The new season of Sarawak’s State Assembly seating will start from June 20th-and the back-benchers are given 3-day coaching to help the front bench fight the expected onslaught from the augmented opposition bench! It had been said that in the Sarawak state assembly only no more than 2-3 persons, including Taib himself, can handle queries and challenges from the Opposition, which numbered only 6 in the last State Assembly. So they resort to throwing out the Opposition reps to lessen their pressure. However if the leaders can do a good defense for their policies surely they can convince the back benchers to support them and even join in the fight against the Opposition. But if they have been weak and unconvincing due to years of unchallenged power in the State Assembly they only have themselves to blame-irrespective of how much coaching they give the backbenchers to act as their cheer-leaders!
One thing on the coaching: it is held in the State Assembly building itself-wonder if the coaching session was funded by public funds-and since BN can use the State Assembly-can the PR also use the building for their own functions?
Sarawak backbenchers in better position to defend government polcies – Taib latest!
Posted on June 16, 2011, Thursday
KUCHING: Sarawak backbenchers are in a better position to defend government policies because the Barisan Nasional (BN) secured two-thirds majority in the 71-member state legislative assembly, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said today.
He said the opposition would have the upper hand only as long as the 55-strong BN members allowed them to dictate the ground rules by harping on religious freedom and racial issues that could easily stir the people’s emotions.
“As BN elected representatives, you must understand your role as a backbencher to act as the link to forge a new system and solution to make the government work by explaining in simple terms to the people on the ground,” he said when officiating the Parliamentary Discourse on Government 2011 seminar, themed “Battle of the Minds : Mastering Parliamentary Procedures and Winning Political Arguments” at the new state legislative assembly building at Petra Jaya here.
Some 75 delegates comprising state assstant ministers, backbenchers and political secretaries are attending the three-day event held ahead of the state legislative assembly sitting from June 20-29, which will also be attended by 15 opposition members, including DAP (12) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (three), and one independent.
Taib was confident that the proper manner in defending government policies would silent any critics, locally and internationally, especially the opposition’s accusations that the state government lacked transparency and credibility in handling government expenditure.
At present, Sarawak was the only state to have an independent rating under Moody’s Standard as well as a public accounts committee that conducted annual reviews, he said.
Unlike the opposition who advocated changes that suited their political purposes, he said, the backbenchers must recognise a working democracy that really advocated and worked for change, entailing not just the need for economic development but interaction with the community to make public policies a realistic development.
“Today I can say we don’t have a viable opposition yet and I hope that their attempt to have a shadow cabinet will teach them the responsibility on how to run a country, that means they have to understand what needs to be done to make Malaysia a success,” he said.
Earlier, state legislative assembly speaker Datuk Seri Asfia Awang Nassar said a two-thirds majority was a golden dream cherished by parliamentarians to enable the ruling party to amend the state constitution when such a necessity arose.
Working papers presented at the seminar included “Parliamentary Standing Orders : a Reflection,” Native Customary Rights : Understanding the law and the issues,” “Sustainable Development and Environmental Practices in Sarawak : Defending government from ‘Greenies’ onslaught,” “Sarawak Forestry Policy : Defense against anti-logging movement,” Budgetary and Financial Procedures : Defending government expenditures” and “Winning arguements ; Advocacy and oratorical skills in Parliament.” – Bernama