Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Meet Madam Speaker, Hannah Yeoh

The newly appointed Selangor state legislative assembly Speaker Hannah Yeoh said one of the reform agendas she would undertake after assuming the post of Speaker would be to pass the Selangor Legislative Assembly Service Enactment 2009.

She said her primary task would be to carry on with the four reform agendas implemented by his predecessor Datuk Teng Chang Khim, including live telecast of the state assembly meetings, the Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) and improving the welfare of state assemblymen.

Yeoh, who is also the state assemblyman for Subang Jaya, told Sin Chew Daily in an exclusive interview that the objective of passing the Selangor Legislative Assembly Service Enactment 2009 was to consolidate the efficiency and the role of the state legislative assembly.

Under the Enactment, staff affairs and finances will be separated from the state executive council and be put under the management of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly Service Committee.

This Committee will be chaired by the state assembly Speaker and will include as its members the Menteri Besar, the opposition leader, and five to six state assemblymen from both the ruling and opposition parties.

Offices for reps

Yeoh said offices for state assemblymen should also be provided at the state assembly. Currently offices are only provided for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker at the state legislative assembly, and it will be inconvenient for state assemblymen from faraway constituencies to handle their matters during the sitting of the assembly meetings.

"I feel it is necessary to set up new offices for all state assemblymen so that they can use them to conduct studies on a variety of issues, and this will boost the quality of debates."
She also said awareness campaign should be organised to help the general public understand the role of state reps better.


The first female speaker in the country, Yeoh admitted that she felt pressurised but was glad to have been entrusted with the job and hoped she could set a good model for future speakers.

She nevertheless felt lucky that her predecessor Teng had paved the way for her and would provide her with valuable guidance whenever she needs, adding that she would also learn from former Perak state legislative assembly speaker V. Sivakumar and former Selangor deputy speaker Haniza Talha, while DAP national legal bureau secretary Gobind Singh Deo is always at hand to provide her legal consultation whenever necessary.

When asked whether she was disappointed not being appointed a state Exco, being a second-term state assemblyman, Yeoh said DAP always stresses team spirit and as a party member, she must obey the orders from the party.

The new Selangor state legislative assembly will be convened on June 21 when all state assemblymen will take their oaths and the Speaker and Deputy Speaker officially appointed.

She said although she has been appointed Speaker by the Menteri Besar, her appointment has to be endorsed and accepted by the state legislative assembly.

She pledged that while chairing the state assembly meetings, she would be fair to BN reps and give them ample time to debate.

However, she hoped the reps would not deliberately pick issues just to attack the state government or abuse the state assembly to advance their own agendas.

She said she had high regards for the competency and eloquence of former BN state assemblyman for Taman Templer Subahan Kamal, and hoped other BN reps would emulate him.

Between a mother and a politician

A mother of two toddler daughters, Yeoh said it would not be a problem for her to take care of both her political career and family so long as she allocates her time properly.

"I do not have a maid. I stay in Putra Heights, and will send my daughters to my mom in Subang Jaya during the day and pick them up at night.

"I insist to bathe my girls and put them to sleep myself. If I have to work very late and have important meeting to attend the following morning, I will then put up a night at my mother's."

Talking about her husband Ramanchandran Muniandy, Yeoh said he is always her number one fan and "political advisor."

"He fully backs me and would share with me his views and suggestions."

Although she has now been appointed the state assembly speaker, Yeoh said she would still go to her service centre to help the constituents whenever she is not at the assembly, adding that she has hired a "manager" to help her handle the operations at the centre, including public complaints.

[Source: Sin Chew]

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