Sarawak Research and Development Council waste of resources, argues opposition

Sarawak Legislative Assembly Sitting, November 2017

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KUCHING, Nov 9: Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen said the Sarawak Research and Development Council Bill 2017 is redundant and state DAP elected representatives would reject the bill.

He said the main purpose of the council was only to coordinate research and development works which to him was redundant and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

He reasoned that the bill did not specify that only those qualified in research and development may sit on the council which means political appointment benefiting only Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters would be made.

To him, the council is the setting up of yet another statutory body because the taxpayers were the ones paying for the salaries, gratuities and pensions of those sitting on the council.

Chong opined that the money to pay council members would be better used to pay the researchers who have been underpaid, motivating them to leave the country to seek greener pastures.

Chong who is also state DAP chairman said the setting up of the council would also increase red tape and bureaucracy for researchers and that would deter researchers from undertaking research work in the state.

He also questioned Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s chairmanship of the council.

Another reason Chong gave for the rejection was that whenever a problem arises in Malaysia, the way of solving it was to set up a council or a committee to look into the issue rather than face it head on.

“Hundreds of statutory bodies have been set up and at the end of the day, the problems persist,” said Chong while debating the bill at the State Legislative Assembly sitting today.

He said this way of solving problems was the UMNO way and that the UMNO way had entered into Sarawak.

Chong then brought up the Access to Biological Resources and Benefits Sharing Bill 2017 passed in Parliament in July this year to forewarn the August House that the state is losing its rights as the act will empower the federal government to control or manage Sarawak’s biological resources. — DayakDaily