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Sarawak Speaker: State govt to table two landmark Bills in next state assembly sitting

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, Nov 18 — The Sarawak government will table two landmark Bills — the Sarawak Ombudsman and Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases) — in the State Assembly sitting beginning November 20, Speaker Tan Sri Asfia Awang Nasar said today.

He said Sarawak will be the first to come up with the Ombudsman Bill and the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouses Gases) Bill in the country.

Asfia said the state ombudsman agency will be established after a study on the Swedish model is conducted by the state government.

“As what the premier (Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg) had said before, the agency will report directly to the State Assembly, not to the premier,” Asfia told reporters after the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) supreme council meeting here.

He said the Ombudsman Ordinance is different from the Public Account Committee or any other anti-corruption agency because it can impose penalties.

He said whatever complaint is lodged, it will go directly to the State Assembly.

“It cannot be weaponised by the chief executive officer for personal purposes. That is the main difference.

“For example, someone is arrested and ordered to wear an orange uniform, but later, he is not charged in court. This will give the public perception that the person is guilty of corruption.

“However, under the Ombudsman Ordinance, you must bring the complaint to the State Assembly.

“If it is serious, under Section 41 of the Ordinance, then we can refer to the public prosecution,” he said.

On the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases) Bill, Asfia said it relates to the capture and storage of carbon dioxide.

He said the captured carbon dioxide will be stored in the state’s continental shelf, one of the four places in the world deemed as safe from earthquakes.

He said the state will impose a levy on the storage of carbon dioxide in the continental shelf from any country.

Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan will table the Ombudsman Bill while Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases) will be tabled by Deputy of Law, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and State-Federal Relations Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayed Aman Ghazali.