State assembly needs a new home

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Governor has proposed that a new State Legislative Assembly complex be built at the Jelutong landfill site.

Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas urged the assemblymen to debate and consider the suggestion during the current state assembly sitting which he opened yesterday.

“In my observation and my visits to some states, I learnt that almost every state has a new and modern building to cater to present and future needs.

“Therefore, I urge the state government to plan for a new building from now and to identify and get a suitable site for this,” he said in his opening speech.

He suggested that the state give due consideration to construct the building on the Jelutong landfill site.

It has previously been reported that the landfill, which was started in 1992, was closed in 2002. It is now used for the dumping of construction waste.

“The location of the site is strategic as it situated between the island and the mainland,” Abdul Rahman said.

He said the current building in Light Street here had been used since 1959 when there was only 24 state assemblymen.

“However, we now have a total of 40 state seats and are still using the same building.

“With the rapid development in the state, we need to provide better services to the people. Therefore, the current building is not enough to cater to the increased seats,” he added.

Barisan Nasional assemblymen, however, were not in favour of the proposed site.

Opposition leader Datuk Jahara Hamid (BN–Teluk Air Tawar) said Barisan agreed with the suggestion to have a new state assembly building but not at the landfill site.

“Having the state assembly building on a landfill could cause a lot of problems. The land might be not solid enough, not all the rubbish had completely decomposed and the site might be unsafe due to toxic gas emission,” she told a press conference later yesterday.

Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhamad Farid Saad said Barisan assemblymen had, in earlier state assembly sittings, also raised the issue of moving the state assembly to a new place as the current one is too congested.

“We need also to consider a safer place as the current building is too near the gates, which makes it easier for trespassers to enter,,” he said.

On five Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen who did not wear their official attire during the opening of the sitting yesterday, Jahara said that had been the “trend” of DAP since it took over the state in 2008.

“I still remember in 2008, one of their state executive councillors also did not wear his official attire.

“They did not respect the House and the Yang di-Pertua Negri. I could not understand why the state assembly speaker did not use his power to reprimand them,” she said.

The five assemblymen who did not wear their official attire were Berapit assemblyman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi, Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey, Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer, Jawi assemblyman Soon Lip Chee and Bagan Dalam assemblyman A. Tanasekaran.

Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang said it was not compulsory for the assemblymen to wear the number one uniform which is the official attire.

“As long as they are in the appropriate attire allowed by the speaker, such as the lounge suit or national attire (baju kebangsaan), this is not an issue,” he said, adding that the five assemblymen did not contravene the standing order of the assembly.

Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali was also present at the opening of the assembly sitting. The sitting proper will start on May 11, having being postponed in view of the May 7 Permatang Pauh by-election.