Thursday 23 June 2011

Sarawak speaker rejects opposition motions

Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Speaker Asfia Awang Nasar has rejected, as widely expected, two motions tabled by Sarawak Opposition leader Wong Ho Leng at the state assembly sitting before adjourning for the day late yesterday evening.

The first motion concerned Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud who is the under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for corruption in the timber industry while the other concerned the rampant vote buying during the state elections.

NONETabling the first motion, Wong (left), who is also DAP state assemblyperson for Bukit Assek, said the MACC had confirmed that it is currently investigating timber corruption allegations against Sarawak Chief Minister as a similar probe is underway being in Switzerland.

"It has also been reported in the media that the Chief Minister has assets in countries other than Switzerland which the Chief Minister ought to justify," he added.

Wong said that Taib should go on an extended leave until he had been cleared of all allegations.

He added this was to maintain the reputation and image of the State and the dignity and integrity of the Chief Minister's office and to avoid the perception that the State is being helmed by a leader who is under a corruption probe.

He wanted the state legislative assembly form a committee comprising an equal number of members from the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to inquire into Taib's "grand corruption" allegations, government ministers' properties and investments overseas, and government ministers profiteering from timber corruption as well as money-laundering and to restitute the embezzled funds to the State.

In his ruling, Asfia said the motion was out of order.

"The personal explanation made by the chief minister has debunked the allegations contained in the motion beyond any shadow of doubt.

CM need not take leave

"At the same time, it upholds and affirms the cherished principle that a man is innocent until proven guilty.

"The question of Taib as the chief minister was made the central issue in the recent state election. The issue was rejected by the electorate, returning the Barisan Nasional with a two-tNONEhirds majority.

"By asking Taib to take on an extended leave, therefore, is in utter contradiction to the overwhelming mandate of the two-thirds majority which mandated him to lead this house at the first meeting of the Dewan Undangan Negeri after the election," Asfia (right) added.

He said he also not accept the motion as it touched on a matter in the Federal Legislative List.

He also said the motion was rejected because Wong did not sign the notice of motion as required under Standing Order 24.

Instead, he said it was signed by the DAP state assemblyperson for Kota Sentosa, Chong Chieng Jen.

The speaker said also Wong's motion was based on a press statement.

He advised Wong to file a substantive motion if he wanted to appeal the ruling.

No signature, no motion

Where the second motion was concerned, the speaker said it also touched on a matter contained in the Federal Legislative List, and so was rejected.

Again ,Asfia said, Wong had failed to sign the notice of motion which he intended to table in the State Legislative.

Instead, it was signed by the DAP Padungan assemblyperson Wong King Wie.

"On those two grounds, the motion is out of order," he added.

In his reply, Wong said the motion should not have been rejected because it concerned the purity of the state assembly.

NONEIn his second motion, he said in the recently concluded Sarawak state elections vote buying had been rampant, and according to the Malaysian Election Observers Network, payments for votes in Tamin constituency came from the chief minister's office by way of cheques.

"The allegation is serious as it implies gross criminality against the state and had cast severe aspersions on the integrity of the chief minister's office and the state government,"he said.

Wong claimed that vote buying was not limited to Tamin alone.

He said representatives must be elected honourably and through the voters' free will without being tarnished by the involvement of money.

He wanted the august House to condemn bribery, treatment, corrupt practices and money politics, and urged that a committee be formed to investigate the use of money to buy votes.

"Similar strategy of vote buying must stop in order to ensure the purity of the Sarawak electorate and the sanctity of the election process.

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