Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dewan Undangan Negeri a Soap Opera House?

Dewan Undangan Negeri sitting in progress

The Dewan Undangan Negeri should be the place where serious business was discussed and the people’s problems be brought forward to be discussed and solved. But the recent concluded sitting of the Dewan Undangan Negri Sarawak from 5th – 14th May, 2008 were full of jokes, play acting and fish market environment. We called ourselves Yang Berhormat, but, did we really behaved one? We heard shouting matches and some filthy words such as “shit!”, “bodoh!” “Kurang Ajar!” and "monkey" from the mouths of people whom we called Yang Berhormat. Debates in the Dewan seemed not been taken seriously and much time had been wasted. I could even see that some Yang Berhormat when shouting and pointing fingers did not do these seriously, but, in actual fact they were seen laughing or smiling when doing these. If we don’t say that these were play acting, then, what were these? The people who elected us had high hope on us to bring their grouses to the august House with the hope that all problems affecting the State and the people could be properly addressed.

Yes, there could be time that we need to shout, but, we must be serious when we do this. However, this was not the case with many Yang Berhormat. They just wanted some drama to catch the attention of the august House or maybe the press. The end result was that the plights of the people were not answered and issues raised were not properly addressed or ever addressed at all. I regret, the hope of the people that elected us was really shattered like broken glasses. How, I wish that the people who elected their representatives attend the proceedings and watch from the gallery of the august House and to see for themselves how these Yang Berhormat performed and I hope the public should not depend on what they heard from people or the press alone. This was not good for the state and the people and if we keep on like this, our state will not progress well.

The Ministers who were supposed and expected to give answers to questions performed below par and many questions put forward were not answered. They just gave evasive answers and got away with them because the Speaker said it was a parliamentary practice that once the Minister gave a reply to the question asked, whether the answer was correct or not, it was considered that the question had been answered! So to say, a stupid answer was also an answer and the matter had been answered!

Tan Sri Jabu with Datuk James Masing and Hj. Hamden

When we sought clarifications or raised points of order, some Ministers ignored us and dared not take up the challenge. DCM Tan Sri Jabu, for instance, even promised us that he would allow us time to ask questions at the end of his speech and he promised to answer us, but, when he finished his speech, this DCM and Yang Berhormat from Layar discourteously sat down and refused to entertain us. Tan Sri Jabu was always very fond of this tactic and each time managed to escape from us. DCM Tan Sri Jabu is representing the constituency of Layar. No wonder when some of us in the Opposition who were annoyed and angry with him, not only had to shout at him and the Speaker to catch their attention, but, when things went so fast and hot, many times some of us could not pronounce the word “Layar” correctly.

Instead of addressing the DCM as “Honourable Member from Layar” some addressed the said Honourable member as “Honourable Member from Liar!” In a previous sitting, I had this matter brought to the attention of the August House hoping that Honourable Members of the august House could behave and correct themselves. This definitely had embarrassed the Deputy Chief Minister, but, I was not there with the intention to embarrass him or anyone, because, no matter what, we should accorded Tan Sri Jabu the respect he should deserved as he was elected by the people. This is because in politics although our opinion in the Opposition may differ from those in the government, but, politics is about issues and how to solve issues for the good of the people and the state.

With this, I hope the public would properly evaluate for themselves and not be misled by the performance of some Yang Berhormat in the august House who did not take things for the good of the people who elected them seriously, and instead, by play acting in the august House.

Although I am pin pointing at others as if I am arrogant and a perfect Yang Berhormat, but, please do not construe me wrongly, because being a human being I am also not perfect. Being elected by the people and paid from public fund, I also want people to evaluate my performance inside and outside the Dewan and I wish people can come with constructive criticisms or ideas about my performance so that I could correct and improve myself for the good of the people and the state. This is because I just want to give my best and wish not waste my time as we already entered the third year in the Dewan. We only have about two more years to go before finishing our term, and I hope I will not disappoint the people of Sarawak and I also hope that I shall also not disappoint the people who elected me. You all had put your trust on me and I shall maintain my standard and keep my oath of office.

During the sitting of the august House, a number of questions that I had brought up such as the tragedy in Bau Lake some 30-40 years ago in which a bus plunged and drown all students inside the said bus was not answered. Likewise, the promise or proposal by the BN government through the mayor of MBKS during the election campaign in May 2006 to turn the riverbanks of Sungai Maong into a “Garden Paradise” under the concept of “For A Better Homeland” did not receive any mention at all by the Ministers. The queries by me about the uncompleted upgrading of roads, such Jalan Kim Chu Shin Road, Jalan Sin San Tu, Jalan Ha Sha Lung in Batu Kawa area, which were misleadingly claimed to have been properly done and completed by some politicians were not answered. Datuk Yong Khoon Seng and YB Tan Joo Phoi were there to inspect the road and since YB Tan Joo Phoi is also the Chairman of Padawan Municipal Council, he could have addressed this mattrer in the Dewan to clear the air. If not, then, the ministers should come and clarify the many issues in connection with my allegations.

Jalan Ha Sha Lung

Jalan Kim Chu Shin

Are YB Datuk Yong Khoon Seng and YB Tan Joo Phoi going the say that the resealing of this road had been completed?

Likewise, the half completed resealing of roads in the Batu Lintang Constituency undertaken by the contractors such as Jalan Tengah and Lorong Poh Kwang Park 8B and the poor drainage system of the said Lorong Poh Kwang Park 8B itself which I addressed, was also ignored by the Cabinet. I also regret that the drainage system that caused floods all these years at Lorong 4 and Lorong 4A Jalan Angsana in the Sg.Maong area were also not addressed at all by the ministers.

Blocked Drain at Lorong Poh Kwong Park 8B

Money paid, work not done?

Lorong Poh Kwong Park 8B

Therefore, it was for these above reasons that I proposed to the Dewan that the debates and speeches in the Dewan be broadcast and telecast live so that those who behaved like monkeys could be heard and seen as monkeys in televisions before the very people who elected them. However, I also regret that this request was never been debated at all in the Dewan.

So, the ten days sitting of the Dewan was about drama, jokes, and fish markets stories and not so much about addressing the plights of the people. Much time had been wasted and public money was not worthily spent for the good of the people and the state. To me, people in politics should take politics seriously and not take politics for personal glory, jokes, drama and publicity.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


A notice was handed by me to the Speaker of the Dewan under Standing Order 15(1) seeking leave of the Legislative Assembly to discuss as a matter of definite matter or urgent public importance concerning the welfare and education of students of SRB Chung Hua Batu 8 ½ , Jalan Kuching-Batu Kitang. The school was burnt down by an early morning fire on Saturday 10th May, 2007. When I arrived at the school, I was told that BOMBA encountered some problems in fighting the fire. A semi-concrete block of building with few classrooms was found completely destroyed by fire together with a staff room and the headmaster’s office. Upon that notice being sent to the Honourable Speaker, I can understand that the relevant authorities had been called to supply information and report of action taken in respect of the matter. I am happy that a very detailed report and information was read out by the Honourable Speaker for the information of all in the Dewan and proposals to be taken.

