Opposition Assemblymen Sworn A Second Time! Foreign Workers Needed

1951

JEFFREY KITINGAN IS SAID TO BE THE TEMPORARY OPPOSITION LEADER IN SABAH, A ROLE HE IS FAMILIAR WITH. THE REST OF THE OPPOSITION ASSEMBLYMEN CAN LEARN A THING OR TWO FROM HIM, BUT TRY NOT TO PICK UP HIS BAD HABIT OF POLITICAL FROGGING

COMMENT: Pride comes before a fall.

The Sabah opposition assemblymen had to swallow their pride.

Their “backdoor” swearing in on June 12th was not recognised.

Some 20 out of 21 opposition members from UMNO, PBS and independents; with former Chief Minister, Musa Aman missing, had taken their oaths before State Speaker, Syed Abas Ali in the assembly hall at about 8.30 am ahead of the 15th Sabah Legislative Assembly opening by the Yang di Pertuan Negeri, Tun Juhar Maharuddin.

The opposition assemblymen thinking they still had the clout had boycotted the swearing in on June 11th, where Chief Minister, Shafie Apdal received a two thirds vote of confidence from 43 of the 64-member assembly. (Four of the Assemblymen are nominated).

Some opposition assemblymen might have got a kick by posing supplementary questions at the newly minted ministers; it seemed they chose those who are not too well versed with the national language.

Why these assemblymen managed to be sworn in before the Speaker at his office without the knowledge of Istana and also the State Government needs to be looked into.

What were the Speaker and the State Assembly Secretary, Bernard Balanting, thinking they were doing as it was against the standing order and thus deemed illegal?

This was a serious matter and the public needs to be informed.

The speaker, of all people, must remain neutral and follow the rules. The old culture of siding with the Government blindly must be a thing of the past; at the end of the day what is right for the country counts more.

Masidi Manjun at the illegal swearing in before the Speaker. What was Bernard Dalinting, the State Assembly secretary up to, knowing full well it was not right.

The Warisan-led state government will of course come across pockets of resistance from some officers who are still loyal to the previous government.

This is to be expected, the present government must, therefore, press the reset button harder than usual. It is good that Shafie has called on civil servants to give their undivided loyalty to the State and not his Parti Warisan.

The government must not be too kind; already we are hearing of two diplomats who are reluctant to come home despite the recall instruction from the Federal government.

The culture of self-entitlement is yet to be discarded totally.

The new ministers, most with little experience in government will of course make mistakes, making statements that seem to contradict one another. They will get better with time.

The renegade opposition assemblymen ignored the Head of State’s invitation to be sworn in at the Dewan, but came the next day to hold their own session. In the end, they were made to be sworn in a second time.

The 100 day honeymoon is half way done, expectations are high for the elected representatives to deliver.

The people will not be too kind with excuses for non-delivery of election promises.

Democracy is of course noisy, as everybody wants to be heard, and the onus is on the Chief Minister to steady the ship and provide quality leadership.

Any slip up, the opposition will seize the moment and chew you up alive.

And the opposition must play a responsible role to reflect maturity and not behave like a spoiled brat.

You had your chance when you were part of the government; silly antics like the ‘backdoor’ swearing in must be avoided, as nobody is impressed.

The people want to see if you can function properly to provide the check-and-balance in the system.

In the absence of Musa, STAR president, Jeffrey Kitingan is said to be the temporary opposition leader, a role he is familiar with.

The rest of the opposition assemblymen can learn a thing or two from him. Try not to pick up his bad habit of political frogging.

Opposition reps like Ariffin Arif and Ghulam Haidar together with backbencher Limus Jury, right.

Then, by acting dumb and not participating in the debate of the recent assembly meeting was not something to be proud of, in fact it was rather silly and childish. Nobody was impressed.

Not asking normal questions during Q and A as is the norm, but harassing the new Ministers with supplementary questions, knowing they would be hard-pressed with off-the-cuff replies was certainly ungentlemanly. To the new ministers, do give your replies in English if Bahasa Malaysia is not exactly your forte; but do brush up on the national language.

The people want to see Sabah move to a higher level we all know we are capable of. Everybody including the opposition must play their roles accordingly.

Otherwise, we only have ourselves to blame.

WE CAN TRY TO ADOPT THE BEST PRACTICES FROM OTHER COUNTRIES; AUSTRALIA WELCOMES MIGRANTS WITH THE NECESSARY SKILLS WHERE LOCALS ARE NOT INTERESTED IN, AND PERMANENT RESIDENCY IS EVEN EXTENDED FOR SKILLS IN DEMAND

It has touched a raw nerve.

The mere idea of the Chief Minister proposing to legalise foreign workers in the State saw the merchants of doom and gloom up in arms.

This is an outstanding problem that needs a solution.

It has nothing to do with citizenship. The way it is being exploited by the opposition, it is like the sky is falling for some people.

Why do locals shun work at construction sites? Is it because its dangerous, hard work or dirty work that make Sabahans shun shut jobs?

But, how do we resolve this problem once and for all?

Our own people are not interested to work in the construction and the plantation sectors. They prefer to work in air conditioned offices.

It is hard work and we have no choice but to rely on foreign workers.

We can’t rely on them forever either.

It is not that simple.

The government is going to get all the stakeholders involved before any decision is made.

So, what’s the problem?

For us to grow economically, we need workers, and if locals are not interested we need to look outside.

We need to bring them in, because we don’t have our own people willing to do the work, yet any attempt to regularise these workers, the locals get upset.

Sabah’s plantation sector faces a shortage of labour as many have returned to Kalimantan where a similar position offers better pay and perks.

We don’t want them to stay undocumented forever either.

Where do we go from here? It is round and round the mulberry bush.

We can try to adopt the best practices from other countries; Australia welcomes migrants with the necessary skills where locals are not interested in, and permanent residency is even extended for skills in demand.

They also welcome temporary workers like fruit pickers. Many Sabahans are doing this there.

Everything is above board and transparent, enforcement is tip top; if you have to leave the country, they make sure you leave.

Maybe, the government needs to assure the people that this will be the case.

Transparency and good governance should be the order of the day. No corruption, please.

Maybe a local ministry of human resource or immigration ministry can be created to handle this, why not?

A way out must be found, but not at the expense of the locals as it is perceived and encouraged by some people. It is the economy, silly!