State Speaker: Penang state assembly cannot be held during state of emergency, high Covid-19 cases

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will not be allowed to hold its state legislative assembly sitting amid the state of emergency and high numbers of Covid-19 cases.

State Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang said this following a response from the National Security Council (NSC) on an application submitted for the meeting to be held.

"I wrote an application on April 23 to NSC director-general, Prime Minister's Department to have the first meeting of the fourth term of the 14th Penang state legislative assembly while the Emergency Ordinance is enforced.

"The application was made after obtaining the legal opinion of the Attorney General's Chambers through the State Legal Adviser.

"Through the application, I expressed my intention to hold a state legislative assembly conference in June 2021 to approve motions of election candidates aged 18 and above as well as several other pending motions.

"On May 20, the NSC director-general responded to the application after reviewing it during a meeting with the emergency management technical committee and emergency conference of NSC.

"The NSC expressed that while the Emergency Ordinance is still in force, the Penang state assembly meeting is not suitable to be implemented at this time as the number of Covid-19 cases nationwide remains high, with concern that any activity in the form of gatherings in large groups should be avoided.

"In this regard, I hope the Emergency Ordinance can be terminated as soon as possible so that the Penang state legislative assembly can return to function as enshrined in the state Constitution, and the first meeting of the fourth term of the 14th Penang state legislative assembly will be scheduled soon after the Emergency Ordinance ends," Law said in a statement on Friday (June 11).

In October last year, Penang held its state legislative assembly sitting and it was broadcast live through the official website of the assembly,

In April last year, Penang recorded the shortest state assembly meeting in its history, as per the constitutional requirement for a session to be held within six months of the last sitting.

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