Chong: Disallowing opposition to speak an insult to democracy
KUCHING: Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen says the decision to disallow opposition members to speak at the special State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting yesterday is an insult to democracy.
Chong, who had wanted to speak during the sitting, was stopped by Speaker Datuk Amar Mohammad Asfia Awang Nassar on the grounds that the government’s business took precedence.
“Today (yesterday), we are here to celebrate the 150th anniversary of DUN but what happened during the sitting earlier has made the House a mockery and an insult to democracy.
“DUN is a forum where the voices of people are heard and expressed and the elected representatives present are representing their electorates,” he told a press conference following the adjournment of the DUN sitting, which was held in conjunction with its 150th anniversary at the DUN Complex yesterday.
Chong, who is also state DAP chairman, cited Canada as an example whose parliament celebrated its 150th anniversary last year.
“They also had a special sitting that day and the MPs were allowed to speak in the parliament.
“What happened in our DUN really puts to shame that even though we are 150 years old, the spirit of democracy is swept aside. The opposition was not allowed to voice their views on the matter.”
Also sharing the same sentiment was Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian, who said there should be a bipartisan spirit in the DUN.
“It’s an irony when we say we are celebrating our 150th anniversary and yet we are so immature and not allowing members to speak. It is a celebration of our history and therefore, it should be a celebration for all of us —the opposition and government members and all Sarawakians.
“If we were allowed to speak and join in the celebration, I’m sure we would also be very happy, and will be talking about the history and uniqueness of Sarawak,” he said.