‘Time-wasting’ pantun exchanges earn wrath of Pelawan rep

Wong (top left frame) raises his hand to express his dissatisfaction to Gerawat (lower right frame) over time wasted in exchange of pantun.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 11: The august House where the rakyat’s issues are supposed to be addressed has been turned into a “House of pantun” instead, an exasperated Pelawan assemblyman David Wong claimed today, during an outburst calling on the Deputy Speaker to put an end to it.

Wong, who had just about enough of precious time being wasted in the exchange of pantun or Malay poems between many honourable members in the House, thundered that this time could be better used to cover more ground in the Question-and-Answer (Q&A) session.

He pointed out his questions were not answered for two consecutive days since the start of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting on Monday (Nov 9).

“We are only allocated one hour per day for questioning (Q&A) time and all these (honourable) members came out to recite their pantun and are wasting the time.

“My question is the next (to be addressed). And two straight days and this House has become the ‘House of pantun’ than the ‘House of rakyat’. You are wasting a lot of time,” he argued in the House today after Deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala informed the members that time was up for today’s Q&A.

Wong emphasised that the questions he had submitted to the DUN should be answered as they were important for the rakyat.

“This august House is supposed to address the issue of the people, not for members to show their artistry of pantun.

“I think we have to make a ruling on this, Tuan Speaker. This is getting out of hand, I tell you.

“Every member comes out to recite a pantun and the minister reply with another pantun when we can (could have used the time to) have 20 questions answered,” he complained.

“What kind of House is this? We have to make a ruling. This is the privilege of the members,” he urged Gerawat.

Gerawat, however, emphasised that the House took note of Wong’s remarks but his decision was final as the one-hour Q&Q session had ended.

Today, the one-hour Q&A session only managed to address eight questions before it was ended to allow the second and third readings of the Supplementary Supply (2020) Bill, 2020, as well as the Resolution for Second Supplementary Estimates of Ordinary Expenditure 2020, which were passed and approved respectively.

Wong (left) and Chang speaking during a press conference at the DUN media room today (Nov 11, 2020).

Speaking at a press conference later in the DUN media room later, Wong also complained that the Dewan should provide a written reply to questions which have not been orally answered due to insufficient time.

“If they (ministers) cannot answer it orally, they should give us a written reply. But when we asked the Speaker, they said you need to ask from the respective ministers.

“We want the answers. We submitted the questions 20 days before the sitting. For what? (It is) For the ministers to have sufficient time to get the answers,” he said.

Clarifying that he had nothing against pantun, Wong however added that the honourable members can do it outside of the House in their own time and not during the Q&A where hundreds of questions need to be answered.

Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang also expressed dissatisfaction over being cut short and not given a chance to ask supplementary questions, but the House had allowed time for pantun.

“Isn’t it much more important to (let the ministers and government) know the situation on the ground? This is a waste of precious time,” she said.

Referring to one of her supplementary questions on whether an online system was available to enable eligible applicants for Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) to check on their applications and appeals, Chang expressed dissatisfaction with the reply received from Assistant Minister of International Trade, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais.

“Instead he (Naroden) gave me a reply on SMEs. I didn’t ask about SMEs, I asked about individuals. When I asked him to give me the answer again, I was cut short and not given a chance to ask my second supplementary question,” she added.

Chang hopes that the DUN Speaker will look into the matters raised by the opposition in the House and improve the proceedings. — DayakDaily