KUANTAN: An amendment to have a maximum of five additional appointed assemblymen has been passed by the Pahang state assembly to much contention from Pakatan Harapan lawmakers.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail (pic) put forward the amendment to increase the number of state assemblymen from 42 to a maximum of 47 without going through the election process.
To be appointed, an individual must be supported by at least seven assemblymen and approved with a simple majority.
The amendment provides for the appointed assemblyman to take part in debates and committees as well as vote.
However, none of the appointed assemblymen can become Mentri Besar or be members of the state executive council.
By the conditions in the amendment, the Barisan Nasional coalition would have free rein to make the appointments as there are only nine Pakatan assemblymen in the Pahang state assembly.
Wan Rosdy justified the move by saying it was not abnormal as the Sabah and Terengganu governments had already implemented it.
"The Pahang government is only following the precedent set by the two states," he said on Friday (Nov 20).
Wan Rosdy said the appointed assemblymen could expand the government's service to the people, especially in the challenging political and socio-economic situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The appointed members will of course be among those of certain calibre and skills, thus being able to work with the other state assemblymen in contributing the best service for the well-being of the people,” said Wan Rosdy.
He added that the appointments are also able to reduce the overall ratio of a state assemblyman to the represented total population.
"With this, the services of the state assemblymen will be even more effective," he said, adding that the appointments would be complementary and not overlapping.
He also said the amendment would surely involve additional spending but the total had not been determined yet.
Speaking outside the state assembly, Lee Chin Chen (PH-Bilut) said these appointed members should be regarded as backdoor assemblymen.
"If they are interested in becoming assemblymen, then contest in the elections," said Lee.
Young Syefura Othman (PH-Ketari) said the move was unreasonable as Barisan Nasional already had coordinators in constituencies.
She questioned whether the appointments would be used as a political reward.
Leong Yu Man (PH-Triang) said that the appointments could be used to solidify Barisan's political position in the event they did not obtain a strong majority after elections.
Barisan currently has 25 seats in the Pahang state assembly with Pakatan holding nine and PAS, eight.
Did you find this article insightful?