Seven Suggestions on State Assembly Reforms
KOTA KINABALU (September 20): Five members of the opposition State Assembly met with Sabah State Assembly Speaker Datuk Haji Kadzim M Yahya to propose several reform programs on Monday.
They were Ginger Phoong Jin Zhe (Luyang) from DAP, Jannie Lasimbang (Kepayan), Tan Lee Fatt (Likas) and Justin Wong (Sri Tanjong) and Kadamaian Datuk Ewon Benedict from UPKO.
âIn accordance with the parliamentary reforms that are being practiced to maintain parliamentary democracy in the Malaysian Parliament, we are of the view to propose an equal degree of Assembly reforms to be carried out in the Sabah State Assembly.
âIn our opinion, there are several important reform programs that we would like to bring to the attention of the President and we hope that they can be implemented. It is about enabling the State Assembly to truly embrace the Westminster system and allow more members of the State Assembly to better perform their duties, âsaid Phoong , who is also the leader of the Pakatan Harapan Sabah Youth.
They proposed seven reform programs as follows:
1. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should be chaired by a member of the opposition State Assembly. It is about maintaining transparency, accountability and democracy.
2. The State Assembly should establish special committees such as Special Committee on Health, Special Committee on Finance and Economy, Special Committee on Infrastructure Development, Special Committee on Security, the Special Committee on Agriculture, the Special Committee on Gender. Equality and others. This is about enabling healthier engagements and ensuring that control and balance can be exercised smoothly.
3. The State Assembly should also consider paying allowances to the staff of the State Assembly. It is about enabling members of the State Assembly to conduct research and be more efficient in the forms of debate with data, research and references.
4. The State Assembly should also establish a question time for ministers. This allows members of the State Assembly to investigate urgent matters directly with the minister holding the particular portfolio.
5. The State Assembly should establish a second chamber (Kamar Khas). This is to provide a platform for certain members of the State Assembly to debate a specific subject with the ministers in charge.
6. All bills should be debated in committee, in particular the supply bill (budget). This is to ensure that the details of bills are fully debated.
7. Extend the sitting State Assembly to at least 30 days per year. This is to ensure that the concerns of the population can be truly raised in the State Assembly and that no constituency will be sidelined due to insufficient time.
The opposition delegation said the meeting went well and that they hope the State Assembly will soon carry out these reforms to uphold the spirit of the Westminster system.
Among other things, they also urged the President to digitize the affairs of the State Assembly, including allowing meeting agendas and Hansards to be easily viewed and downloaded via the Internet.