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KUCHING, July 25: Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi has proposed that Saratok MP Ali Biju, who is an Iban, be appointed as Second Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development.
Nanta told Parliament that for the first time since the formation of Malaysia, there was no Iban representation in the federal cabinet.
“This is the first time that there is no Iban, the biggest ethnic group in Sarawak, in the federal cabinet. There should at least be a deputy minister,” Nanta told DayakDaily.
He said when Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the government, it gave a lot of hope to the people.
“However, after setting up the government, there is none from the Iban community. So, I hope that for the people of Sarawak and the Dayak community, let Saratok MP Ali Biju be given the opportunity to be the Second Deputy Minister for Rural and Regional Development.
“He is very senior in his party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat). He is a state assemblyman and now a MP. He is very qualified,” said Nanta, adding that he made this recommendation because rural development is crucial to Sarawak.
“Even though he may be from PKR, I would give him full support,” said Nanta.
On the issue of attendance in Parliament, Nanta said parliamentarians from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) were all present.
Nanta, who was the one to remind the Speaker there was not enough quorum during the after-lunch session yesterday, said all 19 GPS MPs were in the Parliament complex.
“I am taking their attendance. We are all here. Sometimes, we may not be in the Dewan itself because we may be outside, discussing with research officers. But we are all here,” he gave assurance.
On the absence of ministers and deputy ministers from Pakatan Harapan (PH) in Parliament, Nanta did not condemn them because he understood that as ministers and deputy ministers, there were many duties outside Parliament.
“Before this, PH always made a lot of noise when the ministers and deputy ministers did not attend Parliament. Now they should realise that ministers and deputy ministers have duties outside Parliament, and it is inevitable that they miss Parliament some times,” he opined.
Yesterday, when the afternoon session convened, as the Speaker was calling for the Bagan Serai MP to give his debate on the royal address, Nanta interjected and reminded the Speaker there was not enough quorum in the august House.
Under Standing Order 13, there must be at least 26 out of the 222 MPs present to meet the quorum for Parliament to convene. Attendance of MPs has become an issue in this first Parliament sitting since PH took over the federal government. — DayakDaily