Long debate on ‘resident in the state’ amendment

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Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang.

THE proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that seeks to define and clarify the words “resident in the State” is to only allow Sarawakian elected representative to be members of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN), says Datuk Idris Buang (PBB-Muara Tuang).

He said if the word ‘resident’ was not amended, the DUN would be filled with members from Malayan-based political parties.

“If the word ‘resident’ is not amended, you will find PAS members, Umno members, DAP members from the federal level in this August House with hidden agendas and not for the sake of Sarawak,” he said when debating on the amendment of the bill during the DUN sitting today.

While supporting the bill, Idris suggested that any anomalies and ambiguities on the wording “resident in the State” may need minor amendment.

“I support the bill, but with the word being amended as properly as could be done.”

The bill also sought to lower the age qualification of person as elected member of the DUN under Article 16 of the State Constitution.

Before DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar decided to defer the bill, as Asfia said there was anomaly in the drafting of the bill, six lawmakers, including Idris, had debated on the bill.

Among the lawmakers were Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa), Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh (PSB-Bawang Assan), Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya (PBB-Jemoreng), See Chee How (PSB-Batu Lintang) and Jefferson Jamit Unyat (PBB-Bukit Goram).

The debate also saw Chong and Soon Koh strongly objecting the bill on grounds that the “resident in the State” amendment would allow any West Malaysian or Sabahan to be elected as a member of the DUN.

It was a long debate of nearly two hours and could be the first in the history of the DUN to have a bill being deferred.

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