KUALA LUMPUR — Nine out of 11 MPs in the capital city said today they would boycott the first federal territories bipartisan consultation committee (Jakowip) meeting scheduled to be held here tomorrow.
The move is meant to protest against Tan Sri Annuar Musa’s refusal to grant them a special meeting since the Umno leader was appointed as the new FT minister in March, 2020.
The nine Pakatan Harapan (PH) lawmakers from DAP and PKR signed a letter announcing the boycott. The MPs had said any bipartisan cooperation will hinge on Annuar’s willingness to open a direct channel for them to air grievances.
Five of the MPs are from DAP: Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), Hannah Yeoh (Segambut), Teresa Kok (Seputeh), Lim Lip Eng (Kepong), and Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang).
The meeting would have allowed genuine engagement, the PH MPs claimed, particularly on how Jakowip had been set up. All nine lawmakers said they wanted changes to its terms of reference and member composition.
“We had appealed for these issues to be raised and amended in a special meeting between the FT minister and MPs from the territories to be held immediately,” they said in a joint statement.
“Unfortunately the political secretary to the FT minister in a letter dated December 24, 2020, only stated that our recommendations would be considered, and no special meeting would be held as requested,” they added.
All but two of the seats in Kuala Lumpur are held by PH and has remained under the coalition’s control for three terms, testifying to its popularity.
The remaining two parliamentary seats are held by Datuk Seri Rina Harun (Titiwangsa) and Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar (Bandar Tun Razak) who are members of the Perikatan Nasional government.
Despite enjoying popular support, PH MPs have little say in how the Federal Territories are governed.
Decisions regarding the three federal territories — Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan — are solely within the purview of any party that rules at the federal level, whose control extends all the way down to local laws.
PH lawmakers, who have been campaigning for the restoration of local elections, believe their voice should take precedent in shaping any policies that involve their constituencies, simply because they enjoy support from the majority of voters in the Federal Territories.
These lawmakers said a bipartisan committee like Jakowip should reflect that popular support.
“The FT minister must realise that the people of Kuala Lumpur have chosen clearly by voting us to represent their voice in the 14th general election,” PH MPs said in the statement.