Sarawak still lagging despite 150 years of having a DUN, say opposition leaders

KUCHING, Jan 30: As the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN), or the General Council or Council Negeri as it was known in its early days celebrated its 150th anniversary, Opposition leaders here express their disappointment over many pressing issues in the state.

“There is a lack of proper infrastructure, especially road infrastructure. More than 50 years after we formed the federation of Malaysia, the road connectivity in the smaller divisions and rural areas still leave much to be desired,” State PKR chief Baru Bian said in a press statement

The Ba Kelalan state assemblyman, however is proud that any of the ethnic languages in Sarawak is allowed to be spoken during DUN proceedings, which is a reflection of the Sarawak of our forefathers, in which the diverse ethnicity and background of the various communities were widely accepted and respected.

Baru also pointed out that there are many schools in the state in dilapidated condition, the lack of hospitals and clinics, and lack of power and treated water supply in rural areas even though the state has dams that produce more energy than the state needs.

Last, Baru said it is a great disappointment that the present state government did not consider it appropriate to allocate time for the opposition members to speak on such an auspicious occasion, which is a celebration of all Members and the people of Sarawak.

“It is an irony when we say that we are celebrating our 150th anniversary of the DUN and as the oldest in the country, yet the BN government is too immature to allow ‘free speech’ for members of this August House. I look forward to the day when we can truly say that we are a government of the people, for the people and by the people,” he said.

Meanwhile, DAP Sarawak Youth Chief Mordi Bimol expressed his disappointment concerning the welfare of the people in Sarawak.

“There are uncountable areas in Sarawak where there is still no access to electricity, clean water, good roads and what more phone lines and Wi-Fi, which is the most important tool to get in touch with the outside world for news and information from around the globe.

He also suggested increasing the number of sitting days from seven days to one month per session as the number of ADUNs has increased to 82. He said it will surely be more efficient and meaningful to have longer sitting days so that each ADUN can participate in the debate and bring fourth the issues in their constituencies respectively.

Other suggestions included ensuring that the State Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is chaired by a member of the opposition in order to bring check and balance to the government and empowering the role of the state legislative branch by increasing the number of standing committees. — DayakDaily