KOTA KINABALU: Opposition assemblymen should not portray themselves as helpless victims bullied by Barisan Nasional assemblymen during the recent State Legislative Assembly sitting.
Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said BN representatives were reportedly treated worst in opposition-held states of Penang and Selangor.
“May I remind opposition representatives here that there had been cases of BN representatives being suspended up to six months and a year just for raising questions about Pakatan-ruled states. So don’t be so melodramatic with claims of being pushed around, and favouritism,” he said.
He said Barisan Nasional ministers and backbenchers were just doing their job in standing up as a united front against the opposition assemblyman when they raise matters that are seen to belittle the BN government.
“As members of a single coalition, BN assemblymen stand under one party, one symbol and one struggle, which is to serve the people,” he said.
Joniston, who is also BN backbenchers deputy whip, said the practice of throwing unfounded allegations, name calling, twisting facts and figures should not be tolerated when the assembly is in session.
“When members of the opposition belittles the BN government’s efforts and berates its achievements, we will not just sit down and let it slip by.
“When the opposition openly attacks one of our members with derogatory remarks and damaging allegations, we will not stand down.
“When the opposition tells half-truths, manipulate facts and embellish figures to mislead the house, we will not be defenseless in our conduct.” Joniston remarked.
He said opposition members were all given sufficient time to debate the TYT’s policy speech.
He said a few had even gone over their allocated time, including the Bingkor YB, who portrayed himself as the beaten dog, claiming BN ministers and backbenchers ganged up against him and his colleagues.
“The Bingkor YB spoke for almost 45 minutes, well over the allocated time of 30 minutes. So how was he muffled?
“Jeffrey had more than enough time to question, advise and criticise the government, which he did. And so did his opposition colleagues,” Joniston said.
He said anyone who read the papers during the recent session would be able to discern that the opposition were seen and heard judging by the few opposition stories published.
He said the first question answered on the first day of the sitting was one posed by the opposition assemblyman from Klias.
“We could have conveniently pushed the question further down the list with the likelihood of it not being answered orally but we did not,” he said.
“We gave it priority and made it the first question. During the Question and Answer session, we tried our best to answer all the questions including the supplementary ones in a clear and comprehensive manner,” he said.
Likewise, he said, during the winding up, the BN ministers tried to be as thorough in their response and still entertained queries from the opposition while winding up.
“We have no problem with suggestions, advice and constructive criticism but we will not be silent when you demean us and negate our efforts,” he stressed.
He said, just as the opposition has the right to question and criticise, the BN assemblymen too has the right to defend its administration of the government, policies and its fellow assemblymen.