Chong chided for ‘backdoor deal’ remark

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FAZZRUDDIN Abdul Rahman (PBB-Tupong) has hit out Sarawak DAP-chairman Chong Chieng Jen over his remark accusing GPS in having a backdoor deal with the federal government. 

This deal is purportedly to allow West Malaysians to the membership of the state’s august House.

He urged the Kota Sentosa assemblyman to look at the provision in Section 71 of the Immigration Act carefully instead of continue playing politics.

“Twisting the facts by accusing GPS government having a backdoor deal to allow eligibility for outsiders to run in the state polls on the condition they have resided for two years in state, is impractical,” Fazzruddin said when debating the Bill seeking to amend the State Constitution in lowering the minimum age required for a person to become an elected representative from 21 to 18 years old.

He explained it was important for members of the august House to understand the ultimate aim to amend the State Constitution.

“We must understand the spirit behind the amendment of Constitution of Sarawak Bill.

“Before this, anyone who lives in Sarawak even only in just three weeks, they are eligible to be a candidate for state election.

“Thus, the amendment to this bill qualifies the member of the august House to review the definition of the ‘resident of Sarawak’ under the provision,” he clarified.

To ensure the amendment of state constitution will continue to protect Sarawak rights, he proposed the definition of ‘resident in the state’ to be defined more clearly.

“GPS is always consistent in ensuring that Sarawak’s rights are maintained, and thus, amending the definition is necessary to protect our rights,” he added.

During the tabling of the Bill, State Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (PBB-Asajaya), the motion to amend Article 16 of the State Constitution was to propose a Bill to lowering the age qualification to become elected state assembly members from 21 years old to 18 years old.

The motion of the Bill, however, has been deferred by Sarawak State Legislative Assembly due to “obvious anomalies in definitions” which need to be further addressed.

“This Bill refers to Section 71 of the Immigration Act 1959 and Section 71 further refers to Section 66. In view of these anomalies and clarification of definition to be made, I hereby defer this Bill and this Bill stays deferred to a date to be fixed,” said House Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nasar at the end of the debate on the Bill.

Section 71 dwells on persons to be treated as belonging to the East Malaysian State while Section 66 touches on restrictions on a citizen’s right of entry into an East Malaysian State.

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