List of Chief Ministers of Penang

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Chief Minister of Penang
Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang
Lim Guan Eng1.jpg
Lim Guan Eng

since 11 March 2008
Government of Penang
Style Yang Amat Berhormat (The Most Honourable)
Member of Penang State Executive Council
Reports to Penang State Legislative Assembly
Residence Seri Teratai at Jalan Macalister (primary)
Bungalow at Jalan Pinhorn (secondary)
Seat Komtar Tower
Appointer Abdul Rahman Abbas
as Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Penang
Term length While commanding the confidence of the Penang State Legislative Assembly
With State Elections held no more than five years apart
Constituting instrument Constitution of the State of Penang
Inaugural holder Wong Pow Nee
Formation 31 August 1957; 58 years ago (1957-08-31)
Deputy Rashid Hasnon
P. Ramasamy

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 4th and current Chief Minister of Penang is Lim Guan Eng, who took office on 11 March 2008.


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 naturalization 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 an election of the lower house 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) 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 Malaysian politics, so passage of the government's legislation through the Legislative Assembly is mostly a formality.

Caretaker Chief Minister[edit]

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[edit]

The following is the list of Chief Ministers of Penang since 1957:[1]

Colour key
(for political parties)
  Alliance Party (defunct)
  Pakatan Rakyat (defunct)
Chief Minister Term of Office
Portrait Name
Political Party Took office Left office Days
1 Wong Pow Nee
MLC for Bukit Mertajam, 1957−1959[Note 1]
MLA for Bukit Mertajam, 1959−1969
Alliance (MCA) 31 August 1957 12 May 1969 4272
2 Lim Chong Eu
MLC for Kelawei, 1955–1959
MLA for Kota, 1964–1974
MLA for Padang Kota, 1974–1990
Gerakan[Note 2] 12 May 1969 25 October 1990 7836
(2) BN (Gerakan)
3 Koh Tsu Koon
(born 1949)
MLA for Tanjong Bunga, 1990–2008
BN (Gerakan) 25 October 1990 11 March 2008 6347
4 Lim Guan Eng1.jpg Lim Guan Eng
(born 1960)
MLA for Air Puteh, since 2008
PR (DAP) 11 March 2008 Incumbent 2764
(4) DAP
(4) PH (DAP)[Note 3]


  1. ^ Wong Pow Nee was formally appointed as first chief minister of Penang in 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.
  2. ^ When Lim Chong Eu took the oath of office in 1969, Gerakan was under the Opposition before they joined the Barisan Nasional in 1973.
  3. ^ On 23 September 2015, Lim Guan Eng announces Pakatan Harapan as the new state government.


  1. ^ Penang Accessed 12 June 2010