KOTA KINABALU: “Time have changed for politics and the expectations of the people as the ultimate power and authority of government has been transformed and the roles of elected representatives have evolved with these transformations and expectations” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief, in calling for the State government to allow elected representatives to nominate and appoint constituency operational staff.
The elected Bingkor assemblyman had made the call during his recent opening of his Bingkor State Assemblyman liaison office in Bingkor town, Keningau.
An elected representative is legitimately and democratically elected by the people in the constituency and along with it carries the right, privilege and responsibility to represent and to provide the services as elected representative to the people there.
The elected representative has earned the right and privilege set out in the State Constitution and should be accorded the right and entitlement to appoint the constituency operation staff starting with the People Development Leader (PKR), ketua-ketua kampong and the village committees.
Ideally, the 60 Sabah assemblymen and 25 MPs should also be provided with fixed and adequate allocations and budget as well as operational facilities and office to carry out their responsibilities in their respective constituencies.
While there are reasons for political survival for the BN government to limit and restrict the influence and efficiency of non-government elected representatives, the electorate cannot and should not be classified as pro- or anti-government as it is their legitimate right to vote and choose their elected representatives in a democracy.
These limits should not extend to the appointment of these operational staff. If the BN State government is serious with their so-called government transformation program, it should start the process from the roles and responsibilities of elected representatives and allow them to appoint their respective constituency operational staff.
The Umno-linked powers that be should also not control and monopolize these appointments as can often be heard of complaints by elected non-Umno representatives that the appointments of the CDO and village headmen are monopolized by Umno nominees.