After polls, Malaysia’s 6 states begin installing leaders, with Penang taking lead

Under the Malaysian federation, the respective state leaders will later form their state Cabinets, or executive committees, to set local policies and budget.

Hazlin Hassan

Hazlin Hassan

The Straits Times


Mr Chow Kon Yeow (left) from the Democratic Action Party was sworn in as chief minister of Penang for a second term. PHOTO: BERNAMA/THE STRAITS TIMES

August 14, 2023

ALOR SETAR – The winning political coalitions in Malaysia’s just-concluded elections in six states geared up on Sunday for the installation of their respective state leaders.

Mr Chow Kon Yeow from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) was the first to be sworn in on Sunday, as chief minister of the northern state of Penang for a second term.

This followed a two-thirds majority win by the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) coalition in Saturday’s polls. DAP is a member of PH.

Mr Chow took the oath of office before Penang Governor Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak at the head of state’s official residence, Seri Mutiara.

Mr Chow, who is also state PH chairman, led the PH-BN coalition to a two-thirds majority victory, winning 29 of the 40 seats in the state legislature.

The coalition, which governs Malaysia with parties from Sarawak and Sabah, retained its three state assemblies of Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan in Saturday’s polls.

The opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) alliance also retained its three states in the elections, namely Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.

Under the Malaysian federation, the respective state leaders – called Menteris Besar (MB) in the nine states headed by a Malay ruler – will later form their state Cabinets, or executive committees, to set local policies and budget.

Former British colonies Penang, Melaka and Sabah call their state leaders chief ministers. The 13th Malaysian state and another former British colony, Sarawak, calls its leader premier.

In Selangor, where PH-BN won 34 of the 56 state seats, there was no date given yet on when the new MB would be sworn in.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is also PH chairman, said in July that Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari from PH linchpin Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) would be reappointed MB should PH-BN win.

In the southern state of Negeri Sembilan, the new MB is due to be sworn in on Monday at 3pm, said PH caretaker MB Aminuddin Harun. But he did not say whether he would be reappointed.

“This is the decision of the party leadership, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” Mr Aminuddin was quoted as saying by Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia.

Mr Anwar’s PKR had previously decided that its Negeri Sembilan chief, Mr Aminuddin, should be retained as MB. PH won 17 of the 36 state seats in Negeri Sembilan, while its ally, Umno-led BN, won 14.

In the opposition camp, the PN coalition said it would soon submit the names of its MB candidates in Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan to the state rulers.

“If the sultans consent to the names, then the swearing-in ceremonies will be determined maybe in the next few days,” said PN chairman and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday evening.

A political party’s proposal to elevate a local leader as MB or chief minister needs the consent of the respective state rulers.

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, secretary-general of PN lead faction Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), has indicated that it would retain its two MBs in Kedah and Terengganu.

Kedah’s caretaker MB is the blunt-speaking Sanusi Md Nor, while Terengganu is helmed by the cerebral Samsuri Mokhtar.

PN won all its three states with a super-majority. The swearing-in ceremony for Kedah is slated for Monday. Kedah was won with 33 out of 36 state seats, while PN took all 32 state seats in Terengganu.

In the east coast state of Kelantan, where PN won 43 out of the 45 seats contested, a new MB to replace PAS’ Datuk Ahmad Yakob is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday.

Mr Takiyuddin said the new MB and his deputy ought to be a combination of a cleric and a technocrat.

“We expect the swearing-in of the Kelantan Menteri Besar on Aug 15. Nonetheless, it depends on the situation,” said Mr Ahmad, who is stepping down after 10 years as MB due to health issues.

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