By Sherilyn Pang
IT was the last thing that Hasnul Baharuddin would expect to happen — to be chosen as Selangor’s deputy speaker for the State Legislative Assembly. He is now second chief-in-command to Selangor Speaker Ng Suee Lim.
Hasnul, who is also the Morib state assemblyman (N53), was given the trust to lead the meeting for the first time during the second meeting of the third term of the 14th state legislative assembly sitting in July.
Coming from a pharmaceutical background, Hasnul contested in the general elections in 2013 and 2018 for his constituency, previously under the PAS ticket and then subsequently for Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).
Aside from taking on the new role especially in view of these unsettling economic times, Hasnul has a responsibility to his constituency as well.
In the Dewan Negeri, Hasnul commands the authority to decide who speaks and holds the power to discipline members who do not comply with the rules of the respected House.
“I was voted in by consensus during a DUN proceeding. Before that, there were a few candidates but I was finally chosen by the Pakatan Harapan component members. I am touched by their trust towards me and really appreciate this opportunity,” Hasnul told Selangor Journal in a recent interview.
Expecting challenges to abound as he began his job, Hasnul stressed on being impartial during each assembly sitting.
“In the last sitting, I had to do my job immediately upon appointment and seeing the situation now, for sure the debates in the House would be more heated.
“As a deputy speaker, I have to be fair. For example, I need to prepare the space for both the opposition and the government’s side to speak and voice their opinions,” he explained.
Hasnul has come on board at a time when the Belanjawan Selangor 2021 (2021 Selangor Budget) is approaching.
With anticipation riding high for Selangor to showcase what it has achieved so far, Hasnul says the focus should be given to addressing the people’s problems resulting from Covid-19.
“For the upcoming budget, the state must focus on the people’s problems as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia. Last year, we had RM40 million allocated for youth development programmes. My concern is how we can better use this RM40 million or do we need to review the amount or use it to organise youth programmes more efficiently post Covid-19?
“As for ‘women and family’ issues, we had RM67 million allocated followed by the housing segment which received RM309 million. So, I would really like to see if these budget amounts allocated last year have been fully utilised and spent in an accountable manner.
“As for public funding and healthcare-related matters, I wish to see more provision in these areas,” Hasnul said.
Hasnul started out as the coordinator for the Morib constituency in 2010, overseeing the basic needs of the constituency while attached to PAS. It was during the 2013 elections that catapulted him into a political career when he became the state representative of the area.
“In approaching this role, I am deriving most of my experience from being an MP in the Dewan Rakyat throughout the years. Though I may still be fresh on this job (as Deputy Speaker) and am on my way towards familiarising with the rules and regulations of the House, I will carry out my job as best as I can.
“My priority is to give everyone a fair chance to speak. More importantly, I will be more focused on not crossing the boundaries of what is required of the role and only maintaining the necessary calls within my jurisdiction.”
This article first appeared in the Selangor Journal monthly September edition, published on September 14, 2020.