Sabah should rethink need for appointed assemblymen, says Sabah Law Society

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah should re-evaluate the need to appoint six nominated assemblymen, says Sabah Law Society president Roger Chin.

He said that the provision in the Sabah Constitution to appoint six nominated assemblymen could be seen as outdated as the state assembly has 73 elected members, which already represents a wide spectrum of its people.

"The time has come for Sabah to take a good hard look at the need for nominated members of the Assembly and consider whether the system should be done away with for being anachronistic," Chin said.

Furthermore, he said nominated assemblymen are not subject to the anti-party hopping law passed by the Sabah Assembly on May 25.

"They are not covered under the anti-party hopping law, yet they will be able to cause the downfall of a democratically elected government," he said.

"They are equal in all respects with elected representatives who together form the 79-member Sabah Legislative Assembly.

"They may even become the chief minister," he said.

Chin said nominated assemblymen are appointed by the ruling government, which are in turn elected by the people.

"As they are appointed by the ruling government chosen by the people... Sabah anti-party hopping laws should also apply to them," he said.

He said that Sabah's political history is filled with instances of nominated assemblymen leaving the ruling government and joining forces with the opposition to form governments not chosen by the people.

He said the rationale for nominated members was to bring more independent voices into the Assembly.

"It is to provide alternative non-partisan views in the legislature as well as to ensure representation for minority and under-represented groups.

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