Chong: DUN sitting on Monday, where are the bills to be tabled?

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, Feb 12: Why have the opposition assemblymen (ADUNs) yet to receive copies of the bills which are to be tabled in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting coming Monday (Feb 14)?

This was the question posed by Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen when he pointed out that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) ADUNs have clearly seen the content of the bills but none of the opposition YBs have.

“Yesterday, YB (Dato Sri) Abdul Karim (Rahman Hamzah) indicated that there will be some ‘interesting bills’ to be tabled in the coming DUN sitting, but he declined to disclose the content of the bills.

“That means, copies of the bills are ready but the (GPS) government refused to give prior notice or more time to the ADUNs to read the bills before the debates,” he said in a statement today.

Only learning from today’s press conference by Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar that there will be five bills to be tabled, Chong questioned the government’s intention to withhold the bills from the opposition until the last minute.

He said according to basic principles of parliamentary democracy, elected representatives must be given ample time to vet any bills to be tabled and do proper research before the debates.

“With the sitting starting on Monday and debates on the bills to be on Tuesday and Wednesday, yet copies of the bills not forwarded to the ADUNs before the sitting, the GPS government is depriving the ADUNs sufficient time to go through the bills before the debates thereon start.”

Chong, who is also Padungan assemblyman, urged the government and the Speaker to respect the institution of Sarawak DUN by adopting the best practices of parliamentary democracy despite GPS’ 76-seat majority in DUN.

The arrogance of this super-majority should not be allowed to destroy the integrity and sanctity of Sarawak DUN, the oldest legislative body in Malaysia, he added.

The First Session of the First Term of the 19th Sarawak DUN Sitting will be held for only three days from Feb 14 to 16.

The bills scheduled to be tabled are the Supplementary Supply (2021) Bill, 2022, Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Interpretation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Sago and Nipah Development Board Bill, 2022, and Sarawak Rubber Industry Board Bill, 2022. — Dayakdaily