BN senators: We will not resign
We won’t oppose laws that are good for the people, says senior member
PETALING JAYA: The 54 Barisan Nasional senators will not resign from Dewan Negara now that Pakatan Harapan has formed the Federal Government.
A senior senator said there was no need for them to resign because it was not a requirement when a new government had been formed.
“There is no such law. As such, there is no need for us to go. We were appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, unlike Dewan Rakyat, where the representatives are voted in by the people,” he said.
The senator, who declined to be named, said all of them would serve their term.
“Why does the new Government need to worry about us? Our role is to review legislation that has been passed by the lower house.
“If Pakatan is changing the law or making amendments to benefit the people, like GST, why should we oppose or delay passing it?
“We would not be a threat to the Government nor would we want to sabotage the new administration. Our role is purely to see a check and balance in the Government,” he said.
He added that even if Dewan Negara declined to endorse a new law or approve any amendment made by Dewan Rakyat, the proposed legislation would make its way back to Parliament.
“From there, it can be submitted straight to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong for endorsement. This will bypass the upper house but the time taken for the legislation to be enforced or passed would take a bit longer,” he said.
Currently, Barisan has 54 senators, 19 of whom were appointed at the recommendation of different state assemblies while the remaining members were picked by the previous Barisan administration.
There are 30 Umno senators, 10 from MCA and six from MIC.
Sarawak-based Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu has two, while Gerakan, the Liberal Democratic Party, United Sabah Party, People’s Progressive Party, Sarawak United People’s Party and United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation have one each.
Senatorship is for a three-year period and the same individual may be appointed for two terms only.
The term is not affected by dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat.
Each senator draws a monthly salary of RM11,000. Many of the 54 are either midway through their term or were appointed about six months ago.
There are 66 senators serving the Dewan Negara currently, with the rest comprising four Independents, two each from PKR, DAP and PAS, and one each from the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress and Malaysian Indian United Party.
A news portal quoted retired Federal Court judge Datuk Gopal Sri Ram as saying that all the senators should resign to allow the Pakatan Government to carry out the mandate of the people.
He said senators elected by legislative assemblies now governed by Pakatan, and those appointed by the Barisan government, should vacate their positions.
He said otherwise, their presence as senators would give the impression that they would make the legislative process difficult for the elected Federal Government.
He said the senators might also attack the Government and refuse to pass Bills.
Sri Ram said the first to resign should be the Dewan Negara president, to make way for the Pakatan Government to appoint a candidate of its choosing.