and country planning while Soon Lip Chee continues to hold the youth and sports portfolios.

Chow said there would be some overlap between the different portfolios but each would have its own focus.

“This overlap will enable to us to work in synergy to provide horizontal support rather than vertically to generate various impact,” he said.

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