Padungan rep’s motion shot down as it involves only an individual, not of public interest, says Kota Sentosa rep

Yap (seated, centre) speaking to reporters during a press conference held on the sidelines of DUS on May 15, 2024.

By Lian Cheng and Ashley Sim

KUCHING, May 15: The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUS) Speaker shot down the motion of Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen (PH-DAP) regarding the dispute between a durian hawker and a local council on the basis that the motion fails to meet the requirement of “Public Importance under Standing Order 15” as it involves only the affair of an individual.

Kota Sentosa assemblyman Wilfred Yap said that the importance of the matter must be public in nature and must transcend the circumstances of the particular case so as to have a more general significance.

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Chong on May 13 moved a private member motion to direct Kuching South City Council (MBKS) to review its decision to cease the trading of an aggrieved hawker at the Padungan Seasonal Fruit Market under Definite Matter of Urgent Public Importance of Standing Order 15.

Yap said the dispute between MBKS and the hawker does not meet the criteria of public interest, as it concerns the dissatisfaction of a single hawker and lacks urgency since the decision was made in December last year.

“The hawker in question first approached YB Chong in December of last year, and YB Chong could have assisted the aggrieved hawker in applying to the High Court for judicial review if he was genuinely concerned about the legality of MBKS’s decision-making process and prayed that such decision be quashed.

“As an experienced lawyer, YB Chong Chieng Jen, who also has many lawyers serving as his special assistants, could have easily offered his legal services to assist the aggrieved hawker in Court through judicial review to have the MBKS decision quashed,” said Yap in a press conference held on the sidelines of DUS today.

Yap also suggested alternative avenues for addressing the hawker’s grievance, such as seeking judicial review or lodging a complaint with the Sarawak Ombudsman.

“The Sarawak Ombudsman is an independent body and is primarily a guardian of correct behaviour. His function is to safeguard the interests of citizens by ensuring administration according to law, discovering instances of maladministration, and eliminating defects in administration.

“Methods of enforcement include bringing pressure to bear on the responsible authority, publicising a refusal to rectify injustice or a defective administrative practice, bringing the matter to the attention of the legislature, and instigating a criminal prosecution or disciplinary action,” he said. — DayakDaily

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