The students are now placed at a nearby school and it was also revealed that the School Committee could send a proposal to the Education Department to rebuild the school. Such a move is important because we want to stress that the responsibility of education and maintenance of education facilities should be the responsibility of the government and the government should not push this responsibility away to society especially when it involve vernacular schools and that this was the issue that DAP had been fighting for all these years.


The big blow against BN in the hands of the Opposition in the recent concluded 12th General Election had made BN leaders not only blaming each other, but, also went all way out to discredit the political leaders of the Opposition. The first target was Lim Guan Eng because Lim Guan Eng had shocked BN government by being the first DAP Chief Minister in Penang and when Lim Guan Eng was made the Chief Minister of Penang, UMNO leaders were not happy and twisted the speech of Lim Guan Eng on New Economic Policy. Guan Eng was never against the New Economic Policy (NEP), but, only wanted an equal and transparent distribution of wealth and equal economic opportunities for all and had just wanted that NEP be implemented by way of open tender. Such policy of open tender could give equal opportunity to all malays to participate in the NEP so that NEP is not for the benefit of cronies and people in the corridors of power only. To Guan Eng open tender was also necessary because many malays themselves were no happy with the way how the New Economic Policy was implemented. The twist of facts by UMNO leaders was purely to stir up racial politics against the Opposition, especially the DAP which all the while was painted by BN leaders as a Chinese party and of which was wrong.

After, Guan Eng, UMNO leaders including both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister had unnecessarily stirred up the emotions of the Malaysian public, especially the malays, by accusing Karpal as being disrespectful to the Sultan of Perak when Karpal was expressing his legal opinion touching on legal rights in the administration of the state government of Perak. Karpal never questioned the prerogative of the Sultan and also never disputed the fact that the Sultan was the head of the Islamic religion in Perak. Karpal also never said he disrespected the Sultan and the malays, but, the issue was turned by many quarters into a racial issue and politicized. They accused Karpal’s statement as being seditious and as explained by Karpal, is that, Karpal was only raising a legal issue and had nothing to do with race or prerogative of the Sultan as alleged.

Last week, the State BN through the Honourable Member for Balai Ringin, YB Snowdon Donald Lawan also stirred up the matter in the DUN sitting and this was very irresponsible which caused us in the DAP to stand up to defend Karpal. It was plain lucky that I stayed back to listen the speech while my comrades in DAP was busy with the press outside the Dewan. I had to make a reply to the allegation so as to put the record straight in the Hansard that Karpal’s issue was a legal and not a racial issue and I hope Sarawakians would understand this and not to aggravate the matter that would cause disharmony among the people.

My humble understanding of Karpal’s explanation is that, Karpal said it was purely a legal one because it only touched on the right to transfer a government servant by the present Perak Government of which DAP is part of the government. Although Datuk Jamry Sury was a director from the Perak Islamic Religious Department, unless the exception applies or unless the law otherwise say so applicable to Perak, Malaysians should understand that if Perak Islamic Religious Department was a government department, then, the officers in the said Department could be subjected to any law and directives applicable to other government servants in the state. There could not therefore, two standards of application of law when the classes of people affected are the same. Therefore, government servants from the Perak Islamic Religious Department, therefore, should be also be subjected to transfer like any other government servants from any other government departments. By this humble view, we are not questioning the prerogative of any rulers giving their royalties’ views on matters touching any officers of any Islamic Religious Department. Their views must be accorded the highest respect. Therefore, Karpal’s views had been twisted by many UMNO leaders.

Malaysians should not forget that in March 2008, 23 UMNO state assemblymen in Trengganu staged a public protest over the choice of the Mentri Besar of Trengganu and by doing so had nearly caused a constitutional crisis in Trengganu. The same sentiment was also shown by UMNO leaders in the choice of the Menteri Besar in Perlis and why no action were taken against these UMNO leaders while in respect of Karpal statements, the police swung into full investigation?

The Prime MinisterAbdullah Ahmad Badawi, being a Prime Minister of all Malaysians, had aggravated the situation in Karpal’s case by giving instruction to the Secretary-General of UMNO to lodge a police report against Karpal. The Prime Minister further aggravated the situation by publicly putting pressure on the Attorney-General to make a decision to prosecute Karpal. He should let the Attorney-General make the decision and should not unnecessarily put pressure or influence the Attorney-General to make a decision. The Prime Minister must know that his public speeches could carry a lot of weight and pressure on the matter. The Prime Minister should not have made such public speeches to influence the thinking of the general public and the exercise of the discretionary power of the Attorney-General. By doing so, if there would be racial disharmony and riots in the streets, there would not be any reason why Malaysians should not hold the Prime Minister responsible. What the Prime Minister should have done was to solve the matter and should have sought an audience with the Sultan of Perak to trash the matter so that racial harmony could be intact. By calling the Attorney-General to act on the issue, the Prime Minister was going against Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution because the Prime Minister has descended into the power of the Attorney-General by putting pressure on the Attorney-General to prosecution against Karpal. By calling the Attorney-General to prosecute Karpal, the Prime Minister had interfered with the absolute power of prosecution of the Attorney-General as enshrined in Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution.

We must also understand that in the past UMNO leaders was said had always use racial issues to stir the emotion of the public to support the BN government. We should not forget the racial emotions created in previous elections in 1969, 1987 and 1999. DPM Najib when he was UMNO Youth leader was said took part in the Kampung Baru rally staged by UMNO Youth which led to Operation Lallang in 1987. If DPM Najib at that time had made seditious remarks, there should also be no reason why Najib should not be dragged in for investigation. Nazri had already said no one is above the law and let the law be strictly applied to all, without any consideration of colour, race and social status.

The most recent one by UMNO leaders in stirring racial or fear politics was the display of the kris, followed by stirring speeches by UMNO leaders, but, we should be glad that the people of Malaysia had not buy this. However, no action until today was made by the police and the Attorney-General Chambers to bring Hishammudin who drew the kris during UMNO general assemblies to court. If a common people drew the kris, it would be definitely the police would arrest them for possession of offensive weapon in public! This showed a display of double standard by the present government in the enforcing the law. UMNO leaders should realize that to stir racial issues to stay in power will not be good for UMNO and Malaysia. UMNO leaders should know that Malaysian voters had viewed the show of the kris as an act of crude arrogance which caused many UMNO stalwarts being rejected in many constituencies they contested in the recent concluded General Election.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A School on Fire Again!

