GEORGE TOWN: The names of two veteran leaders have been floated as possible candidates to be the new governor of the state.
Tan Sri Mohd Yussof Latiff and Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya are widely rumoured to be in the running to be the ceremonial head of Penang.
The tenure of the current governor, Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, 82, is ending next month, after he assumed the position in 2001.
Last Friday, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow met with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah for about an hour at Istana Negara accompanied by state exco member Zairil Khir Johari, state secretary Datuk Abdul Razak Jaafar, and state legal adviser Datuk Norazmi Mohd Narawi.
It was believed a list of names was submitted to the King at the meeting, but when contacted, Zairil said he was not at liberty to discuss the meeting and refused to elaborate.
There was speculation that the state government wanted to extend Abdul Rahman’s tenure for another two years, but there was concern that he might not be in the best of health.
A Penang Umno veteran, Mohd Yussof is currently the Penang Malay Association president, and is active in charity work while leading several non-governmental organisations.
When contacted yesterday, Mohd Yussof, 91, said he had no idea about the matter.
“I don’t know, it is quite a shock, ” he said, adding that it would be better for any confirmation to come from the state government.
Born on Aug 11,1930, his involvement in politics began in 1947, and he served as political secretary to Penang’s first chief minister Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee from 1964 to 1969.
Mohd Yusoff was among three veteran Umno members given recognition for their sacrifices in serving the party when they were bestowed the Tokoh Melayu Terbilang award in 2017.
Dr Hilmi, 72, is the former Balik Pulau MP who is said to be Perikatan Nasional’s choice for the governor’s post.
A grassroots leader who requested anonymity said Dr Hilmi would be the best candidate to replace Abdul Rahman as he was a leader with vast experience in both state and federal administrative matters.
Formerly the Balik Pulau Umno division chief, Dr Hilmi was also a former deputy health minister and had served as a state exco member during the tenure of Penang’s third chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.