Chief Minister of Penang

The Chief Minister of Penang is the head of government in the Malaysian state of Penang. According to convention, the chief minister is the leader of the majority party or largest coalition party of the Penang State Legislative Assembly. The chief minister's official residence is Seri Teratai in the capital city of George Town.[1]

Chief Minister of Penang
Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang
Coat of arms of Penang
Chow Kon Yeow
since 14 May 2018 (2018-05-14)
Government of Penang
StyleYang Amat Berhormat
TypeHead of government
Member ofPenang State Executive Council
Reports toPenang State Legislative Assembly
ResidenceSeri Teratai
AppointerYang di-Pertua Negeri
Term lengthFive years, renewable once
Constituting instrumentConstitution of the State of Penang
Inaugural holderWong Pow Nee
Formation31 August 1957 (1957-08-31)

The 5th and incumbent chief minister is Chow Kon Yeow, who assumed office on 14 May 2018.[2] Chow succeeds his party colleague, Lim Guan Eng, who had served as the chief minister between 2008 and 2018.


According to the state constitution, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Penang shall first appoint the Chief Minister to preside over the Executive Council and requires such Chief Minister to be a member of the Legislative Assembly who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly and must not a Malaysian citizen by naturalisation or by registration. The Yang di-Pertua Negeri on the Chief Minister's advice shall appoint not more than ten nor less than four members from among the members of the Legislative Assembly.

The member of the Executive Council must take and subscribe in the presence of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri the oath of office and allegiance as well as the oath of secrecy before they can exercise the functions of office. The Executive Council shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly. The members of the Executive Council shall not hold any office of profit and engage in any trade, business or profession that will cause conflict of interest.

If a government cannot get its appropriation (budget) legislation passed by the Legislative Assembly, or the Legislative Assembly passes a vote of "no confidence" in the government, the Chief Minister is bound by convention to resign immediately. The Yang di-Pertua Negeri's choice of replacement chief minister will be dictated by the circumstances. A member of the Executive Council other than the Chief Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, unless the appointment of any member of the Executive Council shall have been revoked by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri on the advice of the Chief Minister but may at any time resign his office.

Following a resignation in other circumstances, defeated in an election or the death of a chief minister, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri will generally appoint as Chief Minister the person voted by the governing party as their new leader.


The power of the chief minister is subject to a number of limitations. Chief ministers removed as leader of his or her party, or whose government loses a vote of no confidence in the Legislative Assembly, must advise a state election or resign the office or be dismissed by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri. The defeat of a supply bill (one that concerns the spending of money) or unable to pass important policy-related legislation is seen to require the resignation of the government or dissolution of Legislative Assembly, much like a non-confidence vote, since a government that cannot spend money is hamstrung, also called loss of supply.

The chief minister's party will normally have a majority in the Legislative Assembly and party discipline is exceptionally strong in Penang politics, so passage of the government's legislation through the Legislative Assembly is mostly a formality.

Caretaker Chief Minister

The legislative assembly unless sooner dissolved by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri with His Excellency's own discretion on the advice of the chief minister shall continue for five years from the date of its first meeting. The state constitution permits a delay of 60 days of general election to be held from the date of dissolution and the legislative assembly shall be summoned to meet on a date not later than 120 days from the date of dissolution. Conventionally, between the dissolution of one legislative assembly and the convening of the next, the chief minister and the executive council remain in office in a caretaker capacity.

List of Chief Ministers of Penang

The following is the list of Chief Ministers of Penang since 1957:[3]

Colour key (for political parties):
  Alliance Party   Gerakan   Barisan Nasional   DAP/Pakatan Harapan

# Portrait Name
Political party[lower-alpha 1] Term of office Electoral
1 Wong Pow Nee[lower-alpha 2]
MLC for Bukit Mertajam, 1957−1959
MLA for Bukit Mertajam, 1959−1969
Alliance (MCA) 31 August 1957 12 May 1969

1959 (1st)
1964 (2nd)

2 Lim Chong Eu
MLC for Kelawei, 1955–1959
MLA for Kota, 1964–1974
MLA for Padang Kota, 1974–1990
Gerakan[lower-alpha 3] 12 May 1969 25 October 1990

1969 (3rd)
1974 (4th)
1978 (5th)
1982 (6th)
1986 (7th)

BN (Gerakan)
3 Koh Tsu Koon
(b. 1949)
MLA for Tanjong Bunga, 1990–2008
BN (Gerakan) 25 October 1990 11 March 2008

1990 (8th)
1995 (9th)
1999 (10th)
2004 (11th)

4 Lim Guan Eng
(b. 1960)
MLA for Air Putih, since 2008
PR (DAP) 11 March 2008 14 May 2018

2008 (12th)
2013 (13th)

5 Chow Kon Yeow
(b. 1957)
MLA for Pengkalan Kota, 1990–1995
MLA for Padang Kota, since 2008
PH (DAP) 14 May 2018 Incumbent

2018 (14th)


  1. This column names only the Chief Minister's party. The state government he heads may be a complex coalition of several parties and independents; those are not listed here.
  2. Wong Pow Nee was formally appointed as first chief minister of Penang on 31 August 1957 since the proclamation of Malaya independence. He was re-elected to Penang State Legislative Assembly and re-appointed as chief minister in 1959 which is on the year Malaya first general election was held.
  3. When Lim Chong Eu took the oath of office in 1969, Gerakan was under the Opposition at federal level before they joined the Barisan Nasional in 1973.


  1. "myPenang". Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  2. "Chow Kon Yeow sworn in as Penang CM". Free Malaysia Today. 2018-05-14. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  3. Penang Accessed 12 June 2010
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