Hornbill Unleashed

May 19, 2017

Citizens-Initiated Referendum not confined to direct democracy — See Chee How

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:03 AM

Image result for see chee howIT is wrong to say that only countries practising direct democracy like Switzerland has Citizens-Initiated Referendum, says See Chee How (PKR-Batu Lintang).

He pointed out that countries like the US, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines are practising representative democracy like Malaysia, adding that in these countries they have Citizens-Initiated Referendum .

“The ‘Citizens-Initiated Referendum’ is being used by most countries practising a representative style of parliamentary democracy to complement representative democracy and strengthen it, lobbying and mobilising our citizens to participate in major decision-making,” he said when debating the Yang di-Pertua Negeri’s address during the DUN sitting yesterday.

See, who tabled the Citizens-Initiated Referendum Bill during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting last Friday, reminded the state administration that while Parliamentary democracy may not be perfect, it is the best there is.

See’s application for leave to table the Citizens-Initiated Referendum Bill failed after 58 Barisan Nasional assemblymen voted against it. However, nine opposition lawmakers supported the application.

DUN speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar had put the application to vote after it was submitted by See.

Asfia said the application contravened Article 24(7) of the State Constitution that states that no Bill or amendment from any ordinary member involving expenditures from the Consolidated Fund may be allowed, except from members of the state Cabinet.

The DUN speaker said the proposed Bill on referendum involves expenditures from the Consolidated Fund, adding that conducting the referendum and appointment of officers to conduct the referendum requires funding.

Asfia then said See did not obtain consent from the state’s Finance Ministry and further stated that the motion for the proposed Bill also exceeded the 250-word limit.

“Clauses of the Bill also intruded into the domain and functions of the Election Commission. Election is a federal subject under the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.”

When tabling the application for leave, See said the Bill, among others, sought to pave way for the indicative referendum that would show the opinion of Sarawakians on specific questions but would not be binding on the government.

Source : @ The Borneo Post Online


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