Aspirasi: Insipid DUN sitting

Lina Soo

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KUCHING, Nov 14: Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo opines that the November 2020 State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting is insipid, apart from the outcome of the amendment on Article 16 of the Sarawak Constitution.

Soo, in a press statement today, said Sarawakians were relieved as there was no announcement on the dissolution of DUN, as every Sarawakian was reeling from the upheavals created by the Covid-19 pandemic and struggling to cope with the second wave, let alone think about facing the health risks were the Sarawak election is to be held this year.

According to her, with the State Budget 2021 tabled by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and projects were bandied about, there is a scepticism over whether the economic spin-offs would revitalise the economy and actually provide economic impetus.

She noted apart from the cash handouts to the civil service, there was no effort to put spending power into the hands of the ordinary people who are facing great difficulties in making ends meet.

“The dullness of the DUN session would have permeated the session if not for the burning hot issue of who is a Sarawakian to qualify for election to DUN under Article 16 of the Sarawak Constitution, which stipulates that any Malaysia citizen who resides in Sarawak for a period of time is eligible to be elected to DUN.

“By this qualification, this would mean that Malayans and Sabahans can participate in Sarawak elections if he or she has lived in Sarawak for a length of time. After heated debate, Article 16 was amended to state that only a Sarawakian by virtue of having been born to one or both Sarawak parents, and residing in Sarawak is eligible to be elected to DUN.

“This is good law because this amendment means that Malayans and Sabahans cannot be elected to DUN as a lawmaker, or even go on to hold the highest office in the land. The original law was flawed and defective; if there is any imperfection in the amendment, at least we have closed the door to any Malayan or Sabahan aspiring to participate in Sarawak elections in the near future,” she said.

Meanwhile, Soo also pointed out that another issue was when an opposition Adun spoke on racial discrimination in the Sarawak civil service and the Speaker saw fit to expunge her speech.

“If an ADUN representative cannot speak on inequality and discrimination, it can be said the Speaker is not upholding the sanctity of our DUN and making a mockery of the highest lawmaking institution in our land,” she added.

What is also regrettable, she continued, is there is no update on the status with respect to the Malaysia Agreement vis-a-vis federal-state relations.

“What is happening now? As Sarawakians would like to know as of right. The progress status has to be made known to Sarawakians as it concerns the rights of Sarawak and our future.

“Avoiding the issue under the cloak of secrecy is a lame act for the Sarawak government to take, and the people of Sarawak will not forget the promises of Malaysia Agreement pertaining to Sarawak rights when it comes to judging the performance of the government come election,” she said.

At the same time, Soo also highlighted the lack of effort to get back Sarawak’s petroleum rights and territorial integrity pertaining to the State Continental Shelf which has been reduced to only three nautical miles.

She asserted Aspirasi has been calling on the DUN to reject and repudiate the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) and the Territorial Sea Act to affirm the State ownership and economic rights over its oil and gas, and to get back the State territorial boundary pre-Malaysia.

“No Adun has displayed any commitment to take back our rights over our petroleum resource and our territorial sea boundary. Clawing back five per cent in petroleum sales tax is nothing to crow about as it  is only at best a temporary measure and is no permanent solution to restore our ownership rights over our oil.

“This is most regrettable and will be remembered for generations to come why our elected lawmakers are taking no action to restore our sovereignty over our oil and territorial boundary. This continual sell-out of Sarawak is to be castigated to remain a black mark on every Adun member serving in DUN today,” she said. – DayakDaily.