KOTA KINABALU, April 17, 2017: State elected representatives from DAP, PKR and Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) have questioned State Assembly Speaker Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali’s decision to appoint Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (PHRS) as Opposition leader, despite not having full support from the opposition bloc.
“We the state elected representatives from PKR, DAP and Warisan Sabah did not vote for him (Lajim) as the Opposition leader,” said PKR Sabah chairperson cum Api-Api assemblywoman Christina Liew during a news conference held here, on Monday.
Also in attendance were elected representatives from Warisan Datuk Jaujan Sambakong (Sulabayan), Junz Wong (Likasn), and Terrence Siambun (Moyog) while DAP Sri Tanjong assemblyman Chan Foong Hin was represented by its state Publicity Secretary Phoong Jin Zhe.
Though absent from the press conference, Inanam assemblyman Dr Roland Chia (PKR) recorded his objection to the appointment through Christina.
Warisan Sabah’s Vice Presidents Jaujan and Junz as well as the party’s Treasurer General Terrence too affirmed that they did not vote for Laji. Meanwhile, Phoong said that to his knowledge Chan and Dr Edwin Bosi (Kapayan) also did not vote for the Haparan Rakyat president. It was reliably learnt that Bosi had voted for Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) president cum Tamparuli assemblyman, Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Bumburing.
Meanwhile, Jaujan and his fellow state elected representatives as well as Phoong unanimously declared that they recognise Christina as the State Opposition leader.
Describing Lajim’s appointment as ‘undemocratic’, Jaujan pointed out that Lajim was not representing the opposition, and that he was more like Barisan Nasional (BN).
“We would like Datuk Speaker to explain how did he comes to this decision when Lajim only secured one vote during the voting process for a New Opposition Leader. It totally defies logic and against the spirit of democracy
“We will be writing in to the State Assembly Speaker to record our objection (on Lajim’s appointment). We are not happy with the appointment as it does not represent a majority support from the opposition state elected representatives,” said Jaujan.
He also expressed regret that the Speaker did not give them the opportunity to speak after making his announcement and proceeded to the next agenda of the state assembly sitting which was the Question and Answer session.
“We were not allowed to exercise our right to speak in the Dewan,” he lamented.
Asked why they did not object after the Speaker made his announcement, Christina and Junz explained that it was because they thought Lajim had garnered the most votes.
But they later found out that none of them had voted for the Klias assemblyman.
Junz thus retorted that if the Speaker can decide who should become the opposition chief, then he should not have asked them to vote in the first place.
“We don’t understand why the Speaker decided to retain Lajim as the Opposition chief despite the latter not getting enough votes. The Speaker should respect our choice… if not then what is the point asking us to choose?” he said.
Junz also concurred with Jaujan that Lajim’s action during the Sitting showed that he is unfit to be the Opposition Chief.
“He did not defend the opposition when we were being berated by the Chief Minister,” he cited.
Phoong meanwhile disclosed that in the last Sitting DAP supported Christina as the opposition chief and their stand remains the same this Sitting.
“After Lajim left PKR we declared our support to Christina and we maintain that stand,” he said
Chan in his written statement issued through Phoong reiterated that: “As far as DAP is concerned, DAP is consistent to support the leader of Pakatan Harapan to become Sabah State Assembly Opposition Leader. Which in this case, as ADUN Sri Tanjong, I continue my support to YB Christina Liew, who is ADUN Api-Api cum PKR Sabah Chairwoman to be DUN Sabah Opposition Leader.”
Meanwhile, Dr Chia in his written statement issued through Christina said he adheres to PKR Party decision to nominate Christina as the Sabah Opposition Leader as per the letter of endorsement by Party President Dato Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail which was sent to the Speaker of the Sabah State Assembly in 2016.
“As ADUN Inanam, I support YB Christina Liew, ADUN Api-Api cum PKR Sabah Chairwoman to be DUN Sabah Opposition Leader by virtue of her seniority in the party and Pakatan Harapan,” he said.