by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Thursday, June 10, 1993:
DAP proposes amendment of the six-month rule in the Penang State Constitution to a three-month rule whereby the Penang State Assembly must meet once in at least three months
DAP proposes that the six-month rule in the Penang State Constitution requiring the State Assembly to meet at least once every six-months should be amended into a three-month rule requiring the Penang State Assembly to meet at least once every three months.
Such an amendment will make the Penang State Government more democratic, accountable and answerable to the State Assembly representing the people of Penang.
Such a constitutional amendment is pertinent in view of the undemocratic and unconstitutional attempt by the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, to violate and circumvent the six-month rule by separating the official opening of the Penang State Assembly from its working State Assembly sitting by eleven days.
In the past 30 months, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon had been guided by two considerations in fixing State Assembly meetings:
Firstly, to avoid having a State Assembly meetings as long as constitutionally permissible – i.e. once in every six months;
Secondly, to arrange the Penang State Assembly to clash with Parliamentary meetings.
This time, however, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon could not arrange a State Assembly meeting which fulfils both conditions – for the there is no June meeting of the Dewan Rakyat this year because of the later official opening of Parliament. The next meeting of Dewan Rakyat will begin on July 19, which is over seven months from the last Penang State Assembly meeting.
Instead, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon tried to circumvent the six-month rule by arranging for the working State Assembly meeting well in excess of the six-month period as required by the Penang State Constitution.
The six-month rule is important in keeping the State Government on its toes by holding it to State Assembly accountability – and responsibilities State Governments would not hold State Assembly meetings once in six months but once in every three or four months.
The amendment of the Penang State Constitution to provide for a three-month rule to replace the six-month rule will end all such undemocratic and unconstitutional practices.
I hope Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the Penang State Exco are prepared to support the DAP proposal that the Penang State Constitution be amended to provide that the State Assembly should meet at least once in every three months.