DayakDaily’s forum-debate deemed a success, audience hopes for more in future

A member of the audience (left) poses for a group photo with GPS Women members and elected reps Nancy (second from left), Rohani (centre), Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah (second from right) and Sharifah Hasidah (right).

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By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, April 28: Four lawyers — three of them politicians representing different sides — got together today for one of the most intense public talks and forums ever held in Sarawak in recent years.

Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang, Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspirations (Sapa) president Dominique Ng, Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei and veteran lawyer Shankar Ram spoke their minds on Sarawak’s rights at the gathering organised by DayakDaily, which attracted about 700 people to the venue at Kuching Civic Centre.

The forum which was titled ‘Should Sarawakians support the Amendment to Federal Constitution 1(2) Bill as tabled in Parliament on April 9, 2019, in the light of MA63?’ was moderated by senior lawyer Arthur Lee.

Arthur Lee

Due to the divergent views among the speakers, the forum gained much interest from members of the audience, who queued up to ask questions after the forum.

Engagement by members of the audience was very encouraging, especially from several Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Women members led by Batang Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, Batang Lupar MP Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim and Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.

The composition of the audience was also spread between Sapa supporters and Pakatan Harapan (PH) supporters. The crowd managed to maintain order, despite a few heated moments from the GPS Women’s side when Wong was speaking.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) member Cecilia Una, who was among the audience, praised DayakDaily for organising the public forum because it was a rare occasion to see politicians from the different political sides get together to exchange their views with each other in front of the public.

What’s more, even the audience was encouraged to participate in the question-and-answer session.

“The only drawback is some minor unwarranted behaviours of some members of the audience. I think the moderator should be more strict with them. Other than that, everything was very good and very engaging,” she said.

Her husband, former PKR Sarawak State Leadership Council (MPN) secretary Stanny Embat, also agreed, adding that the forum allowed the public to exercise their rights of freedom of speech according to the law.

“Should organise more of such forum and talk in future,” he said.

Engagement by Facebook followers watching the Live video stream was also encouraging, with several users requesting for more of such forum and debate event to be organised in the future. — DayakDaily