Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Should Sarawak DUN meet regularly to give meaning to its purposes?

Secara Rawak

The Sarawak state government is talking about the KPIs of the state politicians. How do we know whether the BN politicians have achieved their KPIs? Is the government is going to be transparent on this matter?

Is there any need for this after all the politicians have been supposedly adequately evaluated, vetted, and appraised for their integrity, honesty, attitude, behaviour, intelligence, skill, oratory capability, esprit de corps, and the ability, capability, and willingness to serve before they were selected to be the candidates.

But the judgements of the selector or the arbitrator in the selection process of the candidates could be clouded by other factors.

Is the score card of the KPIs of the politicians something to fall back upon when they don’t perform accordingly?

The question to ask then is: how often will the politicians or the cabinet ministers are to be assessed? Is this an annual thing? Or is it to be a cumulative thing over a period of 5 years?

What is the passing mark for them to be re-nominated as candidates or to be retained as ministers? Will the BN be transparent enough and make public the score card of each politician or minister so that the people know why the politicians are to be re-nominated or dropped, and why the ministers are be retained or not.

But more importantly, the general public wants to assess the performance of their politicians themselves, and there is no better way to do this than to see how they perform at the legislature.

But can this be done when the Sarawak DUN meets for about 20 days per year?

The elected politicians are the peoples’ representatives. The people voted them to not only to represent them – as not everyone in the state can go to DUN, hence the concept of representation – but to pass on the responsibility to them to make decisions on their behalf.

The legislature is a public forum to be used by the peoples’ representatives to air the views of the people and to debate on the laws and the policy affecting the people.

It is through their performance and participation in this debate on the laws to be made and on policy matters to be considered that the people can understand their thoughts on certain matters and their ideas about certain issues and their ability to express them.

The elected politicians are regarded as lawmakers. Their task is actually to discuss, to give consent and to agree or not to agree with the law that is going to be passed.

Because they are to talk on our behalf and in order that they can do this eloquently they must be given the freedom to express their ideas and viewpoints responsibly while attending the DUN sessions. Parliamentary immunity of course doesn’t apply if the politicians are involved in criminal activities.

t5As the politicians come from various groups and represent varied interests it is important that enough time is allocated for them to discuss and debate the law irrespective of whether it is a new enactment or an amendment.

Law cannot be made hurriedly and hastily. Its merits and consequences to the society must be adequately deliberate upon. Ill-considered law is a detriment to the well-being of the people.

A legislature must be competent to make, change, enact or amend any law. The lawmakers must have the necessary time to think about the law to be passed, to debate on it, and to make a decision about it.

The legislature is above the government as the government only remains in office only if it manages to maintain its majority in it.

The legislature performs many other important functions. Public money, for example, cannot be utilised unless the government has received the approval of the House to spend them.  This power of the purse of the House is to regulate and control government expenditure and the collection of revenue through the imposition of taxes.

The minister acts as the manager of his ministry. But who is to supervise the minister in discharging his or her functions.

The legislature provides surveillance to recklessness in decision among the executive, to ensure justice and fairness policy implementation and decision-making, and to stop irregularities in the way the administrators use public money.

All actions of the government are the responsibility of the cabinet. What to do if their actions are not supported by the people, disagreed by the public, or opposed by the masses?

Where to get the recourse if the government abuses the trust of the people?

The 3 branches of the government cannot interfere in each other’s jobs. There are laws but the executive, who is made up of the cabinet and the administrative officers may act outside the power vested in them by the law. How is this going to be checked?

We practise the fusion of power principle whereby the members of the cabinet are also the members of the House. It is very important that the other members of the House know what the cabinet is doing.

As a forum for discussion should not the DUN meet more often and for a longer period per session? If it only meets for about 20 days per year, what do the politicians do for the other 345 days?

Yes, they need to meet their constituents as their KPIs certainly require them to do so. But they also need to bring the issues affecting the people to the public domain. And should not we respect the legislature by giving the value and the meaning to its functions, roles and purposes. –

dun sarawak

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