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Monday, August 30, 2021

Get cracking on new assembly building, says Penang governor

 

The Penang assemblymen, with governor Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak in the centre, holding up the Jalur Gemilang to commemorate Merdeka Day tomorrow. (CM’s Office pic)

GEORGE TOWN: Penang’s governor today called on the government to speed up plans for a new state assembly building to allow the legislature to function more effectively.

Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak said the state assembly needed more space and comfort, as the present building was over two centuries old and plagued with structural problems.

Opening the new session of the state assembly, he said: “It is also my hope that the new building will be a landmark of pride for the people in supporting parliamentary democracy.

“I hope the chief minister, state executive council and senior government officials will take appropriate action.”

Fuzi’s predecessor, Abdul Rahman Abbas, had similarly called for a new assembly building in 2015 and 2019.

The original assembly floor was designed to accommodate 24 assemblymen in 1959. The number of representatives has since grown to 40

The building at Light Street was set up in the 1820s and housed the country’s first “recorder’s and magistrate’s court” until 1958. A year later, it was converted into the assembly building at a cost of 150,000 Malayan dollars.

In 2019, the state government decided to renovate the building at an estimated cost of RM3.6 million and moved the sittings to Dewan Sri Pinang down the street, where they were held for about two years.

Last November, the assembly building was handed back over to the state after repairs were carried out, including to its roof, which had leaked at least twice before during proceedings.

Slow economy offset by encouraging foreign investments

In his maiden address to the assembly, Fuzi said although the Covid-19 pandemic had significantly impacted on the state’s revenue, and the state GDP had also dropped by 2.1% last year, increases in investment in the electronics manufacturing sector were encouraging and had offset some of the effects of the bearish economy.

He said foreign investment in manufacturing worth RM14.1 billion involving 166 projects this year was expected to create 13,268 job opportunities for the local population.

Separately, he said he was confident the government would be able to tackle flash floods through mitigation projects being implemented across the state, with 11 such projects completed in May.

Five more projects were expected to be completed this year, while one on the south of Penang International Airport worth RM9.5 million was expected to begin soon, with another at Van Praagh Close in October, he said.

The assembly will reconvene on Wednesday for debates. - FMT

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