I had to rush to the scene this morning after I receive a phone call from a member of the public that a Chung Hua Primary School at 8 ½ Mile Kuching – Bau Road was burnt down. When I arrived, I saw the gloomy faces of the parents and teachers of the school. It was an old school with few classrooms for the students in the area. No one could know how fire had started in the early morning 2.00 a.m. I was told BOMBA arrived at about half an hour later, but, lucky no one was injured in the fire as no one stayed there.

This was the second school in just over a year that was razed by fire. The other one was a Secondary School at Kenyalang Park, in Kuching.

There is a need that for the relevant authorities to take fire incidents more seriously. There is also an urgent need for the relevant authorities to inspect all wirings in all schools in the State besides providing all schools with proper fire fighting equipment. BOMBA should also be called to train teachers and students basic fire fighting techniques. This basic fire fighting techniques or procedures are necessary in the event of a fire outbreak. It would serve like a “first aid” pending relief or help from BOMBA.

It was discovered that SRB Chung Hua did not have a fire hydrant nearby, thus, this made fire fighting more difficult.

It also seems that this government never learnt the many fire incidences which occurred in and around Kuching recently.

We had fires in Padungan which caused the loss of a life. In Sky Garden a house near to Jalan Stapok was also on fire and likewise a house in the Stutong Resettlement area and a row of shop houses in Serian Bazaar were recently completely razed to the ground.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Federal Revenue Collected in Sarawak

I had asked the Chief Minister and Minster for Finance the amount of revenue collected in the state by the Police Department, Custom and Excise Department, Inland Revenue Department, Immigration Department, the Road Transport Department and the Judicial Department. It was disclosed that revenue collected by each these federal departments in the state from years 2001-2007 were as follows:-

Police Department - RM62.14 million;
Custom & Excise Department - RM6,378.65 billion;
Inland Revenue Department - RM13,640.07 billion;
Immigration Department - RM830.64 million;
Road Transport Department - RM464.23 million;
Judicial Department - RM55.70 million;

The total revenue collected by these six federal departments for the past seven years totaled RM21,436.43 billion. This amount excludes oil and gas and other amounts collected by many other federal departments in the state. We could therefore see that the Federal Government all these years had been collecting substantial sums from the state. What is important is that in order to accelerate economic growth, the state government should be allowed to retain a certain percentage of these revenues before they go to the Federal Treasury. From the answers given, there was a failure of the state government to take the initiative to negotiate with the Federal Government the retention of parts of these revenues before these revenues go to the Federal Treasury.

The state of Sarawak is more or less the size of West Malaysia and much money is needed to further develop the state. We could not wait for the funds to come back as from past experience it took time. For example, to develop padi plantations in the state in huge scale, until now since independence we still could not realize this dream as funds are controlled by the Federal Government. Only recently it was said that the Federal Government had release RM50 million to the state to develop its padi plantations.

The Federal Government should be made to understand that the Federal Government had taken enough from the state and is time for the Federal Government to come and to provide more fund to the state for its development and that fund must be released within reasonable speed.

Dr. Wong Soon Koh on behalf of the cabinet only said the state has their ways to discuss and negotiate with the Federal government as to how the money should be apportioned. However, seemed it was not disclosed how it should be taken then it could be assumed that there had been no mechanism formulated as to how the negotiation process could be of success and of advantage to the state of Sarawak. We are the property owners and should have the control of our own property and if the federal government be given full right by taking the revenues out from our State first and to allow the state to wait for the Federal Government to give them back this would not only take time but we may not be able to take a good portion back from what we had given away.

This was what happened to our oil and gas and it is very disappointing that until now Sarawak just could only get back 5% of its oil and gas royalties. Until now, we could not have a better bargain to revenues from our oil and gas in the state.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I was given the privilege by the Speaker to be the first speaker to debate on the address by TYT Yang Di Pertua Negeri Sarawak. The Speaker allowed me to speak for about one hour.
During the debate I spoke on public security and failure of BN government in formulating an effective security policy for the nation. I also addressed the issue of abuse of power by the police. My speech also touched on some abandoned government buildings and inadequate hospital beds besides touching on land matters and infrastructure problems in Batu Kawa and Batu Lintang Consituencies. My speech also touched on wastes disposals and Trienekens Sdn. Bhd.
In the speech I also addressed on the issue of the wearing of the songkok and the ceremonial dress as the matter was brought up by SUPP.
The full text of my debate speech is as below:

Mr. Speaker
I thank Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to debate in this august House the address of the TYT Yang Di Pertua Negeri Sarawak.

Mr. Speaker,
When we took our oath of office as elected members of this august House, we all swore to protect both the State and Federal Constitutions. We all know that freedom of expression is protected in Article 10(a) of the Federal Constitution. That Article protects basic human right which should not be taken away easily. We should all try our best to protect the Constitutions and if we as elected members failed to be true to our oath, I am afraid we will one day lead this country in chaos like what many countries had experienced.

The issue of wearing the ceremonial dress was brought up this morning by the Honourable Member from Pujut. To this, I wish to say my piece of mind in respect of the wearing of the ceremonial dress of which we in the DAP had took a stand not to wear it. This was in consistent with the right and protection enshrined in Article 10(a) of Federal Constitution, that is, freedom of expression.

The ceremonial dress came with a beautiful headgear, but, I know it fits the Honourable member from Pujut very well and he looked very handsome with the headgear on when wearing the ceremonial dress. I hope he will continue to wear it in each sitting of this Dewan as I know he looked more handsome with it. However, I humbly would say I would be handsome if it was a military cap, but, not with the present headgear. That was the reason why I chose not have the ceremonial dress because at the same time, it was an expensive dress.

I think what was important was that we only need to dress decently fit for the occasion and as long as our dress does no contravene the law, we should be allowed to wear what we wore.

Mr. Speaker, being a lawyer I would humbly say, Mr. Speaker is aware that we could not force on someone to do something if it is against the law or is unconstitutional to do so. So I pray that the issue of ceremonial dress be put to rest and let us all look forward to work together to make Sarawak a better place for all Sarawakians.

Mr. Speaker,
In recent months, members of the public including us had voiced much concern about crime and security situation in the state. In actual fact, in almost every DUN sitting, this august House had always heard the concern of Honourable Members speaking on this issue, but, we had not until now could find a formula to enhance security and we also have no effective formula to help reduce crime situation in the state. Not only that, most of us could only put the blame on the police, but, panic with the situation, had failed to identity and overcome the problems involved in crime detection and crime solving.

