New Speaker bans word 'secession' in sittings
Published on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015
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Kota Kinabalu: Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali set the tone when he clocked in for duty as the new Speaker at the State Legislative Assembly building, Monday, by issuing a warning that he will not allow the word "secession" to be raised.Syed Abas, however, said it was beyond his control if the assemblymen wished to talk about it outside the premises.

"I can only forbid its usage during the sitting," he said. The Balung assemblyman wanted the elected representatives to focus on development.

There have been groups lately in both Sabah and Sarawak who have been agitating for both states to leave the Malaysian Federation that was formed in 1963 with the merger of Malaya and Singapore as the other partners. Singapore, however, left in 1965.

He said Sabah was a big state and needed a lot of funds for roads, water supply and other infrastructures.

"Even some districts are bigger than the states in the peninsular…so these are the things I hope our assemblymen will raise.

"They need to think not about one tree but about all the trees in the whole forest."

He also hoped for cooperation from assemblymen from both the government and the Opposition and stated that both these groups had the good of Sabah in mind.

Syed Abas, who took over as the 9th Speaker from Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, who resumed his federal ministerial post as the Communication and Multimedia Minister, told the media that it took him and his wife by surprise.

"I was surprised when the chief minister asked me to take over as Sabah's speaker, with the approval of the Prime Minister. It was a good offer."

Syed Abas was believed to be the right person for the post due to his vast experience in administration and political arena. He has been active in politics since the 1970s.

"I was always the backbencher or chairman of government linked corporations, and never did I expect to be appointed, especially since there have been rumours of other people who were likely to become the next State Speaker.

"I was, initially, told that I would probably be offered an assistant ministerial post, so this new responsibility is indeed a real a surprise for me."

Despite his vast experience, Syed Abas is humbled as he admitted that the new post meant he would have to learn from scratch.

"I am prepared for the new challenge, and while I am the 'new kid' here, I believe my able deputies would assist me with the tasks," he said, referring to Datuk Johnny Mositun and Datuk Johnson Tee.


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