GEORGE TOWN: The May 9 polls saw Penang remain at status quo as to its political party leadership for the past 10 years, but the question on the people’s minds is: who will be the chief minister?
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has led Penang since 2008, and he contested in the Air Putih state seat and Bagan parliamentary seat for the third time running this general election.
But with Pakatan Harapan (PH) winning control of Putrajaya, there has been talk of Lim being made a federal minister. If so, Penang DAP chief Chow Kon Yeow will likely take over as chief minister.
Lim has often been seen as endorsing Chow as the next head of the state government, especially amid the uncertainty surrounding his ongoing corruption trial.
The reverse, however, could also be true: Chow, who won the Tanjong parliamentary state seat as well as the Padang Kota state seat, also stands a chance to be made a federal minister.
Lim recently announced a “succession plan” for himself but has remained vague on whether he will pursue a third term as Penang chief minister.
“I have always said Chow is my replacement and ‘bakal CM’. That is why in our plans for succession, we have asked him to be a parliamentarian in order to smoothen matters related to the federal government.
“Like it or not, we must have good relations with the federal government. Better yet, we become the federal government in the coming polls,” Lim was reported as saying on April 21.
While the official installation of the chief minister is expected next Monday, a source says the matter will also be negotiated during Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s meeting with PH leaders in Kuala Lumpur today.
The following is a brief on both likely chief minister candidates.
Lim Guan Eng, 58
Fourth Penang chief minister (2008 to present). Born in Batu Pahat, Johor. Holds an economics degree from Monash University, Australia. Became a chartered accountant in 1983. He was a bank executive prior to joining politics. In 1986, he was elected as MP for Kota Melaka, defeating former Malaysian football captain Soh Chin Aun with a majority of 17,606 votes. Current DAP secretary-general.
Exco portfolios in state government: land matters and land development; information; arts and culture; heritage and non-Muslim affairs.
Chow Kon Yeow, 60
Penang executive councillor (2008 to present). Born in Kuala Lumpur. Holds a Social Sciences degree from USM. Former political secretary to DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang (1986-1990) and current Penang DAP chief. He was a journalist before entering politics.
Exco portfolios in state government: local government, traffic management and flood mitigation.
FMT has contacted both leaders for comment and is awaiting a response.