The Police Force is an agency of the government and the Force is only to implement the policies of the government. The BN government should be brave enough to admit that its policy on public security had failed miserably in the past years which caused the increase of crime, especially, in the cities. The government could spend much money on unnecessary projects and tasks, but, had not wanted to use the same money on enhancing the security system in the country. The BN government could spend millions in sending a medical doctor with not even a degree in space science to the outer space, then, came back to this Earth, what could this so called “spaceman” do about space science and space defence for the country? I wonder whether the so called, “spaceman” could fly a fighter jet.

Previously it was almost unheard of that homes of VIPs were broken into, but, now the thieves and robbers know how to choose their targets well. Few months ago, these thieves and robbers became more daring, especially in Kuching. An Assistant Minister, I was told lost a pistol to those robbers, and retired Deputy Commissioner of Police was also robbed, the house of the Honoubable Member for Tupong definitely was a good catch for them. About half a million of cash and property gone. Then, the happy Member of Piasau was lucky as nothing much robbed. Then the families of the Honourable Member from Semariang were also robbed. Who next will be the target? These robbers knew that these people are rich, at least richer than the robbers themselves, otherwise, the robbers would not go after them.

With lack of manpower and equipment we could hope the police force be able to cover vast areas of Sarawak. In recent years we could hardly see policemen patrolling the streets and housing estates on foot. Patrolling by patrol cars alone was not enough and at times also not practical in certain areas as there were too many places like, back lane alleys which were not accessible by patrol cars.

Panic with crime situation, some members of the public even voiced out the use of the Army to help the police in their duties. Our course, the Police Force will not recommend this to the government. To allow this, the impression of foreigners would be that our country will seem to be under the control of the army. This in the end will chase away potential investors and tourists from the State.

Panic with the situation, Sarawak Police Force had recently came out with helicopters and tanks in the streets, thus, making Kuching a New York City. We never had used helicopters before in doing crime prevention duties and investigation in city and town areas. The cost of such operations will definitely dig much into our pockets.

Not only that, we now found more frequent police road blocks at night in Kuching City and also along many major roads in the State, but, I am sorry that these road blocks were not properly manned with adequate equipments. No bullet proof vests were used by these policemen on patrol duty and also at the road blocks. There were not enough warning lights and places where the road blocks were put up were always very dark, thus, creating dangerous situations to road users and also to policemen themselves. Something must be done and since the fault lies with our ineffective security policy, this should be rectified in soonest possible.

BN government should understand that the ineffective security policy was one of the issues brought by us in the Opposition and in some constituencies we found that the votes swung to us, but, it was just unfortunate that political tsunami is yet to arrive in Sarawak!

In police stations, we find very few Indian and Chinese officers and most policemen could not speak Chinese and Tamil and they also spoke very little English. Such a situation would definitely encourage members of the public especially, the Chinese and Indian community to shun police stations. Miscommunication or language barrier could easily land innocent citizens in police lock-ups or be charged in court for crimes they reported. I believe that many could find themselves convicted for crimes not committed by them because of communication problems. I received many complaints in the past months of such nasty incidences of this nature, but, nothing much could be done as what was recorded in the police station by investigation officers and policemen could be adduced as evidence in court to convict the person concerned.

My one word of advice to police officers is that please do not abuse your authority when performing your work and although I was a member of the Police Force, it does not mean that I shall be with you when you do something wrong. I had given too much help and advice to too many police officers who committed wrongs in the past in the performance of their duties and I am fed-up with this acting between you and members of the public. I wish to tell you that I shall not tolerate hanky-panky thing happening that would unjustly and unlawfully affect the liberty of our citizens arising from your abuse of power and I will always put my head on the chopping block to defend them. You cannot simply arrest people for nothing, and that, too often after arrest made, the so-called suspects were innocent people and most often no charges were preferred against them. Many of them were wrongly accused of crimes they had no knowledge at all, but it is just regretted that most of them who were victims of your action just kept silent and dared not to make any complaint for fear of further harassment.

To police officers, I had seen with my own eyes how you abused the police bail book. Police officers should be reminded that there is a system in the Police Force for the control and use of the Police Bail Book and not every officer should be allowed to have access and use it. Know your authority and in recent years it was discovered that some police officers who were not authorized to sign the bail book also did sign the bail book. You must understand in some cases, only the Officer-In-Charge of the Police District (OCPD) can sign the bail book, not even the Commissioner of Police can sign, even though the Commissioner can be an officer of a higher rank than the OCPD.

When you abuse your power, members of the public who suffer in silence will be angry with you and will then have no respect for you and the Police Force. Once members of the public lose respect on you and the Police Force, how can you seek their co-operation in fighting crime? They will not come to police stations to lodge reports on crime and will also not give you information to catch the culprits. In the end, crime situation will become more serious where property and lives will be threatened.

We have many abandoned buildings in Kuching and these places had been potential places as hideouts for criminals, vagrants and drug addicts. Some of these buildings could pose danger to trespassers as live wires could possibly be found in these buildings. Recently there had been rampant thefts of cables and therefore we should not discount the possibility of thieves entering into abandoned buildings to steal cables and other thing. Such activities may pose danger to the public and the thieves themselves.

In the Batu Lintang Constituency, there are a number of abandoned government quarters in front of the PWD Divisional Headquarters at Jalan Batu Lintang. We also could find many abandoned government quarters at Bamplyde Road in Kuching.

I consider the former building of the Regional Forest Office at Jalan Bako of which was estimated to cost the government at least RM4.8 million is now abandoned with air-conditioners and office equipment missing as a sick white elephant. It was also found out that the ceilings of the said building had been smashed or been broken by trespassers. The building had been completely vandalized! If the government does not want this building anymore, I believe that there are many people who want the building. Maybe, the state government can donate the building to NGOs for their work. I understand that the building had been abandoned for a number of years and no action had been taken to maintain the building.

Likewise, the nurses’ quarters near to the General Hospital had also been abandoned. The government should make these nurses’ quarters to full use and to get it renovated at least for temporary use by patients until new blocks could be built. If properly utilized, the nurses’ quarters could cater for at least 100 patients. I had in recent months made visits to the General Hospital and I found out that the places were very crowded and there were too many patients that had to be satisfied with makeshift beds along the corridors of the hospital to receive their treatments.

Many people complained of the poor service of waste disposal after privatization to Sarawak Wastes Management Sdn. Bhd. (SWM). Prior to privatization, housing estates had their wastes collected three times as week, but, now collection is done only twice a week. There is no reason why the number of collection of domestic wastes had to be decreased and the authorities until today could not give an answer to this public query. Due to this, one could see that there were many housing estates where rubbish had been discriminately thrown on the roadside and drains or near to public places like parks and playgrounds. To name a few, the bus terminal at 3 ½ Mile Kuching-Serian Road which is near to a housing estate was always full of rubbish. Likewise, in the market place and play ground in Tabuan Jaya, heaps of rubbish could often be seen and not placed at collection points. Some places behind the rows of shops at Green Road were always very dirty and seldom were swept. It looked very untidy and an eyesore.

