SEBERANG PERAI, Aug 1 — The Penang state government will consider calling for a state election concurrently with the general election if the latter is held by the end of this year, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said today.
He said the state will have to reassess its earlier position to not hold the state election at the same time depending on when the general election is called.
“So if the election is called towards the end of the year, I think with so few months left, I have said earlier, we would have to reassess our earlier stand that we will not do it concurrently,” he said in a press conference after visiting several locations in Tasek Gelugor under the state’s “Jelajah Love Penang” programme.
However, Chow said the state will most probably hold the state election concurrently as the earlier stance of holding it separately was made many months ago.
When asked about DAP’s preparedness in facing the elections, Chow said the party election engine can never be completely ready.
The Penang DAP chairman said the party has not selected the candidates for the seats yet.
“So if you have no candidates, or prospective candidates, we cannot activate the machinery,” he said.
He said it will have to be under the party or the incumbent at the moment.
Chow said for now preparations are done at the party level while prospective candidates will have to get themselves ready.
Chow was replying to questions on whether Penang is ready to call for state elections concurrently with national elections after the anti-party hopping law was passed in Dewan Rakyat recently.
The bill was recently passed with a two-thirds majority.
Earlier, Chow said he will be visiting all 13 parliamentary constituencies in Penang under the Jelajah Love Penang programme.
He has visited four parliamentary constituencies so far which started off at Bukit Bendera, then Kepala Batas, Permatang Pauh and today, Tasek Gelugor.
Chow said the visits were for him to go down to the ground to get a better understanding of community issues.
“It is an opportunity for me to get close to understand the situation and during the various touch points, the district office or related agencies have to follow up on some of the issues such as the need for allocation for certain infrastructure projects and so on,” he said.
He said the Jelajah Love Penang programme is to promote and reactivate the local economy after the pandemic.
When asked if the programme is part of the party’s preparations for the coming elections, Chow said these visits do not involve large groups of politicians.
“Other than the assemblyman, there are no other politicians and we do not talk about politics in these visits,” he said.
However, he admitted that everything they do now is to prepare for the elections.
“Of course, there no denying this, but we don’t talk about politics in such visits, it is more how we can touch base, connect with the local community and listen to their requests,” he said.
He said it is more important to instil the public’s confidence in the state government.
“We want people to know that the government is with them as they face the challenges of recovery after Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.