Only ministers entitled to salaries after June 6

Voon Lee Shan

KUCHING: The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) is governed by the Sarawak Constitution and will, despite the emergency, expire after June 6.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan said that since the legislature will automatically expire, the term of all elected assemblypersons will also expire.

“With that, they (elected assemblypersons) should not be entitled to receive any salary and allowances,” he said today.

He pointed out that while the elected assemblypersons who are ministers could still be entitled to receive salaries and allowances, assistant ministers should not receive any allowances and salaries as they are not members of the Cabinet according to Article 7A of the Sarawak Constitution.

“Unless they are appointed or re-appointed by the Head of State as assistant ministers to hold office until the next DUN term, if not, assistant ministers shall have no right to receive further salaries and allowances after June 6.

“Since the office of the elected assemblyperson expires automatically after June 6, it is logical that they being in the government should not be allowed to issue grants or minor rural project (MRP) funds without the sanction of the legislature.

“This will be an abuse of democracy and the voters should punish them in coming elections, if they do so,” he said.

Voon added that upon expiry of the term of DUN, under Article 21(4), the state election must be held within 60 days from June 7.

“It is doubtful whether the King has the power under emergency laws to decree that election cannot be held beyond the 60 days period mentioned in Article 21(4) of the Sarawak Constitution.

“The matter has to be tested in court.  There is no provision in the Sarawak Constitution for the King to interfere with the life of the DUN because this power solely lies with the Head of State,” he claimed. 

He explained that if the King interferes with the ‘life’ of the DUN, it might spark political controversies.

“This may also give an impression that the Sarawak government has no autonomy at all in running the state,” said Voon.