The state government in allowing Sarawak Waste Management Sdn. Bhd. to appoint subcontractors to do the job was also not a proper move as it lent to increase cost of operation. Kuching people were of the opinion that a payment of RM132 per ton of domestic waste collected by the contractor, Sarawak Waste Management Sdn. Bhd (SWM) was very high. While allowing the contractor to charge a payment of RM198 per ton of wastes exceeding the allowable waste of 42,000 tons was also very improper. There is no reason for the state government to allow a guaranteed minimum annual payment of RM5.54 million to the contractor for the job.

At the same time, since MBKS had made an analysis in 1998 to 1999 that cost of waste management would increase from RM4.80 million to RM6.04 million, that is, a rise of 25.6%, yet with a decrease of collection of 2 times instead of 3 per week, the government should not had, based on the said analysis by MBKS allowed waste management to be privatized.

The Audit Report 2006 said:
“Semakan Audit seterusnya mendapati bahawa MBKS juga telah membuat analisis sendiri terhadap kos dan perkhidmatan pergurusan sampah bagi tempoh tahun 1998 sehingga 1999 untuk menentukan sama ada Majlis akan dapat menjimatkan kos perbelanjaan mengurus. Hasil daripada analisis tersebut mendapati sekiranya penswastaan diteruskan kos pengurusan sampah akan meningkat menjadi RM6.04 juta daripada Rm4.80 juta iaitu peningkatan sebanyak 25.6%. Dari segi perbandingan perkhidmatan kekerapkan pungutan samapah akan berkurang dari 3 ke 2 kali seminggu.” – see page 277 Audit Report 2006

The Audit Report further commented that:

“Akibatnya, MBKS menanggung beban kewangan yang semakin meningkat dan kekerapan pungutan sampah yang berkurangan.”

However, it was discovered that the actual loss suffered by MBKS was RM8.83 million a year or an increment of 84%, not RM6.04 million as estimated.

Why should MBKS has to foot the loss? The loss is the people’s loss while the profit went to Sarawak Waste Management Sdn. Bhd and its subcontractor, Trienekens Sdn.Bhd.

It is humbly said herewith that privatization of wastes management is a failure and to clear debts owed to the contractor, MBKS had to borrow a sum of RM21.30 million from the State Government. It was said that for years 2000-2002 alone MBKS had to pay a debt of RM14.35 million to the contractor.

Some months ago, I wrote a letter on behalf of Encik Luhom anak Bakau who claimed that he was the owner of Lot 220 Muara Tebas Land District situate at Kampung Tabuan, Kuching. However, the said letter addressed to Majlis Perbandaran Padawan (“MPP”) in which was sent by fax and by post did not until now receive any reply. There is also no reason why my letter had not until now received any reply.

I was told the land upon the request of the then Majlis Luar Bandar Kuching was allowed by Encik Luhom in 1959 to be used for a public facility but until now no public facility had been built on the said land. However, on twist of events, Encik Luhom then discovered that the local authority concerned is now the owner of the land after Encik Luhom was asked to sign some documents, the contents I was told were never explained or properly explained to him. Encik Luhom being illiterate felt cheated by the government and all these years had wanted the land back since it had never been used for the purpose consented to by Encik Luhom. I was told a series of correspondences between the relevant authorities and Encik Luhom had failed to solve this problem.

Since this matter touched on the land that belong to a dayak, I would wish the Minister of Lands Development could understand that I stepped in because I wanted to help the people who needed my help irrespective of race, colour or creed. The Minister also needs to understand that there are many dayaks in my constituency and I represent them. To this, I hope the Minister would not say my act as an act of cultural arrogance when helping a dayak to solve problems affecting their land. This is because we in the DAP who are here, being elected by the people were concerned for the people irrespective of their colour, race and creed. The dayaks, although not so many in some of our constituencies, they also voted for us. They are truly Malaysians!

Therefore, I wish to put on record here that we in the DAP, especially, the Honourable Member from Meradong should not be ticked off for voicing the plight of the dayaks. Honourable Minister, you are a nice man and I knew your target, but, I regret that you got some minus points from many dayaks intellectuals I met about your remarks or comments on cultural arrogance. Some said it was an arrogant thought for one who wish not accept help from others, although those who wanted to help could be ignorant or could not offer the best help, but, were sincere to help.

A former dayak diplomat who had travelled wide in the world including the Middle East and had seen people of diverse cultures, even invited me to his house and spoke at length to me about your comment. I never knew him before this, but, upon hearing your said remarks, the retired diplomat sent someone to invite me to his house. He was so concern about the remark that he just hoped we in the DAP would not be discouraged by your words and wanted us to continue to help the dayaks in whatever way we could. The retired dayak diplomat hoped that we in the DAP could be able to work together with the Ministers to help dayaks solve their problems.

What I also learnt from this retired diplomat was that some time unwarranted remarks or words used by a leader could spark civil unrests and even cause the downfall of a government. With that, may the issue rest and let us move forward to make a better Sarawak for all!

Yes, some Honourable Members may say that we don’t know dayak culture well, but, we were very sincere in helping the people because we care. Please, minister and Honourable Member from Baleh, I need to tell you that the Chinese community will never complain about any minister that could help them solve their problem. Don’t worry as they will not brand such help as cultural arrogance and if anyone of them would say such act as cultural arrogance, I shall go all out to defend you.

The Chinese in the state until now are still looking forward for annuals grants from both the federal and state governments for their schools and is also hoping that the government will promote Chinese education more aggressively. The Chinese people in Sarawak also look forward to the automatic renewal of their land leases to a period of at least 99 years without premiums and if the minister could help this, I am sure the Chinese people in Sarawak will regard the minister as their most revered hero and saviour. Can you do it Minister and help DAP realize the dreams of the Chinese in Sarawak? Maybe you have a plan and can tell this august House please.

The Minister had said in the last sitting in this august House that he knew how to protect dayak land and so it be and may the Minster help this poor Encik Luhom to have his land back.

Mr. Speaker,
We could not deny that when lands are placed under section 47 Notice of the Sarawak Land Code, the value of the said land placed under the said Notice drops. Once the value of the said land drops the landowner incurred loss and damage and most often than not the landowners usually found it difficult to mortgage, sell or to develop their property. To this, I urge the state government that once such notice is imposed, the landowners should be allowed unrefundable compensation caused by such Notice irrespective whether or not the land will be resumed to the government for development purposes allowed in section 46 of the Land Code. If there are on going contracts affecting the said land before the Notice was imposed, the government should also be made liable for loss of profits, if any. To accommodate this, the Land Code should be amended to allow this.

