Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen has come to his own defence as to why he did not take part in the debate on the Territorial Sea Act (TSA) Bill tabled in Parliament on April 18, 2012.
He reasoned that there were too many bills being tabled and there were various government businesses and too many acts being passed, and the Speaker was impatient on that day.
Speaking at a press conference in Sibu last Sunday, Chong said the Speaker had on several occasions made it clear that arguments or debates on a similar point ought to be avoided to save time, and it appeared that the Speaker was somewhat in a hurry because there were many Bills.
He recalled that the Parliament sitting that day was adjourned around midnight and the Bill was passed in an ‘inhumane’ manner.
Chong, who is also state DAP chairman, said Batu MP Chua Tian Chang had offered his point of view on the motion and as such, there was no need for him to give a similar opinion.
He said when Chua expressed his doubt over the Bill, the minister who tabled the TSA Bill was not certain whether the Bill infringed the Federal Constitution.
Chong said the minister should have done his homework to determine whether the Bill was against the Federal Constitution.
He also said the deputy minister who seconded the bill was from SUPP.
As the chief minister had several times mentioned that the TSA was unconstitutional, the state government should now pursue its repeal, asserted Chong.
He suggested that either the federal government propose to repeal the Act or the state government seek legal action through the Federal Court to make the Act null and void.
He added that for as long as the Act was not repealed and the Federal Court did not pronounce the Act to be unconstitutional, the Act would not be considered null and void.
thesundaypost reported that the TSA Bill was tabled and passed in Parliament on the same day without much debate.
According to the report, none of the Sarawak MPs present, including those from the opposition such as Chong, spoke against the loss of sovereign rights to the continental shelf.
Source : The Borneo Post Online