June 14, 2023
GEORGE TOWN – The highly anticipated state election for all six states will most likely take place in August, according to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
Chow predicted that it could happen as late as the second week of August, or five to six weeks after the proposed dissolution of the Penang legislative assembly on June 28.
“It’s up to the Election Commission to pick the date. There’s a possibility that it would be held in August,” he said during an exclusive interview with The Star.
Chow will be having an audience with Penang Governor Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak on June 27 to seek permission to dissolve the state legislative assembly the following day (June 28).
It was reported earlier that the six states, including Penang, had already reached an understanding to dissolve their respective state assemblies to pave the way for a simultaneous state poll.
The Selangor state assembly automatically expires on June 25, followed by Kelantan on June 27, Terengganu on June 30, Kedah on July 3, Negri Sembilan on July 1, and Penang on Aug 2.
Universiti Sains Malaysia Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS) director Assoc Prof Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk said the polling date in August would give both the unity government and the opposition an advantage.
“I think both coalitions will mobilise their supporters as much as they can. The process has actually started now,” he said.
Azeem Fazwan said the unity government, however, could use the spirit of patriotism and love for the country to rally support from voters during the Merdeka month.
Meanwhile, Chow said his administration would still have time to hold two exco meetings before the dissolution of the state assembly.
“These are normal meetings and I don’t see any big agendas to be tabled for discussion,” he said.
When asked if he and his state executive councillors (exco) will be moving out of their current office in Komtar, Chow said the law would allow them to resume their roles as caretaker government.
“I think we already discussed this matter with our legal adviser, and he advised us that we can still remain in office for now.
“During this period, the caretaker government won’t be holding any meetings or making any new decisions that will bind the next state government.
“Our role as caretaker government will only be an administrative one, to see that matters that have already been decided before the dissolution are carried out,” he said.
Chow said that personally, he felt that after nomination day, all state excos should vacate their offices.
“Even for those who are contesting, I believe even during the campaigning period they won’t be coming back to the office, although by convention they are still the caretaker exco.
“Another reason is that there will be no meetings and no official matters to deal with,” he added.
The Batu Kawan MP said he would also like to defend his Padang Kota state constituency if party leaders are in agreement.
Chow won the Padang Kota constituency in the past three general elections, from 2008 to 2018.
A total of 40 seats will be up for grabs in the coming Penang state election.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Deputy Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said the state will announce the date of the dissolution of the Kelantan State Assembly tomorrow.
“The Mentri Besar is expected to make an announcement on the dates of dissolution after chairing the state exco meeting,” said Mohd Amar.
Negri Sembilan has also agreed to dissolve its state assembly on June 30.