Friday, August 12, 2022

PKR’s statement on remuneration of State assemblypersons misleading

Secara Rawak

KUCHING: A suggestion by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak that the remuneration of State assemblypersons should cease to be paid after June 6 is unconstitutional and unsound legal advice, said State Legislative Assembly (DUN) deputy speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala.

He was commenting on PKR Sarawak information chief Abun Sui Anyit’s suggestion that the government stop paying the remuneration of assemblypersons (ADUNs) and ministers upon automatic dissolution of the DUN on June 6.

Abun Sui was quoted as saying that the 12th state election must be held within two months after the expiry of the DUN’s term on June 6, 2021 and that the State Treasury should stop paying salaries of all ADUNs and ministers after that date as they would cease to be elected representatives.

Gerawat however said the statement is both misleading and inaccurate.

“This is because it did not make any reference to the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong which takes effect from January 21 until August 1, 2021,” he said on Sunday (May 9).

Gerawat explained that Section 18 of the Emergency Ordinance states that in the event of any inconsistency or conflict between the provision of the EO and any written law (all Acts of Parliament and laws passed by the States), the provisions of the EO shall supersede such written law to the extent of such inconsistency and conflict.

“Section 15(1) of the EO states that the provisions in the State Constitution relating to summoning, prorogation and dissolution of the DUN shall not have effect during the emergency.

“Section 15(2) of the EO provides that only the Agong has the power to summon, prorogue and dissolve the DUN after consultation with the Governor (TYT),” he said.

He noted that Article 21(3) of the Sarawak Constitution provides that the state assembly (DUN) will be dissolved after five years from the date of its first meeting after each election, whereby the term of the current DUN is due to expire on June 6.

“However, Section 18 of the EO read together with Section 15 have effectively extended DUN’s term beyond June 6 because Article 21(3) of Sarawak’s constitution (which provide for dissolution of DUN by June 6, 2021) and the laws governing the remuneration for ADUNs and ministers are now superseded by Section 15 of the EO which expressly provides that only the YDP Agong can dissolve DUN.

“Until and unless YDP Agong dissolves DUN within the current emergency period from January 21 to August 1, DUN will not be dissolved and the state election cannot be held,” he pointed out.

He stressed that, therefore, the current ADUNs and Cabinet’s term of office would continue until the end of the EO on August 1 or any extension thereof, unless the Agong in consultation with TYT dissolves DUN earlier than the expiry of the EO.

“As such, I suggest Abun Sui to read the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 before making such unfounded and poorly researched statements in the media,” he said.

On another note, the Mulu assemblyman said that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was ready for the state election whenever it is to be held.

“However, GPS places priority on the health and safety of our people and respects and abides by the law including the EO,” said Gerawat.

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