THE Penang government has conducted a direct Engagement Session for its state assemblymen to ensure that check and balance is preserved.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said it was held in view that the State Legislative Assembly could not be held this April due to the Emergency proclamation by the Federal Government.
He urged Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to quickly reconvene the Parliament session.
“The State Legislative Assembly sessions in the states should also be allowed.
“We do not understand the reason why that the August House could not resume its proceedings when night markets, traders, cinemas, schools and other operators are now being given the green light to operate.
“The first day of our Engagement Session was smooth and in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“It is proven that the State Legislative Assembly can also be conducted under the relevant SOPs,” he told a press conference at St Giles Wembley Hotel today.
Earlier, Chow in his opening address, advised all elected representatives to use the Engagement Session platform wisely.
“Please execute your duties without any prejudice, and do it for the sake of the people.
“The Penang government is of the view that this engagement session is crucial to ensure check and balance in the state administration.
“As state assemblymen, we are not just mediators between the people and the government. We are also responsible for ensuring that the government institutions, departments and agencies function accordingly.
“This session will be held for two days, today and tomorrow. The state executive council (exco) members will be providing updates on ongoing projects under their respective portfolios.
“There is also a question and answer (Q&A) session for the assemblymen to raise questions. The exco members will then proceed to summarise their reply,” Chow said.
A total of 129 questions have been received from the state assemblymen, according to the dialogpenang2021.penang.gov.my system. The system comes under the purview of state’s Information and Communication Technology Division.
Chow said the state had initially planned to hold the engagement session, using both platforms – virtually and physically, in view of the then movement control order (MCO).
“It was planned that the state exco members would be physically present during the session, while the other state assemblymen would use the video conferencing platform.
“However, Penang is now under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) and we are allowed to hold the physical session in its entirety, following the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” he said.
In facing the adversity of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chow said that Penangites had placed a high expectation on the state assemblymen.
“Elected representatives from state and Opposition have their respective roles to play.
“We have to be responsive to the people’s needs and assist them in their difficulties.
“Our focus is to deal with the three main crises, namely public health, economy and politics. These three crises are a threat and they leave a huge impact on all of us,” he said.
Chow said it is important to receive a strong support from the community to achieve the Penang2030 vision and for Penang to pursue economic recovery.
Story by Edmund Lee
Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad & Darwina Mohd Daud
Video by Alissala Thian