Rebuttal against factually inaccurate and grossly misleading article by The Edge

A factually inaccurate and grossly misleading article by The Edge entitled “Penang CM, assemblymen enter into consent orders” which was published online yesterday is a blatant discredit to what good journalism should stand for.

Being a former journalist myself, I could not find the fundamentals of facts, accuracy and fairness to all parties being present in that article. The Edge may not have been fair in their previous reports but this latest spin is perhaps their best yet in sensationalizing news at the expense of plain truth.

As I have announced on 8 October 2020, the Penang State Government’s decision to defer the tabling of the motion (in respect of declaring the few State Legislative Assembly seats as vacant pursuant to Article 14A(1) of the Penang State Constitution)in the upcoming sitting was solely guided by the fact that (“Decision”)

  1. a successful motion will result in by-elections being called for the affected seats within 60 days; and
  2. we are not willing to jeopardise the citizens’ health, safety and wellbeing by requiring them to exercise their voting rights amidst the escalating third wave of Covid-19.

We have all seen the adverse effects of the recently concluded Sabah state elections, and we will not compromise the lives of Penangites for political gains.

The Decision was made by the Penang State Executive Council on the morning of 7 October 2020, at which time we were not aware that the individuals concerned were proceeding with the filing of an injunction to stop the State Government from tabling the motion as well as an originating summons to challenge the validity of Article 14A. In fact, the cause papers were addressed to and received by the State Assembly Speaker
after the Decision was reached.

Therefore, it was wholly inaccurate for the report to state or imply that the Penang State Government or even myself, withdrew the motion upon entering into a consent order with the individuals concerned and/or at the threat of injunction application by the individuals concerned.

As for the undertaking that the State Government agrees to give a 14-day notice to the individuals before the next tabling of the motion, I would like to emphasise that the State Government has always been transparent and vocal with our effort to uphold Article 14A of the Penang State Constitution.

I have announced through my press conferences as early as 12 August 2020 and again on 8 October 2020 that we remain firm with our course of action.

We will defer the tabling of the motion to the next State Legislative Assembly sitting, or when it is safer to carry out with the by-elections without putting the electorate voters at risk.

Chow Kon Yeow
Penang Chief Minister
Media statement by Chow Kon Yeow in KOMTAR, George Town on Saturday, 10th October 2020