Friday, June 14, 2013

Opposition leader post may be rotated starting with Lajim

Kota Kinabalu: Klias Assemblyman Datuk Lajim Haji Ukin said he is ready to play the role of opposition leader in the State Assembly and that he has the blessings of the national leadership. 

Lajim also said they would have a discussion among all the 12 opposition Assemblymen later, which probably would no longer touch on who would lead them because "I have been chosen to take the lead by the national leadership". 

It was earlier speculated that the post of opposition leader would be a toss between Lajim who is State Reform Movement (PPS) President and Kiulu Assemblyman Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, who is State Reform Alliance (APS) Chairman. Both NGOs are aligned to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance. 

However, former Kota Kinabalu MP Hiew King Cheu, while agreeing to the proposal in terms of seniority, said there would likely be a rotation system implemented with others taking their turn on a yearly basis. 

Lajim, meanwhile, said the dozen elected opposition members are ready to fulfil the responsibility entrusted to them by the rakyat. 

"The first thing we will do is fulfil our obligations to the people and act as a watchdog on government policies, especially those going against the interests of the people," he told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony for all assembly members at the State Legislative Assembly, Thursday. 

Apart from Lajim and Bumburing, the rest on the opposition bench comprise Bingkor Assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Supreme Council Member cum Sabah Secretary and Inanam Assemblyman Dr Roland Chia, Democratic Action Party (DAP) Secretary and Kapayan Assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi; Veteran Sabah DAP leader Hiew King Cheu who is now Luyang Assemblyman and its Assistant Secretary Junz Wong (Likas), Kota Kinabalu PKR Division Chief Christina Liew (Api-Api), Jelani Hamdan of PKR (Matunggong), Ukoh @ Jeremy Malajad of PKR (Kadamaian), Terrence Alon Siambun of PKR (Moyog) and Chan Foong Hin of DAP (Sri Tanjung). 

Hiew more or less confirmed that Lajim would lead the opposition representatives but probably only for this year. 

"There is nothing wrong with this (rotation) because we have about four years. 

So maybe Lajim would lead this time and then either me, Wilfred or Dr Jeffrey, to have our turn because it needs those who have experience in the House to take the lead," he said. He said to him there is also no problem for Dr Jeffrey to have his chance to lead them because, after all, he is also part of the opposition. 

"By Friday or Saturday, the official announcement of the opposition's assemblymen leader and party whip will be announced before the opening of the Assembly sitting on Monday," said Dr Roland. 

The DAP, he said, has given priority to PKR to nominate the names for opposition leader because PKR has the most seats among the coalition. PKR won six seats in the recent May 5 election while DAP, five and Star, one. 

While, Pakatan takes into consideration whether the leader would be picked from Muslim, non-Muslim and Chinese representatives, what it really aims for is a person who has experience, has been active in politics as well as service in the civil service," said Dr Chia. 

Being a senior politician and senior leader, he said, carries a lot of weight because the person would understand how the government works and also command the respect of the House including the BN and Pakatan Rakyat. 

As for party chief whip, Dr Chia said it would also be a senior leader from PKR. Sabah DAP, he said, has nominated its Kapayan Assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi for the role.


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