Hornbill Unleashed

May 6, 2017

‘DUN has power to pass citizens-initiated referendums’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Related imageThe State Legislative Assembly (DUN) has the power to pass citizens-initiated referendums if given the provision to do so.

State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-chairman See Chee How cited the example of Australian state parliaments, which have special rights within their own legislative powers and jurisdictions.

“Australia is quite advanced in referendums. It is unique in that all its legislative Houses are called parliaments, whether federal or state.

“Quite similar to us, the Australian states are very specific about their autonomy and special rights, which is why they have the legislative powers for matters concerning their respective state,” he told a press conference yesterday.

The Batu Lintang assemblyman was responding to State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo, who had rubbished his proposal to table a private member’s bill to enact a state law providing for citizens-initiated referendums in Sarawak.

“If we are concerned about our rights, autonomy and special issues, can we leave it to the Malaysian Parliament to

legislate for us? If we have the legislative power on the areas within our jurisdiction, why not legislate it ourselves?” he reasoned.

See also cited example of citizens-initiated referendums in the United States, where even local governments also provide for referendums.

“Within local governments, there are certain areas that concern the people within the local governments. The people can vote for issues, such as whether to allow smoking in restaurants or should people switch off lights during daytime, and so on.

“Just do it within our areas of jurisdiction, not come up with a referendum in Sarawak and try to get it to cover the whole of Malaysia,” he said.

Soo had claimed only Parliament could consider the referendum bill for enactment.

“When you say you want to bring this to Parliament, but you are concerned about our own rights, autonomy and issues, how are you going to talk about the rights of Sarawakians?” See responded.

“It contradicts with what she (Soo) has always tried to profess so I think that is very wrong of her. Hopefully this will enlighten her.”

According to See, the significance of representative democracy has not in any way been diminished or weakened in countries that have provisions to hold referendums.

“Switzerland has shown the way. They have a proud record of voting in more than 500 referendums initiated by their citizens. Australians have voted in a few dozen referendums in a short last few decades.

Amongst all the nations, the favourite questions concerned healthcare, taxes, welfare, drug policy, public transport, immigration, asylum and education.

“The process will ensure that all Sarawakians will have an equal and fair say to any particular question on matters or issues of concern to all Sarawakians, and make a persuasive representation for the better governance of Sarawak,” he added.

Source : @ The Borneo Post Online


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