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Jagdeep takes charge on state assembly affairs

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GEORGE TOWN, JULY 5- State executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo (DAP–Datuk Keramat) will take charge of state legislative assembly affairs on the behalf of the Pakatan Rakyat state government, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (DAP–Air Putih) told the House today.

Lim said Jagdeep would take full responsibility of the House proceedings to ensure smooth flow of legislature democratic process.

Lim explained that Jagdeep had been appointed to assess all proposals and advices to uphold the process of parliamentary democracy in state legislature proceedings.

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He said Jagdeep would work with state Opposition Leader Jahara Abdul Hamid (BN–Teluk Air Tawar), under the guidance of House Speaker Law Choo Kiang (PKR–Bukit Tambun).

Jagdeep-singh“This is to ensure that Question Time would not omitted from assembly sitting again,” Lim announced on his winding-up speech during debate on the head of state, Governor Abdul Rahman Abbas’ opening speech on Tuesday.

Jagdeep’s appointment comes in wake of heavy criticisms against Lim’s administration for not allotting Question Time in the current session.

Barisan Nasional opposition legislators have described it as “death to democracy.”

The current session began on Tuesday and would end today. It is a norm for the assembly to have half-an-hour Question Time before state assemblymen start debating on Bills.

The Question Time is usually used by the opposition to raise queries on the running of the state.

Lim explained that the decision not to have the Question Time was made by the House Secretary following an advice by the state Legal Advisor.

Law had claimed that the Question Time could have been omitted to save time.

 

Not to repeat mistakes

Later at a press conference today, Lim reiterated that the state government could not accept the reason (to omit Question Time) was to save time.

“No justification not to allow Question Time,” he told newsmen.

However, as the Chief Minister, Lim said he would take full responsibility for the House’s controversial decision, acknowledging that it was wrong not to have Question Time.

He said that Jagdeep’s appointment would not interfere into Law’s authority over the House affairs, neither was it done because the state government had lost confidence in Law.

He clarified that Jagdeep would be acting on behalf of state government only.

Previously, he had admitted that the state government made a mistake to agree to recommendations by senior government officers to omit Question Time.

He said Jagdeep’s appointment was to ensure that the government would not “just swallow all that have been recommended.”

Speaker: I am the boss

law-choo-kiang-may9At a separate press conference, Speaker Law welcomed Jagdeep’s appointment but insisted that he was the House boss. He said he would still retain full authority over the House affairs, especially assembly sitting proceedings.

He said Jagdeep’s role would be to standardise and ensure that previous problems do not recur.

“I believe the Chief Minister meant that in his speech. “All job functions, responsibilities and status of the House would remain under the House’s full authority,” said Law.

On the on-going session, he said he was satisfied with the sitting proceedings so far.

He dismissed criticisms that democracy was dead in the House after the omission of Question Time, insisting that democracy was more than alive this time.

He said he was happy to hear encouraging feedback from many lawmakers, including BN reps, on his performance.

He said he would try to be as fair as possible to all elected representatives, but warned that he would not tolerate breach of House rules.

“I have been fair to all of them in the past three days, given them enough room to speak, deliver their speeches and even criticise. “I’m happy with their confidence in me.

But they also must learn the style of new Speaker. “If one breaches the rule once a while, it’s okay. But I will not tolerate if it’s often,” Law told newsmen during lunch break.

 

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