Proud Dayak makes history

Taking up the mantle: Mutang taking oath as Dewan Negara president during a special Dewan Negara sitting. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Sarawak’s Datuk Mutang Tagal has been sworn in as Dewan Negara president, making history as the first Dayak to be appointed to the post.

A member of the Lun Bawang community, he has pledged to continue with parliamentary reforms including the implementation of the Parliamentary Services Act.

“I will continue with all the planned reforms, including amendments to the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, improvements to the Standing Orders and the introduction of the elected representatives’ code of ethics,” he said after being sworn in at a special Dewan Negara sitting yesterday.

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He earlier took his oath of office as senator before Dewan Negara deputy president Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

The 69-year-old Sarawakian, who served two terms as Bukit Mas MP from 1982 to 1990, is a lawyer by training.

In his speech, the Senate president said the legal field has always been close to his heart, and he pledged to make full use of his experience and knowledge as a legal practitioner to elevate the position of the Senate.

“I would like to remind everyone that this position also comes with the responsibility of the Senate to act as a mechanism for checks and balances, not only to the Executive but also to the Dewan Rakyat.

“We have to ensure that good laws are passed for the benefit of the people and nation. My hope and prayer are that all members of the Senate take their oaths of office seriously and diligently scrutinise all Bills presented so that from these laws, good policies are adopted by the government to advance the interest of the rakyat and nation,” he said.

Mutang, who was the sole candidate nominated for the post, replaces Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar who was made the Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri on Jan 26.

As a serving MP, he was also part of the Public Accounts Committee from 1986 to 1990.

Currently, Mutang is president of the Orang Ulu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and honorary consul of Romania in Sarawak.

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