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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 11: In a rare move, State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar has expunged the speech of Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong only six minutes into her debate on the Supply (2021) Bill, 2020.
Asfia made the decision as the issue raised by Yong concerning the racial imbalance in the state civil service contravened Standing Order 10.
“I do not wish to disallow this (Yong’s debate) but your whole speech is full of racial undertone and overtone. This contravenes Standing Order 10. You are talking in terms of race…,” Asfia told Yong in the august House today.
As Yong tried to explain her grounds, Asfia however urged her to move to the next point of her debate and directed the DUN secretary to expunge her earlier part of the speech from Hansard.
“Before you expunged Mr Speaker…. unless you agreed that…,” she tried to interject.
Asfia continued to direct the secretary to proceed with deleting her speech, pointing out that she had “gone on and on about races, entirely talking about races. Sarawak is very racially tolerant.”
Yong argued that she was not while emphasising that Sarawak is a state of unity, but Asfia switched off her microphone, disallowing her to continue with her debate.
Immediately in the press conference that followed, Yong expressed shock and disappointment with the reaction of Asfia.
Emphasising that the issue on racial imbalance in Sarawak’s civil service is existing and factual, she said that it was a fact that even the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem had admitted that more needed to be done to balance out the composition in the civil service.
“So, I don’t know why he (Asfia) is so sensitive but this is the fact and the voice from the people who have asked me to bring it up in the DUN,” she said, claiming that the Dayaks and Chinese would agree that it was difficult for them to get into the civil service sector.
She claimed that the situation was reflected in all the ministries’ levels and in the crème de la crème or top levels of the State’s civil service, notably the positions of the State Secretary and State Finance Secretary.
“The previous secretary (Tan Sri) Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot’s term was only two years and seven months but Datuk Morshidi Abdul Ghani was so much longer.
“For other races holding the position, the clock seemed to be tickling super fast. Maybe only a few years. And the last Chinese who held the state financial secretary position was Datuk Chin Jew Bui but only for four years,” she said.
Yong stressed that she was not trying to stir up racial issues but hoped that the state government can come out with a policy to ensure a racially balanced civil service.
“If our government can come up with a National Economic Policy to help the Malays get into the private sector, why can’t our state government come up with a similar policy to help our Dayak and Chinese friends to get into the state civil service?
“We are only asking for a fair shot. The point I wanted to stress is to please give Malay, Dayaks, Chinese and other races equal opportunities,” she said.
Congratulating Asfia on holding the post as the DUN Speaker for 20 years, Yong believed that he is very experienced and can train his deputies.
“I hope in three years time, his Deputy Speaker who is a Kelabit (Datuk Gerawat Gala) can take over the place of the current Speaker.
“The last time Sarawak had a Dayak Speaker was in 1994. That was 26 years ago,” she pointed out. – DayakDaily