Thursday, 13 August 2015
Kepayan assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi said that the speaker has started his first day on the job on the wrong footing by pre-emptively banning the word “secession” before presiding over an actual sitting.
“The speaker should decide during the sitting if the word is used, how it is used. Is it unparliamentary? He has to show that it is unparliamentary.
“I will challenge him in the coming sitting on this during my speech,” said the DAP secretary to The Malay Mail Online.
Api Api elected representative Christina Liew said that the prohibition was premature and that the Speaker should not ban the lawmakers from raising issues from the people.
“The speaker must not make such hasty statements. It’s too premature for him to say that. Let’s wait and see as the events turn,” she said.
“Since when are the elected representatives forbidden to raise issues concerning the people’s issues in the dewan? The dewan is the place we raise issues concerning the people’s interests and welfare. How can he stop us?” said the PKR Sabah vice-chairman.
Sabah legislative assembly Speaker Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali who clocked in for the first time on Monday, had banned the word “secession” from being uttered during sittings and warned lawmakers against discussing the north Borneo state’s separation from Malaysia.
Secession has been a hot topic in the state among politicians, the public and especially on social media since the Facebook group “Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia” gained traction last year.
The group, led by UK-based activist Doris Jones, plays on local sentiments by raising issues on native land, oil royalty rights, racial and religious tension and erosion of rights among other things.
Secession is considered treason in Malaysia and a warrant of arrest has been issued for Jones.
Likas state assemblyman Junz Wong said that the speaker should not hide behind the ban and instead “take the bull by its horns” and delve into the issues surrounding the secession calls in the state.
“Talks of secession should not be seen as a threat to leave the federation but Sabah should take the bull by its horns and find out, understand and review the needs of Sabahans, “ he said adding that Sabahans has been feeling marginalised and discriminated by various policies and decisions by both the state and federal government.
Calling the ban “unconstitutional,” he urged the government to deal with the issues rather than ignore the sentiments by pushing the blame to “certain quarters” and accused them of politicising the issue.
“I challenge the speaker not to ban the word ‘secession’ or ‘secession talks’ in Dewan but instead move a motion to discuss the sentimental issues surrounding the word ‘secession’ ” he said.
Yesterday, Penampang MP Darell Leiking said that the ban was “illogical” and “undemocratic, showing the immaturity of a state that it should be afraid of discussing issues relating to its constitution.”
He said that he would understand banning the usage of profanity during the sitting but words such as “secession” should be used inherently along with “devolution” or “decentralisation” in line with issues related to the development of a country.
“So why is the state government so afraid to discuss issues like ‘secession’, ‘devolution’ and hosts of issues agreed to in the Malaysia Agreement 1963? It is a curtailment of our rights, especially the right of the people’s representative to debate for and on behalf of their constituents,” Leiking said.
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.