FORMER Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the media and civil societies need to play an even larger and more crucial role of providing checks and balances with the Opposition strength in the Penang state assembly being much reduced.
“It is hoped that new Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and his administration would be more open and responsive to the media and civil society in the true spirit of democracy,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Congratulating Chow on his appointment, Dr Koh said Chow and his team have the daunting task of delivering a better quality of life to the people.
This, he said could be done through more environment-friendly development, better traffic management and more affordable housing, besides sustaining healthy and inclusive economic growth.
“Now that the Federal Government is also under the same Pakatan Harapan coalition, it is hoped that there will be much less politicking and blame game between federal and state.
“More time, attention and efforts can be focused on initiatives for the benefit of the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Batu Uban assemblyman Dr T. Jayabalan of PKR has proposed the formation of a caucus comprising former Pakatan Harapan assemblymen to give ideas and to keep a watch on the Penang Government on matters such as environment, floods, transportation and housing.
He said the caucus was necessary since there were only three Opposition members in the 40-seat state assembly with two of them being new faces.
The new faces are Permatang Berangan assemblyman Nor Hafizah Othman of Barisan Nasional and Penaga’s Mohd Yusni Mat Piah of PAS.
Sungai Dua assemblyman Muhamad Yusoff Mohd Noor of Barisan is a two-term assemblyman.
Dr Jayabalan hoped the caucus would articulate its views without fear or favour.
“This is what the rakyat wants. I feel we can still contribute our ideas to make Penang a better place for everyone,” he said.
In congratulating Chow, he said state government should no longer blame the Federal Government for inadequate funding for flood mitigation or housing projects.
“You cannot push the blame anymore since Pakatan Harapan has formed the Federal Government. It is your duty to deliver now,” he said.
Dr Jayabalan said the caucus could opt to work with Penang Forum which is a coalition of non-government organisations.