Thursday, 13 August 2015

Speaker Starts on Wrong Footing - No More Democracy – Dr. Jeffrey

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: “The new Speaker of the Sabah Legislature has certainly started on the wrong footing and appears to affirm Dr. Mahathir’s declaration that “Democracy in Malaysia is dead” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, commenting on the new Speaker’s ban on the word “secession” in the Assembly while reporting for duty on his first day at the Assembly.

The banning of the word “secession” is unlawful, unconstitutional and against all parliamentary norms and conventions.

Even in recent times, the British Parliament has debated on the independence of Scotland and secession from the United Kingdom.

The open discussions on Scotland’s independence and secession has resulted in the Scottish nationalists winning 56 out of 59 parliamentary seats in Scotland and the British government devolving greater autonomy and rights to Scotland than before. Even before this devolution, Scotland enjoyed many autonomous powers including having its own autonomous government and its own currency in the Scotland Pound.

There should be freedom of speech in the State Assembly and debates on secession if it come to such a situation should be allowed to be debated openly as in any mature democracy.

“Why is the new Speaker so fearful of the word “secession”?”

“Is it because of bowing to the wishes of the federal government or the Sabah Chief Minister or Umno?” asked Dr. Jeffrey.

The new Speaker should take it upon himself to find out why certain groups are voicing out the people’s unhappiness and disillusion over non-compliance of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and wanting Sabah out of the Federation or a dissolution of the merger that formed Malaysia.

By banning “secession” the Speaker will only lend credence and credibility that the federal government and Umno are treating Sabah as a colony and afraid of the people’s wishes for compliance of the terms of the formation of Malaysia.

The new Speaker has failed to comprehend that as the Speaker he should detach himself from his position as Umno Balung Assemblyman and remain independent and neutral as envisaged in the Westminster system of government that Sabah and Malaysia adopts.

As the head of the Legislature, the Speaker’s position is the equivalent to the Chief Minister and the head of the Judiciary in Sabah which is the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak.

The Legislative Assembly is not an extension of the Sabah government and the Speaker is not answerable or subservient to the Chief Minister.

“I hope that by the next Assembly sitting, the new Speaker would have understood his position and is able to defend the Assembly’s role in our democracy and act in the best interests of Sabah and Sabahans and not to his political party or his political masters” said Dr. Jeffrey.
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