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


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