Terengganu MB seeks critical backbenchers amid absence of opposition

TERENGGANU Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar recently clarified that the state constitution does not require appointed members of the legislative assembly to be from the opposition ranks.

“We only need to appoint members who represent groups that are currently unrepresented.

“For example, if there are not enough lawmakers who are female, Orang Asli or of other races, we can appoint. The law does not state we must appoint members who are not in the governing parties,” Berita Harian quoted him as saying.

He emphasised that the intention is to ensure proper representation of diverse voices in the assembly.

In view that there are currently no opposition members of the legislative assembly, Ahmad encouraged all backbenchers to be critical of the state government.

“We have to be prepared to hear criticism from within,” he told the press yesterday (Aug 15) after his swearing-in ceremony and that of his cabinet last night.

Moreover, Perikatan Nasional (PN) secured a remarkable victory by winning all 32 seats. This achievement marks the first instance of a clean sweep since the Johor and Negri Sembilan legislative elections back in 1999.

Under Article 27(2) of the Terengganu constitution, the legislative assembly may, at any time, move a motion that is supported by no less than seven members to appoint non-Muslim or female members. There can be no more than four appointed members.

Additionally, Article 27(3)(c) specifies that appointed members cannot be affiliated with any political parties, apart from female appointed members. This legal framework was introduced during the tenure of Tan Sri Hadi Awang’s administration from 1999 to 2004.

Furthermore, a notable milestone was achieved in 2018 when PAS member Zuraida Md Noor became the first female member of the Terengganu legislative assembly through appointment, underscoring the state’s commitment to fostering diverse representation. – Aug 16, 2023

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