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The Penang government will be sending an official letter to the National Security Council (NSC) to obtain permission to hold a state legislative assembly meeting.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (above) said Section 15(1)(b) of the Emergency Ordinance provides for a state assembly meeting to be called even though Parliament is not sitting through the recommendation of the state governor 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 NSC in advance for further action," he said.
Chow was speaking during an engagement session between the state executive council and state assemblypersons in George Town 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 hold, the state government is open to suggestions to hold it again if the state assembly could not meet in the next few months.
He also addressed a question by Air Putih assemblyperson Lim Guan Eng on whether the eligible age limit for candidates of the state legislative assembly should be lowered from 21 years to 18.
Chow said the Penang Youth and Sports Committee chairperson Soon Lip Chee has held engagement sessions and surveys on the topic and the general feedback is supportive.
“But for citizens aged 18 to become candidates in the state assembly election, this will require an amendment to the state constitution as the matter touches on the eligibility of candidates which is currently fixed at 21 years and above.
“We will follow up on the matter and if possible, it will be tabled when the assembly meets again,” he said.