Chong says Speaker’s decision to reject his PETROS motion was flawed

By S. Harrish

THE Sarawak state assembly Speaker has been urged not to twist the meaning of Standing Orders to suit his purpose and shield the government from the supervision of the State Assembly.

Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen said the Speaker’s decision to reject his motion on setting up a Special Select Committee on PETROS was flawed.

He said the select committee was to oversee and supervise the policies and management of PETROS to ensure the wealth from the oil and gas revenue was fairly and equitably distributed to all Sarawakians.

Earlier this morning, the Speaker had rejected Chong’s motion on the matter citing that it was sent in late.

Chong, who is also the State DAP chief, said in a statement that the notice of motion was submitted on Nov 2 while the sitting started today.

“The Speaker rejected my motion on the ground of non-compliance of the 10-day notice stipulated under Standing Order 23(1).”

He said the Standing Order does not provide that the calculation of the days stops on the start of the sitting.

“The current sitting will continue for 5 days until Nov 13. The motion can be tabled on any of these days as by Nov 12, it would have complied with the 10-day requirement.

“It is the job of the Speaker to interpret the Standing Order but not his job to add in words to twist its meaning.”

Chong said the second ground on which the decision was flawed was that the Standing Orders said no notice was required for any motion “to proceed to any particular business out of the regular order”.

He said his motion was not the regular order of the meeting and therefore no 10-day notice was required to be given.

“The importance of my motion is to protect the oil and gas resources of Sarawak from being used to only benefit the cronies and the small elite groups friendly to the power that be.”

Chong said the Speaker’s primary role was to facilitate the running of the state assembly and not to defend and protect the Executive from the scrutiny of the state assembly.

“Therefore, I call upon him to allow the motion and I further call upon the State government to install this “Special Select Committee” mechanism for the better protection of our oil and gas resources from being exploited to benefit a few at the expense of the ordinary people of Sarawak.”