All eyes will be on the State Legislative Assembly when its eight-day sitting starts today, but the focus will not all be on State Budget 2017.
Many people will be eager to see what will happen when state PKR chief Baru Bian tables a motion to urge the state government to take the necessary measures to restore Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to its original form in order to assert the rightful status of Sarawak as an equal partner within the Federation of Malaysia.
Will the Speaker allow the Ba Kelalan assemblyman to table this motion or reject it outright?
The answer will be known soon enough but what is certain is the state BN will not table the motion.
On Oct 23, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem announced that a state cabinet minister will table this motion, but on Nov 16, he told a press conference that the plan had been aborted as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said the federal government was ready to explore any misunderstandings of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Meanwhile, Adenan is expected to table the Supply (2017) Bill, 2016, today. The Bill, which is on the state budget, is one of two Bills to be tabled at the sitting, which ends Nov 30.
This ‘development bias’ budget is expected to be devoted to development and rural transformation.
Recently, Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said the government wanted to close the rural-urban development gap.
“Ours is a development-oriented budget, and also rural-based. A great percentage of the funds will go to rural development,” said Wong.
This Bill will have its first and second readings on the same day, while its third reading will be on Nov 30.
The other Bill that will be tabled today is the Distribution of Gas Bill, 2016.
Public Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom will table the Bill, with the first, second and third readings on the same day.
Apart from these two Bills, eight motions have been filed by six elected members of the opposition bench.
Baru Bian (PKR-Ba Kelalan), See Chee How (PKR-Batu Lintang), Dr Ting Tiong Choon (DAP-Pujut) and David Wong (DAP-Pelawan) have each filed a motion, while Irene Chang (DAP-Bukit Assek) and Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) filed two motions each.
See is seeking to resolve and affirm the state’s determination to uphold its territorial integrity and to revivify its sovereign rights to all resources.
Dr Ting hoped that the Ministry of Local Government would provide minutes of meeting to members of the public.
Wong is calling upon the state government to demand for federal funds to start a Sarawak railway line to connect major cities and towns in the state.
One of Chang’s motions aims to see all police stations in Sarawak operate round-the-clock and that police personnel be well trained and equipped.
She is also hoping that minor rural project (MRP) funds would be provided to non-BN elected representatives.
Chong is hoping that the state government shall, within one year from the date of the passing his motion, implement the two resolutions passed by the august House on May 6, 2014, and Dec 8, 2015.
He also hoped to see the state government cease the operation of gas fuel power generation and renegotiate with Petronas to convert the supply of 450 million standard cubic feet per day of subsidised natural gas to subsidised liquid petroleum gas of equal value to reduce average price of liquefied petroleum gas for households and small businesses in the state.
A total of 394 questions will be put forward to various ministers. Of the total, 319 questions are seeking oral answers while the remaining 75 questions ask for written replies.
Source : Lim How Pim@The Borneo Post Online