Penang assembly shifts to Dewan Sri Pinang as 200-year-old building undergoes repair

The Penang state assembly building on Light Street. From tomorrow, the state assembly will be held at a hall some 400m down the street to make way for repairs.

GEORGE TOWN: This year’s Penang legislative assembly meeting will be held at the Dewan Sri Pinang to make way for a RM3.6 million restoration project for the 200-year-old state assembly building on Light Street.

This will be the third time the state assembly is convening outside its own building, with the most recent being in 2005, also at Dewan Sri Pinang, when the assembly building underwent repairs.

Prior to that, the state assembly was held at Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Senate Hall from 1995 to 1996 to allow for repairs as well.

Speaker Law Choo Kiang said restoration work on the state assembly building began last month and is expected to be completed on March 11 next year.

The retrofitted state assembly furniture at the Dewan Sri Pinang auditorium. Speaker Law Choo Kiang is seen briefing the press on housekeeping matters.

He said the repairs were extensive, including replacing the roof structures, restoring cracked walls, and putting an upgraded platform on the ceiling to carry out future repairs.

Law said other scopes of work included new flooring, the restoration of old doors, and the upgrading of electrical and mechanical systems.

He said the contract had been awarded to Syarikat Fajar Eratimur Sdn Bhd through an open tender by the Public Works Department.

Law said a total of RM171,000 was spent to set up the state assembly at Dewan Sri Pinang. The work includes the setting up of rooms for the speaker, chief minister and opposition leader.

Over the past few years, there had been plans to move out from the old state assembly building due to space constraints and high repair costs.

An overview of the state assembly arrangement at Dewan Sri Pinang.

There were plans to build the new assembly building at the Jelutong landfill on the island, but the proposal was not well received.

Another legislator had asked for the assembly to be moved to Batu Kawan on the mainland but received a lukewarm response.

The present state assembly building, which was built in the 1820s, housed the country’s first Recorder’s and Magistrate’s Court until 1958.

In 1959, it was converted into the state assembly building at a cost of 150,000 Malayan dollars.

The state assembly will be officiated by Governor Abdul Rahman Abbas tomorrow.