No provision in Sarawak Constitution for Opposition leader post in legislative assembly, says state Speaker

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, May 4 — Speaker Tan Sri Asfia Awang Nasar today quashed a call by Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen for the Sarawak Legislative Assembly to have an official Opposition leader.

He said there were also no provisions in the Sarawak Constitution or the Standing Orders of the legislative assembly for an Opposition leader to receive remuneration and benefits.

“The Opposition member should consider tabling a motion to amend the Constitution so the Opposition leader can receive the remuneration and other benefits,” he told reporters after the pre-council meeting of the lawmakers of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

However, he said the motion to amend the Constitution would require the support of two-thirds of the house for it to be passed.

“Whether Sarawak should emulate the Malaysian Parliament or the legislatures of some seats in peninsular Malaysia, I leave it entirely to the wisdom of the honourable members,” he said.

Chong, who is also Padungan State Lawmakers, commented recently that there is no official post for the Opposition leader in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly.

He said it is not the same as Parliament where there is one Opposition leader who receives benefits such as assistants and secretaries.

He said Pakatan Harapan-ruled states, such as Selangor and Penang, have the post of Opposition leader in their state legislative assemblies.

Chong said the official post of Opposition leader in a state legislative assembly is a crucial check and balance.

Meanwhile, Asfia said three lawmakers from the dissolved Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) will sit on the government bloc as they have joined Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), a component of the GPS ruling coalition.

He said the three — Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan), Baru Bian (Ba’Kelalan) and Johnical Rayong (Engkilili) — will sit with the rest of the GPS legislators.

“They have been taken out of the Opposition block,” he said.