It is also urged that the Notice should lapse after a period of two years and once lapsed the authority should not be allowed to re-impose the said Notice on the same piece of land within the next five years after the Notice had been removed or had expired. This is to prevent possible abuse by the authorities. At this moment, section 47 Notice once imposed could stay until the lease term expires and once the lease term expire the landowner lose his land as the land will then revert to the government.

Sometime in May 2006 the then mayor of MBKS had announced with billboards the beautification programme of the riverbanks of Sg. Maong in the Batu Lintang Constituency and it seemed that all the necessary planning had already took place which showed flower gardens, playgrounds, footpaths and jogging tracks under the concept of “For A Better Homeland”. It should make the riverbanks of Sg. Maong very scenic once completed. The people in the Batu Lintang Constituency were all very excited in looking forward for such a giant development to be undertaken by the present State BN Government under the leadership of the YAB Chief Minister. From the design shown on the billboards, it appeared that the waterfront of Sg. Maong would easily beat the Kuching Water Front of Sarawak River in terms of beauty and scenery. The project once completed would turn Batu Lintang Constituency into a “Park Constituency” where young and old in the constituency could be seen happily kicking balls, strolling or jogging along the riverbanks while enjoying the fresh air and scenic garden around. It was a big dream of the State BN government to promote healthy living for the people of Batu Lintang and definitely this would be another exotic tourist attraction place in the City of Kuching.

However, the people of Batu Lintang Constituency refused to return the then mayor to this Dewan because they were suspicious of the promise made by the BN government, in which like in 1991 when some promises went unfulfilled until today.

However since the project had been announced, may the State BN redeem its pride and prove to the people of Batu Lintang that the state BN government will never again break its promise to the people.

After the defeat of the incumbent Member for Batu Lintang in the May 2006 Election, I am please that DBKU had put a lot of effort to improve the roads and drains in its jurisdiction of the Batu Lintang Constituency. I kept on inspecting the constituency and found out that several roads had been resealed or upgraded although there are many roads and drains within the jurisdiction that need proper attention from DBKU. I know DBKU may take a bit of time and if given proper time, I believe that DBKU can do more for the people of Batu Lintang. I hope DBKU will continue its good work to reseal other roads that I had requested to reseal or upgrade in previous sittings in this august House. To good work done, I sincerely thank DBKU and the Datuk Bandar on behalf of the people of Batu Lintang for the good work done by DBKU.

Mr. Speaker,
However, to my dismay I discovered that there were roads that were said had been resealed, had not in actual fact been properly resealed. Some of these roads where resealing or upgrading was supposed to be undertaken had not been properly done.

These roads include Jalan Sg. Maong Tengah, in which this august House on 26 November, 2007 had been informed that a sum of RM170,000-00 been spent. I could not say that there had been a resealing of the said road, but, only repairs to some parts of the road. Again, the repair was so badly done that the road is now more uneven. The repair was only to the parts that had been dug out last year for the laying of some water pipes along the stretch of the road. If this work had been contracted out, may the contractor be identified and DBKU may wish to reprimand the contractor.

Just before the recent Parliamentary Election, while on my usual rounds to Sg. Maong area of the Batu Lintang Constituency, to my dismay I also discovered that the remaining portion of Jalan Tengah, a road Off Green Road, was also not properly resealed. It was with patches like plasters and this was a contrast to the front portion of the said road where there was a proper resealing work done.

It showed double standard, which showed that the front part of the road was properly resealed while the end portion the road was pasted like plasters!

Mr. Speaker,
I also found out that the part of Stapok Road near to 100 % Discount Supermarket, off Green Road which was only upgraded and resealed few months ago is very dangerous to motorists, especially, motorcyclists. Many parts of that road sunk and need urgent attention from the relevant authorities. This part of the road was always busy as it met the junction of Jalan Sky Garden where traffic was also heavy and fast. May the authorities look into a possibility of installing traffic lights and if not, a yellow box should be drawn to provide proper traffic flow in that part of the road.

Attention is also sought from the authorities to look into the problem of poor drainage system of Jalan Kim Seng, Lorong 4 and 4A of Jalan Angsana, Off Green Road. Residents in the said Lorong 4A complained to me that each time when there was rain the drains were flooded which caused rain water to flow into their houses. I was told that this problem had been brought many times to the then incumbent Yang Berhormat, but, until today the matter still could not be solved.

The stale water inside the drains bred mosquitoes and recently a visit from some officers from DBKU to the residents of Lorong 4A Jalan Angsana, with intention of issuing summons to some of them for which was said allowing their places to bred mosquitoes got nasty remarks from the residents. I was told that it was plain lucky that nothing went ugly. I hope such a thing would not occur. The blocked drains had been lying there for the past many years and there should not be any blame put on the residents there. To accuse them of breeding mosquitoes would definitely result into unnecessary provocations from the residents there.

Mr. Speaker,
The people of Poh Kwong Park also felt shortchanged when the work that was carried out to improve the drainage and system in Lorong Poh Kwong Park 8B was not properly done. The improvement to the road was also wanting as this had also not been properly carried out. It was big news in the local newspapers showing the present incumbent Member of Parliament of Stampin about the implementation of these projects before the recent Parliamentary Election. Sure the government had spent much money as it was on the signboards that the project was sponsored by the Prime Minister’s Department.

My recent observation was that the drains were also still covered with grass and plants and water was stagnant, making it a good breeding place for mosquitoes.

To all these, may the State Director of Anti-Corruption Agency take note of these and call the quotations and relevant documents to be inspected in relation to the poor or incomplete work done to Jalan Tengah, Jalan Sungai Maong Tengah and Lorong Poh Kwong Park 8B. I expect report be tabled in the next sitting of the Dewan of action to be taken by the relevant authorities or by the Anti-Corruption Agency.

Mr. Speaker,
May I be allowed to raise some problems affecting Batu Kawa area and before I do so, I do not mean no respect to the Honourable Member from Batu Kawa and his predecessors by doing this.

Batu Kawa was well represented by SUPP since Sarawak gained independence and the people in the area had always placed high expectations on them. In each election, the people in Batu Kawa was always obliging to return them to this august House and to Parliament. If I am not mistaken two SUPP State Assistant Ministers and Chairmen of Pawadan Municipal Council were produced from Batu Kawa constituency. Now a Deputy Federal Minister also came from the area because Batu Kawa is within the Stampin Parliamentary Constituency.

