Penang to seek NSC’s permission to hold state assembly meeting

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow during a press conference at the St Giles Wembley Hotel in George Town March 29, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow during a press conference at the St Giles Wembley Hotel in George Town March 29, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, March 30 — The Penang government will be sending an official letter to the National Security Council (MKN) to obtain permission to hold a State Legislative Assembly meeting.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said Section 15(1)(b) of the Emergency Ordinance provides for state assembly meeting to be called even though Parliament is not sitting through the recommendation of the Yang Dipertua Negeri to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“Through a process of consultation between the Yang Dipertua Negeri and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, where the recommendation is not binding on him, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may make any appropriate consideration under Section 15 (1) (b) of the Emergency Ordinance.

“As the powers will be applied in accordance with the Emergency Ordinance in relation to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, then, the proposal to set a date to convene the state assembly session should be submitted to the MKN in advance for further action,” he said in his closing remarks at an engagement session between the State Executive Council (Exco) and state assemblymen here today.

The engagement session which began yesterday was held as a replacement of the Penang state legislative assembly meeting which could not be held during an emergency.

Nonetheless, Chow said if members of the assembly felt the engagement session is more suitable to held, the state government is open to suggestion to hold it again if the state assembly could not meet in the next few months.

In this regard, he replied to a question from Air Puteh assemblyman, Lim Guan Eng on whether the eligible age limit of 21 years for citizens as candidates of the State Legislative Assembly should be lowered to 18 years.

Chow said Penang Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee is taking the appropriate actions including engagement sessions and surveys and generally the feedback supports the matter.

“But for citizens aged 18 to become candidates in state assembly election, will require an amendment to the state constitution as the matter touched on the eligibility of candidates which is currently fixed at 21 years and above.

“We will follow up the matter and if possible, it will be tabled when the assembly meets again,” he said. — Bernama

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