DAP does not seek to misconstrue, mislead the public

Sim Kiat Leng

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KUCHING, Nov 14: DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chien Jen and Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong’s recent statements on the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2020 did not at any time seek to misconstrue and mislead the public, asserts Sim Kiat Leng.

Sim, who is Chong’s special assistant, also finds it strange that Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei can be so assertive about Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)’s ‘good’ intention as claimed in his debate in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) and spoke on behalf of GPS.

“Chong and Yong are stating the facts respecting the original amendment which was proposed by GPS. While I agree that the Constitution of the State of Sarawak does not provide any definition for the phrase of ‘resident in the State’, it is also incorrect for Wong King to say that ‘resident in the State’ forms an interpretation that the constitution in its current form means that any Malaysian who resides in the state or as a residence of the state it can even mean reside one month or even one day until a ruling or interpretation to that effect by any court.

“By cross-referring to Section 71 of the Immigration Act in order to define ‘resident in the State’, GPS now intends to lower the threshold for the qualification of being a member of Sarawak DUN,” Sim said in a statement today.

He believed that if GPS true intention is not to ‘sell-out’ Sarawakians’ rights or open up the door for non-Sarawakians, the original proposed amendment should be phrased in clear and precise words to exclude non-Sarawakians which they failed to do so in their original proposed amendment.

Even in the legal profession, Sim pointed that there is a higher threshold for admittance to be an advocate in the High Court of Sabah & Sarawak.

“To be an advocate here, one has to show ‘Sarawak connection’ and one of the deeming provisions for such a connection is a five-year residency in Sarawak. Therefore, it is illogical for GPS to propose an amendment which allows a person to be qualified to be a member of Sarawak DUN, the highest law and policy making body in the State, at a standard lower than that of an advocate.

“Hence, the act by GPS in lowering the threshold of the qualification of members naturally will create an impression to the general public that GPS is willing to open the doors of Sarawak DUN to any Malaysian with Permanent Residence status. The intention of GPS cannot be any clearer than that,” Sim further pointed.

As such, he asserts that the amendment to the original proposal by GPS is a clear indication that DAP’s concern in the first instance was with merits. — DayakDaily