Chow Kon Yeow Is Penang's New Chief Minister. Here Are 5 Things You Must Know About Him

He is the state's fifth Chief Minister.

Cover image via Sayuti Zainudin/Malay Mail Online

Meet Chow Kon Yeow. He's the new Penang Chief Minister.

The Penang DAP chief was sworn in as the state's fifth Chief Minister today, 14 May, before Penang Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas.

He succeeds DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who was the former Penang Chief Minister for two terms.

In the 14th Malaysian General Election (GE14), 60-year-old Kon Yeow contested and won the Tanjong parliamentary seat and Padang Kota state seat.

Here are a few things to know about Kon Yeow:

1. Kon Yeow hails from Kuala Lumpur and he went to Penang to further his studies

After completing his tertiary studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), the Bachelor in Social Sciences (Hons) degree holder stayed on in Penang.

2. He worked as a reporter before jumping into a life-long career in politics

Kon Yeow was a former journalist at the now-defunct The National Echo, one of Malaysia's earliest English newspaper.

"Way back in 1983 to 1984, a group of young people joined The National Echo. I joined immediately after my graduation from USM as a reporter but later was assigned to the sub-editor desk," he said in a Facebook post published in 2016.

3. He went to an interview to become Lim Kit Siang's secretary at the suggestion of Kapiti mayor K. Gurunathan

Chow Kon Yeow with Lim Kit Siang during the 2014–15 Malaysia floods.

Image via 放眼看大马/Facebook

"I was helping as a volunteer in the 1986 election. Later when Kit Siang was looking for a political secretary, Guru suggested I go for an interview and the rest is history," Kon Yeow wrote in a Facebook post congratulating Gurunathan on his victory in 2016, when the latter became the elected mayor of Kapiti Coast District Council for the 2016-2019 triennium.

Kon Yeow went on to become the political secretary to Lim Kit Siang from October 1986 until 1990.

4. He is one of the most senior DAP leaders in Penang. Kon Yeow was first appointed as the Penang DAP chairman in 1999.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) Penang chairman Lim Guan Eng named Chow Kow Yeow as the state's fifth chief minister yesterday.

Image via Mikail Ong/NST

Kon Yeow first contested in the general election in 1990 when he won the Pengkalan Kota state seat, although he failed to defend it in 1995.

He returned as MP for Tanjong in 1999, but lost the Padang Kota state seat that he contested in that same year. It was the same story in 2004, when he defended the Tanjong parliamentary seat in 2004 but lost in Padang Kota once again.

Kon Yeow finally won both the Tanjong parliamentary seat and Padang Kota state seat in 2008. He returned as the Padang Kota state assemblyman by winning in the 2013 election.

During the state party polls in 2015, Kon Yeow got the highest amount of votes and retained his position as the Penang DAP Chairman.

He was the Penang State Executive Councillor for Local Government, Traffic Management, and Flood Mitigation for two terms.

5. Guan Eng previously endorsed Kon Yeow as a leader who is able to take Penang to greater heights

Lim Guan Eng (left) handing over the keys to the Penang Chief Minister's office to Chow Kon Yeow yesterday, 13 May.

Image via CM Lim Guan Eng

In an interview with The Malaysian Insight last year, Guan Eng spoke about his relationship with Kon Yeow, as he talked about how they complemented and trusted each other despite their differences in leadership styles.

"Sometimes Chow pulls my jacket if I am going to fast but when we need to go fast, he will quicken his steps.

"Yes, he can lead Penang to greater heights together with the team. We have the political stability and common goals and directions," Guan Eng was quoted saying in the report.

In March 2018, Guan Eng also indicated that Kon Yeow was his possible successor should he be convicted of the corruption charges he faced.

Following the swearing-in ceremony today, Kon Yeow has vowed to work on three major projects to be implemented in the state in his first 100 days of taking office

Image via Danial Saad/NST

New Straits Times (NST) reported that the three major projects are the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), Flood Mitigation Project, and Affordable Housing Project.

"We will focus on priority projects in the next 100 days, as promised in our election manifesto.

"I will also ensure pre-approved projects by the local councils will be implemented and also improve the delivery system of the Penang government’s programmes to the people," Kon Yeow said in a press conference at Komtar, as reported by Free Malaysia Today.

Meanwhile, Lim Guan Eng was recently named as Malaysia's Finance Minister:

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