Mr. Speaker,
Just before the recent Parliamentary Election, I went to almost every corner in Rantau Panjang area within the said Batu Kawa constituency and to my dismay I discovered that many places in Rantau Panjang had no piped water supply and proper road lightings. To name a few, other roads that had no proper road lightings within the Batu Kawa constituency included Jalan Kim Chu Sin, Jalan Ha Sha Lung and Jalan Sin San Tu. I am not sure what the Honourable Member from Piasau had done when the Honourable Member was still on the Board of SESCo in tackling the street lightings in these areas.

I am also sad that the present incumbent Member of Parliament who is now a Deputy Federal Minister in the Works Ministry could not do much to solve these problems although he had the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with the Minister of Works all these years. To me, he had not done enough or was ineffective and something could be wrong somewhere. I am not teaching or to tell what SUPP should do, but, I just hope something could be done by SUPP to put their elected representatives on their toes before we in the DAP could make inroads in the constituency. Maybe, if SUPP can’t do much anymore, maybe, for the sake of the people in the Constituency, SUPP may wish to handover this constituency to other political parties within BN with the hope that a better job could be done.

Mr. Speaker,
I shall definitely continue to monitor the development and problem in the constituency on behalf of the DAP. In the past few months, I received many complaints from the people in Batu Kawa about their problems and if not solved I am afraid SUPP would pay dearly in the next State Election.

In respect of Batu Kawa area, I also expect a report to be tabled on action taken by the Anti-Corruption Agency in respect of my complaint concerning the incomplete upgrading of Jalan Ha Sha Lung and Jalan Kim Chu Sin in which was supposed to have been completed last year. I regret that until today these roads had not been properly resealed.

May It Please Mr. Speaker,
I had at one time raised the matter concerning the applications from applicants intending to be identified with the native community and since then I had been following very closely their applications. My humble understanding of the law is that even if an application has been approved by the Native Court, the applicant still could not be legally identified with a native community until the applicant is gazetted as such in the Sarawak Government Gazette. I understand that the hearing of such applications started since February 2004, that is, some 12 years after the passing of the Native Courts Ordinance 1992.

However, it seemed that since the passing of the Native Courts Ordinance, 1992 the matter concerning applications to be identified with the native community had not been administered satisfactorily to the needs of the applicants. I wonder until now whether there is a President of the Native Court of Appeal in the State and if this post had not yet been filled may it be filled soon for the proper administration of the Native Courts.

Mr. Speaker,
Many applicants told me that despite their applications had been approved by the Native Court, many of them until today are still awaiting their names to be gazetted and be identified with the native community. My information was that only 7 out of 66 that had been approved had been gazetted and been identified as Iban and 6 out of 9 approved as melanau were gazetted and that no bidayuh, bisaya and penans whose application had been approved had been gazetted and identified with the native community. It seemed that there had been no difficulty in gazetting applications to be identified with the malay community.

The issue here is that while the law provides these applicants to be identified with the native community, is it a prerequisite requirement that these applicants must have some political or social connections with people in corridors of power before they could have their names gazetted and identified with a native community despite the fact that approval had been granted by the Native Court?

Those applicants who were frustrated with their applications gave me some names of those approved and gazetted which included the nieces of the wife of a Deputy Chief Minister. I was also told that Tracy Hilton Smith and his brother, Allister Hilton Smith, were gazetted as Iban and could that this was because of their connection with a former State Minister? However, they also mentioned to me the names of Ting Wee Kuok and Ting Wee Ping and their children whose applications were approved since 2004, but, not yet gazetted although their sisters’ application which was heard the same day had been gazetted.

I was also made to understand that hearing of applications to have applicants identified as natives had been suspended indefinitely since 2005, but, there were two applications which were recently heard by the Resident Native Court in Kuching, that is, the applications by the two widows of the late Datuk Mohammed Arip Bin Mahmud. If exemptions could be given to these two applications, there were also other applications that equally were deserving to be given exemption and to have their applications heard. If these two applicants could later on be gazetted soon by passing others who are still awaiting to be gazetted, this will speak volume of abuse in the administration of the law in the State. This was quite a double standard operation.

Mr. Speaker, I didn’t have the time to verify all information given to me, but, I hope these names and information given to me were all correct. Whatever maybe, the bottom line is that, if those who had applied and had been approved as being identified with the native community and if there had been no appeal or objection to the approval granted by the Native Court, may action be take to cause the approval be gazetted in soonest possible.

May it be disclosed in this august House the names of the applicants who had been approved but still not gazetted to have them identified as natives. May it also be disclosed the reasons why they had not been gazetted yet.

May it be disclosed the particulars of those whose application are still pending hearing.

Debates in this august House were always interesting but at times very heated, but, still not out of control and without which debates would also be very boring. However, most of the time members of the public used to ask us what in actual fact had went on in a certain situation during a debate. The public, especially the voters who voted us into this august House had high expectation in us to do a good job for them and for the state, but, many were confused at things we said in the debates. Being elected by the people, we have a duty to disseminate the correct information to them so that they could understand our role and performance. To this, the general public has the right to know what went on and how their elected representatives performed in this august House. By live broadcasts and telecasts, members of the public could also had first hand information and knowledge of the development of the state undertaken by the government while at the same time also can have better understanding of the role played by the Opposition.

With that in mind, I would again say it would be a pleasure to the general public if proceedings in this august House be lived telecast in local televisions and or be broadcasted live in radios so that those in the interior and those who have no televisions could also have the privilege to follow what we are doing in this august House. This would be good for the progress and development of the state as this will allow members of the public to participate indirectly the debates in this august House by channeling their constructive ideas to the Honourable Members of this august House.

At the sametime, live telecasts and live broadcasts could act as a mechanism to restrain oneself from projecting negative image of oneself. In the past we have heard some Honourable Members not only ridiculing each other, but, shouting abuses, thereby forgetting own noble duties to the voters and the general public by not contributing to constructive debates. It is also hoped that by open debates being aired and telecast live, will also put Honourable Members on their toes on how to handle the voters who may watch them through the screen. It is hoped by doing this every Honourable Member would take care of their own personal image when they wanted to address this august House.

There is nothing for us to be afraid of live telecasts or live broadcasts of our proceedings. If parliament had started it, let us take a bold step to follow suit and by doing this, Mr. Speaker’s task ahead would be much easier. What we want is quality debate and not a fish market kind of debate where words hurled at each other resulted only in anger and disgrace to this august House.

