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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, May 3: Government backbencher Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing (GPS-Meradong) today urged the state legislature (DUN) to consider the viability of enacting a Referendum Ordinance.
He reckoned this could further uphold the state’s democracy by honouring the people’s aspirations.
A referendum is a form of direct democracy that would increase political participation of the voters in between general elections, he said, adding that it could provide a clear answer for the government on any controversial policies and provide a clear mandate on the issues concerned.
“Recently, it has been the people’s voice on the ground calling for referendum on matters of paramount importance to Sarawak’s rights and interests, in particular on matters concerning the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the amendment to the Federal Constitution,” Ding said when debating the TYT speech in DUN this afternoon.
“Let Sarawak be the first state in Malaysia to lead the way with referendum, a democratic way to let our people speak their minds and wishes as propagated by our forefathers 60 years ago.”
Last month, See Chee How (PH-Batu Lintang) was quoted by a local daily as saying that he was more than willing to table a referendum bill again in the DUN provided state Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh supported the bill. See had moved a Private Member’s Bill during the DUN sitting on May 12, 2017.
He said even if his proposal was not welcomed in the House, he would not mind supporting any similar bill to be tabled by any member of the State Cabinet.
He believed that calls for a Referendum Ordinance in Sarawak arose due to the voting outcome in Parliament on April 9 that denied the Constitution Bill (Amendment 2019) the required two-thirds majority support.
Meanwhile, Ding lashed out at the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government for having made many promises during the 14th General Election (GE14) but chose to ignore and refused to admit and apologise to the people when they could not fulfil them.
“It has been almost a year, and I would like to refresh their mind on those promises, which were several guarantees for Sarawak within one year by PH Sarawak,” he said.
Some of it, Ding highlighted, are 20 per cent oil royalty, 10 per cent of the revenue will be declared Petro Cash Dividends for Sarawakians and RM1 billion for the repair and upgrading of dilapidated rural schools and provision of facilities and increased staffing. — DayakDaily