LegCo highlights transparency and accountability

National 2 minutes, 7 seconds


THE Sixth State Legislative Council (LegCo) session has so far managed to bring forward issues of national importance, yet it is the dismissal of smaller issues at the assembly that speaks tonnes of the Legislative Council's significance.

This year's sessions, similar to 2009, have been bombarded by smaller issues raised by LegCo members, resulting to LegCo Speaker YAM Pengiran Indera Mahkota Pengiran Anak (Dr) Kemaludin Al-Haj to implore council members to keep their discussions focused on only relevant topics for each session.

In response to a query by Belait District representative Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad regarding deductions from salaries of homeowners under the National Housing Scheme, the council's Speaker again restated that talks should remain on point. "Honourable council members, regarding these deductions and the like, these issues are normal in that they are carried out by the government's administration from time to time," said the Speaker.

He added that in any case the public is not satisfied with the outcome of such issues, "they can appeal to the appropriate department or ministry to be rectified".

"Therefore, these small issues should not be brought to this council, they may take up a lot of our time," he said.

The reply from Hj Mohd Shafiee was telling: "The truth is I have raised this issue and those that have received it have brought it back to their office as recommended by the chairperson.

"Unfortunately, the issue is not being entertained nor replied to, therefore in order to take action I have no other forum to raise the matter except for this prestigious council."

Similarly, Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin this past week pointed out that his query regarding the status of Brunei's Permanent Residents had suffered the same.

"This issue (Brunei Permanent Residents), when brought to Immigration (department), will not be resolved," he said. "That is why I have raised the issue at the council."

One LegCo member has suggested a solution to address these grievances.

State Dignitary Representative YAM Pg Setia Negara Pg Dr Hj Mohd Yusof Pg Hj Abd Rahim had earlier called for "discussions on legislative matters" to happen not just once a year.

"We have to have it as often as we can in the year when issues pertaining to the people come up so we can discuss them together," he said during the second day of the current LegCo sitting.

The Brunei Times