Dated this 7th day of May, 2008



Rice production in the state was of much concern and was a matter that had frequently been asked by the members of the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak all these years. Although Sarawak has vast empty lands we could not until now find many huge padi fields in the state. If we had been successful in our agricultural plan for rice production in the state, then, definitely questions on rice production and the state’s agricultural policy would not have become hot topics all these while. This time, there were eight YBs including me, raised the same issue in the Dewan sitting on 7th May, 2008. What I could understand is that there had been much talking by the minister and the talking were always very impressive, but, I could not understand why questions and such issues cropped up again and again in the Dewan. The only conclusion I could adduce is that the agriculture plan on rice production in the state until now is nothing, but, a failure.

The state has vast suitable land and there is no reason that until now since independence we just had achieved 53% rice sufficiency in the state. The state should by now be able to attain 100% rice self-sufficiently or even could have export rice to other needing countries. If war torn countries like Vietnam and Cambodia have little problem with rice production then, there is no reason Sarawak could not do better than them. We even had rice imported from Vietnam! Their padi fields could have been filled with land mines and their land was damaged by war, but, yet they could do better than Sarawak. This is something the State Government has to learn and find out, but, not just talk, talk, talk and talk only but no progress.

Tan Sri Datuk Dr.George Chan as State Minister of Modern Agriculture in his reply on small padi plantations only said that:

“We have you know, there are two ways of dealing with padi farming. One way is you help the farmers with say, look, you give the land, I will have central management and you know, manage the land for you. The other way is to manage the farmers and say look, we will help you to manage your farm. In other words, we tell the farmers, you listen to me, I will help you with the machinery, you must work together as a group because I cannot individually give you each machine. We will try to get them machineries and help them say, we will help you with the dealing the land or cultivating the land also we can help them with harvesting which takes time a long time.”

But the bottom line is that, what had dr. George Chan’s Ministry of Modern Agriculture done to implement these ideas as in the minister’s answers it was just plain talking! Not an area had been said that the idea had been implemented! So without implementation, how could we expect increased production of padi farming even in small holdings in the state?

From the minister’s answer it was clear that no stateland had yet been alienated to entrepreneurs for big scale padi plantation in the state. This was because nothing was said about this too!

As far as large scale padi plantation is concerned, it seems Sarawak had been sleeping since independence in 1963 to make a study on this. From what the Minister, Tan Sri Datuk Dr. George Chan had said, it seems that it was only recently the state government made feasibility studies for huge scale padi plantations with feasibility studies on eight areas only in the state and none of the areas under study had begun plantations for padi. What the minister had said was that the government was just about to start such large padi plantation soon with Sungai Sebelak area at Roban. Until padi plantation in all these eight areas been fully developed Sarawakians in the years to come will feel the pinch of increasing prices of rice. Countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia that export rice to Sarawak, will in the years to come take this opportunity to hold Sarawak at ransom to increase their prices of rice when they know we need rice badly for our people.

Dr. George Chan should go to China, Cambodia and Vietnam to find out how padi plantations developed there. If countries like Cambodia and Vietnam whose padi fields could be damaged by the wars and could also at one time be full of land land mines could grow padi in large scale, then, there is no reason why Sarawak could not do better than these countries.

From answers given by Dr.George Chan, it was plain clear that our Malaysia’s agricultural policy on huge scale padi plantation did not include the development of large scale padi plantation in the state.

The Federal Government should have an earlier vision to develop the state as a leading rice producing state in Malaysia and should not wait until now. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement for an allocation of RM4 billion and of which RM50 million was said had already been released to Sarawak to develop these padi plantations. Although it was much welcome, but, this showed the lack of foresight to make Sarawak the leading rice bowl in Malaysia.

Now, the question will be that where and how the RM50 million will be spent and whether Sarawak will ever get the RM4 billion allocation in full for its padi plantation development. DAP will keep on monitoring this and is hoping that BN government will be serious to make Sarawak a leading rice bowl in Malaysia, but, not just plain talk only.
In recent months the prices of rice kept on increasing and in many countries there were food shortage and it is afraid that this will create global food crisis soon.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Islam is the official religion in our country and as part of religious practice, malays who are muslims in this country wear the headgear commonly known to us as “songkok”. Many of this headgear, songkok are beautifully designed to include stripes or badges and some could come in different colours, like in dark blue, white, black or in chocolate colour. Seems it is a headgear identified with the malay culture and commonly used by muslims in the country, DAP Sarawak had took the stand that such headgear would not be worn by DAP elected representatives as none of us presently elected are muslims or malay. What we felt in the opening of this sitting of the Dewan this morning is that we should only dress decently suitable to the occasion. At the same time, the ceremonial dress of the Yang Berhormat which comes with the songkok is also very expensive and to have one would be much waste of public fund.

Personally, the songkok is something that could not be forced on us. We have to maintain and to protect our freedom and rights as enshrined in Article 10(a) of the Federal Constitution which provides for freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is a basic human right and should not be lightly taken away from us. Therefore, if the songkok is to be forced on us by the Dewan I would regret to say this could be unconstitutional. The Speaker who himself is a lawyer could be aware of this. Since the wearing of the songkok involves freedom of expression, there is also nothing wrong for any person who is not a muslim to wear the songok, but, it is left to the general public to determine the morality of the matter against the person wearing the songkok if he is not a malay or a muslim.

It has to be clarified that when we as elected representatives took our oath of office in the Dewan, we all swore to protect both the State and Federal Constitutions, so if any person who forces us to wear the songkok then this could also be not correct. This is because freedom of expression which is enshrined in the Federal Constitution is a right in which each and every elected representative should protect and guard against deteriotation. At the same time, it could be contempt of the Dewan if the Speaker may force us to wear the songkok and I hope such an action will not arise.

It really surprised us when Dominique Ng from PKR this time used the songkok. I could not understand his reason behind it as I know that Dominique was very vocal against it when he was ticked off in the Dewan for not wearing the ceremonial dress in full the last time as the ceremonial dress came with the songkok.
When the issue arose in connection with the wearing of the songkok, some Yang Berhormat misleadingly pointed the ceremonial dress as a uniform. This was how the Yang Berhormat of the BN government could mislead the people or could they be ignorant of the difference between a uniform and a ceremonial dress? It has to be clarified that a uniform either gives a right or an authority to the person who wore them while ceremonial dress was associated with dignity and when worn, reflected the status of the person in society. On the other hand, uniform when worn, it gives the person who wore it the right to attend work, to vocational training or classes or when it was associated with work, it gives the person who wore it the autority to perform a legal function such as the authority to arrest a person or to enter a building.
Ceremonial dress may look the same to certain class of persons who wore it, but, on a close look it reflects status by display of medals. Ceremonial dress could only be worn on certain occasions only while uniforms were worn almost everyday.
So BN politicians please do no fool us all the time and not all people are fools!