GEORGE TOWN, April 26 ― Penang Governor Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas has proposed that a new Penang administrative and legislative assembly complex be built.
He said there is a need to build a new space to place both the state administrative centre and legislative assembly within the same site.
“It is time that the state government seriously consider building a new legislative assembly building together with the state administrative assembly in the same complex,” he said in his speech at the opening of the state legislative assembly in Dewan Sri Pinang today.
He said the state government can build the complex in a strategically-located piece of reclaimed land, but he did not specify where.
The state administrative centre has been located in Komtar since 1986, with the recent fire incident in the high-rise building causing panic, discomfort and highlighting the obvious weaknesses of the building, he said.
He a new building is needed due to the increased number of civil servants.
He said this year, the legislative assembly is being held in Dewan Sri Pinang due to the building being closed for restoration works.
“Looking back, in 2015, I have proposed that a new legislative assembly building to be built as the current legislative assembly building was in use since 1959,” he said.
Back in 1959, there were only 24 assemblymen while,there are now a total of 40 assemblymen.
He also welcomed the state’s move to reform and renew its political system by implementing a two-term limit for the chief minister’s post.
“This effort is seen as an effective measure for check and balance and more importantly, can prevent abuse of power,” he said.
Abdul Rahman praised the state’s financial management for recording an increase in revenue of RM230 million in 2018 compared to 2017.
“The financial statement showed the total revenue collected was RM987 million in 2018 compared to RM757 million in 2017,” he said.
However, the state expenditure increased by RM299 million from RM706 million in 2017 to RM1 billion in 2018.
The state’s reserves dropped slightly from RM1.092 billion in 2017 to RM1.074 billion in 2018.
“This achievement showed that the state government’s financial management was responsible, and based on competency, accountability and transparency,” he said.
The state’s 2018 financial statement was submitted to the Auditor General on January 16 for auditing.
Penang recorded a total investment of RM5.78 billion in which a total RM3.69 billion are foreign investment in 2018.
“The manufacturing sector will continue to be the main economic thrust for Penang,” he said.
Abdul Rahman also mentioned Penang’s iconic ferry service which needed to be improved.
The ferry is now being managed by Rapid Ferry Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Prasarana under the Finance Ministry.
“The state government plans to discuss with Prasarana and the finance minister to look at improving the ferry service,” he said.
On the state’s effort to transform the education sector and move towards Industry 4.0, he said RM10.8 million was spent to build Phase Two of the Penang Digital Library based on the concept of Library in the Park.
“A Butterworth Digital Library will be built in Seberang Perai at the cost of RM6.6 million and will be open for operations in early 2020,” he said.
He said the first RM5 million Penang Islamic Digital Library (PIDL) will be completed in December this year.
The PIDL was designed to encompass five elements; peace, patience, hope, destiny and freedom.
He praised the state’s commitment to allocate funds to upgrade mosques and surau.
“The commitment can be seen in the upgrading of 31 mosques and surau in the whole state at a cost of RM5.759 million in 2018,” he said.
He then advised the assemblymen to make full use of the legislative assembly as a platform to set the direction of the state for the next four years.
He reminded the assemblymen to debate in a polite and respectful manner and in accordance with the legislative assembly regulations.