CM, Sabah Speaker say state assembly ready to reconvene ‘anytime’

A general view of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly Building in Kota Kinabalu September 30, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A general view of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly Building in Kota Kinabalu September 30, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KOTA KINABALU, June 18 — The Sabah state assembly could be called to session at any moment that was suitable, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor when citing the state’s Speaker.

“We will seek National Security Council’s (NSC) advice and we will be ready to reconvene under strict operating procedures (SOPs), he said.

Hajiji said he held a discussion with Sabah Speaker Datuk Kadzim Yahya yesterday following the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s recommendation for Parliament to sit as soon as possible.

Kadzim agreed that the state assembly sitting could be called anytime, including before the end of the Emergency on August 1, provided that the government was agreeable.

“We are ready to hold it whenever the state government advises,” he said.

The state assembly has yet to meet since the last budget sitting last December, following the numerous phases of lockdown and the pandemic here.

“For this year (2021), we have not yet held our assembly opening session,” Kazim said, adding that  the assembly should meet at least three times a year.

He said his office would need around two weeks’ notice to prepare for a sitting as it involved a significant amount of documentation as well as informing the assemblymen and other officials.

The issue of the reopening of the assembly comes after the Agong’and Malay Rulers said the federal and state legislatures should meet as soon as possible.

State Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said the recommendation was appropriate and in line with the elected representatives’ efforts to assist those burdened by the lockdown.

“Warisan urges that the government takes this sense of urgency into serious consideration before more lives are lost and the economy plunges into further decline,” he said.

He said reopening Dewan Rakyat would allow lawmakers to discuss the Emergency Ordinance and the National Recovery Plan particularly on spending related to Covid-19 to ensure it can be studied and checked and balanced more effectively to ensure it truly benefits the people.

“This is important so that not a single person affected by the virus is left out. Elected representatives are given the mandate by the people and have the responsibility and the people’s trust to make sure they protect their constituents’ health, safety and well-being,” he said.

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