EWON URGES HAJIJI TO CALL FOR SPECIAL LEGISLATURE TO STRENGTHEN AUTONOMY MESSAGE
4 July 2021
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA BELUD: Kadamaian State Assemblyman Datuk Ewon Benedick has urged Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor to hold a State Legislative Assembly sitting as soon as possible.
He reckoned that Sabah does not have to wait for the Emergency Ordinance to expire or until a parliamentary session was held in order to hold the state assembly sitting.
"A lot of things need to be discussed and debated in the sitting especially the issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Among them is the need for Sabah to implement its own Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to control the pandemic and implement its own state recovery programme," he said in a statement issued today.
The Federal Government has yet to respond to Hajiji's announcement regarding the relaxation of the SOPs in Sabah, including the dine-in permission, since last Monday.
"I do not see the political will of the current State Government. If the SOPs submitted is not endorsed by the Federal Government, how can the current State Government raise bigger issues such as Sabah's rights in the Malaysia Agreement (MA63) and the Malaysian Constitution?
"If we wait for the parliamentary session to be held before holding the state assembly sitting, then obviously the State Government cannot afford to implement its own autonomy. That is why I urge Hajiji to call the state assembly sitting to give a strong message to the Federal Government," he added.
The vice president of the United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) also mentioned that the people of Sabah will definitely support all autonomy efforts and initiatives, but it must first be translated through a clear and strong political will.
"It should not be made through a prorogue announcement without any commitment from the Federal Government. So it is better to call a state assembly session and rest assured that all assembly members will support the autonomy effort that is to be made."
Ewon also noted that the legislature be held before the Parliament sitting so that all views of the elected representatives can be raised in parliament either through the Members of Parliament or the State Government.
“We should formulate at the state level, for example, Sabah Recovery Plan. What initiatives, programmes and needs do we want to demand from the Federation? This needs to be finalised first," he said.
He is also of the view that Sabah should not rely solely on the National Recovery Plan which fails to cover the real needs of Sabahan.
"Sabah needs to have its own Recovery Plan, with its own programme, budget and SOPs. This is the autonomy that we need to finalise in the assembly sitting.
"Media statements from various quarters supporting Hajiji's announcement on the SOPs relaxation are just political rhetoric or a coffee shop story material. If you are serious about this, take it to the state assembly session which should be held as soon as possible and we will finalise there."