Backbenchers ticked off

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 24 Apr 2004

KOTA KINABALU: A usually calm Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman ticked off several backbenchers for incessantly interrupting the winding-up speech of Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Dr Yee Moh Chai. 

“Don’t try to bully and kacau (disturb) him,” said Musa, standing up to defend Dr Yee whose speech was interrupted by four Barisan National assemblymen – Datuk Mohd Lan Alani (Sulabayan), Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia (Tempasuk), Datuk Jasa Rauddah (Kunak) and Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (Sook). 

The four kept pestering the minister to give way and allow them to raise questions during Dr Yee's reply on points raised on his ministry during the debate on the motion of thanks on the Yang di-Pertua Negri's speech.  

One of them also told Dr Yee that under the Standing Orders, a minister was not allowed to read from a prepared text. 

Musa told the backbenchers that they have been given enough time to talk in the past two days and that it was time for them to listen to the ministers' replies.  

Musa said: “You must respect the minister.”At this point, Speaker Datuk Juhar Mahiruddin said: “When a minister refuses to give way, I cannot force him to do so. The Standing Order is clear on that.” 

Juhar said that to avoid any interruption during a speech, a minister could make it clear at the start of his speech that he would not give way to questions. 

Yee, who is known to speak more comfortably in English in the previous assembly sessions, continued to read his ministry’s winding up reply to points raised.  

He said his ministry would step up efforts to tackle the state’s unemployment problem that now stood at about 5.4%.  

This includes the establishment of a joint adaptation training programme between the state technical training institute in Papar and employers in the agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors for school leavers. 

Acknowledging that much of the state’s rural areas were still lacking information technology facilities, Yee said his ministry’s IT unit would strive to get contributions from various government agencies to tackle this problem. 

The assembly adjourned sine die

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