Backbenchers will serve as opposition in Terengganu assembly, says club chair

Diyana Ibrahim

The Terengganu legislative assembly has no opposition bloc after Perikatan Nasional won all 32 seats in the August state elections. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 27, 2023.

THE Terengganu government backbenchers’ club will provide checks and balances in the absence of an opposition bloc in the state legislature, its chairman Ahmad Shah Muhamed said.

Government backbenchers are expected to root for the government. But the Bandar assemblyman is confident the club members will raise a heckle if the need arose or if they felt a policy was flawed.

“Indeed this is our biggest challenge. It seems hard for people to believe, but can we criticise our own party?

“For us it’s easy as long as the decision is based on what is right and true in accordance with legal and transparent principles. If the government is right, we won’t need to argue.

“The important thing is to have a way – to criticise, you have to have facts,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

Perikatan Nasional (PN) won all the 32 seats in the assembly, leaving it without an opposition for the first time in its history.

Ahmad said the supporters’ needs to carry out the functions of the opposition to ensure that the government is not rejected in the next election.

“To ensure that PAS is accepted by the people, the General Election Backbenchers have to play a role to repair the existing weaknesses,” he said.

He said it was still too early to assess the backbenchers’ performance because the first state assembly session had just started this month.

“We are not bound by any official key performance index. If anyone is doing the monitoring, it’s someone from the party.

“What we want is backbenchers who can provide the best service to the people and guarantee that the government’s actions are correct,” he said.

Ahmad said the club members will not be afraid to voice the truth and rebuke wrongs even if they are on the government’s side.

“The backbenchers’ role is not as that of the opposition. If the people to see their representatives screaming in the state assembly, that will not happen.

“But I can guarantee that each of our members will not be afraid to voice out on issues. And I’m sure it is the same on the part of the state government, the menteri besar.

“They will be open to criticism because that is the democratic process,” he said.

Ahmad was appointed as the chairman of the club by Menteri Besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar in early September.

The former deputy exco will also fill the opposition leader’s seat that was previously occupied by Ahmad Said in the state assembly.

Follow opposition model in parliament

Ahmad said the club will imitate the opposition in parliament in the appointment of shadow minsters.

“For example, three opposition MPs are positioned to monitor the portfolio of the Health Ministry.

“So in Terengganu, the portfolios will be distributed among the 21 backbencher members,” he said.

The supporters’ club does not plan to appoint external observers, said Ahmad. – October 27, 2023.

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  • Yes we will always trust and believe , even you constantly lie. Don't care if dumb people vote in a dumber government.

    Posted 8 months ago by Alphonz Jayaraman · Reply

  • How can backbencher aduns from PAS/PN be opposition? Beyond my mind.

    Posted 8 months ago by G Tan · Reply